Jennifer Connelly

Beauty company is celebrating its 140th anniversary by naming the Academy Award-winning actress as first global spokesperson of its namesake brand.

Shiseido Co. Ltd. is celebrating its 140th anniversary by naming the first global spokesperson of its flagship brand: Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly.

This story first appeared in the February 3, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I’ve had a long relationship with Shiseido — I worked with them in the Eighties on an ad campaign, and have been using their products ever since,” said Connelly in an exclusive phone interview with WWD on Thursday afternoon. “It’s nice to reconnect with them after so many years.”

Connelly’s first role will be serving as the face of Shiseido’s Future Solution LX premium skin care line, and she will also serve as global spokesperson for Shiseido in its 88 countries and regions. Her first advertising campaign, shot earlier this week, will bow this fall.

“This year marks our 140th anniversary and it is our intention to look to the future and continue to inspire women around the globe,” said Hiroshi Maruyama, general manager of the international marketing department at Shiseido Co. Ltd. “Also, Future Solution LX was launched in 2009 to great growth globally, and we want to continue to elevate the line to the next level. We felt it needed a voice and a face to relate to, which is why we decided to create this role. We believe Jennifer, who is an accomplished actress and mother, will resonate with consumers around the world.”

Connelly — who won an Academy Award in 2002 for her performance in “A Beautiful Mind” — is known for choosing intelligent, quirky and often complicated characters in her film work. “I suppose we all aspire to find parts that are challenging and exciting,” she said. “I look for things I haven’t done before, things that will stretch me and frighten me just a little bit. Those are the most satisfying roles.”

She’s just started preproduction on “Writers,” which she terms “a story about a group of people at the crossroads.” It was written by and is being directed by Josh Boone.

“My character, Erica, is struggling with her relationship with her daughter,” said Connelly, noting that principal photography begins in March. “She feels she has given all of her self to her daughter, who is now rejecting her, and she’s trying to navigate that painful situation. She’s questioning many of her personal decisions. It’s a beautifully written film.”

A second film, “Virginia,” is expected out later this year. Connelly calls it a “very interesting, quirky, funny and moving story about a mother and son.”

“It’s about the coming of age of a teenage boy and his close relationship with his mother, who has raised him alone,” said Connelly. “She’s learning to let him go, and it’s a very tender story. It was a very personal story for the director, Dustin Lance Black.”

When she’s not acting, Connelly is spending every spare moment with her three children — including infant daughter Agnes Lark Bettany, whom she and husband Paul Bettany welcomed to the world on May 31. “It’s been so much fun to have a baby in the house again,” she said, noting that she was conducting the interview while her daughter was napping in another room. Connelly has two older sons, Kai Dugan, 15, and Stellan Bettany, 8. “I have my hands full, and I’m really enjoying [it].”