Talented, gorgeous and multidimensional, Hollywood’s newest crop of “It” Girls is anything but boring. When their immediate predecessors — Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Selma Blair — hit the scene, they all played boho girl with the band. But the members of this freshman class, all of whom will clock major screen time this year, include some serious overachievers among their stylish ranks.


This story first appeared in the April 16, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Channeling: Penélope Cruz

Big Break: Pedro Almodóvar’s “Talk to Her,” in which she plays a comatose victim of a car accident.

Extra Credits: Over the past 10 years, the 27-year-old has made 14 films, three TV series and earned one nomination for a Goya (a Spanish Oscar) for her performance in the film “A Mi Madre Le Gustan Las Mujeres” (2002).

Roots: Mom is English, Dad was Spanish. Calls Madrid home.

Nudity Clause: Unnecessary. The uninhibited actress bared everything in the Spanish erotic thriller “Sound of the Sea” (2001). “I’m hired for my body, my voice, my emotions —it’s a whole, and I can’t break it down to ‘you can have one piece but not the other.’”

Sound Byte: “Actors don’t have to be interesting.”

Up Next: Tests her bilingual skills in the Canadian flick “My Life Without Me,” opposite Sarah Polley.


Channeling: Drew Barrymore

Claim to Fame: Played identical twin sisters separated at birth in “The Parent Trap” (1998).

Multitalented: Dabbles in pop rock. Inked a five-album production deal with Emilio Estefan last year, will release her single “Ultimate” on the “Freaky Friday” soundtrack.

Fashion?: Teen chic — Marc by Marc Jacobs, Paper Denim jeans, Juicy sweats and sneakers.

Roots: Mom was a Rockette; Dad was a Wall Street trader who sold the family’s pasta business for millions and now develops film projects.

Favorite Carb: Penne à la vodka.

School Ties: 11th grader on Long Island, but just switched to home school. “I’m just a normal 16-year-old. I don’t want to consider myself any different, so I don’t talk about it when I’m around my friends.”

Prom Date ’03: Rain check due to filming. “This is the lifestyle I’ve chosen for right now, so I kind of have to pay the consequences. There’s always next year.”

Biggest Splurge: BMW convertible for her 16th birthday. “My parents are nervous because it’s a really fast car — they wanted me to get a truck.”

Up Next: “Freaky Friday” remake opposite Jamie Lee Curtis; “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.”


Channeling: Christina Ricci

Big Break: Gave herself one year to make it in L.A. and booked “Scary Movie” on her first-ever audition.

Fashion?: Fred Segal fan. Mad for minis, kids’ T-shirts, funky glasses and baseball hats. “I don’t like being too feminine.”

Write Stuff: Pursued creative writing while at the University of Washington,

“but I didn’t want such an uncertain life.” And acting’s so stable?

Cobain Connection: The Seattle native, 26, claims she was too nerdy to like Pearl Jam in high school. “But I was very influenced by Kurt Cobain, who killed himself my senior year. I went to school with a lot of really depressed people, actually.”

Arm Candy: Engaged to WB actor Ben Indra. Promises wedding will be “a great party where I can get drunk and have a good time.”

Up Next: Plays a self-absorbed starlet in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” due in September, and as “a super hot movie star, who’s a little Britney Spears-ish, who’s not like me at all” in the third installment of the “Scary Movie” slasher franchise, due in October.


Channeling: Gwyneth Paltrow

Big Break: Her cameo as a giddy bank teller in “Catch Me if You Can” nearly stole the show.

Fashion?: Totally. Prada junkie but her cazh uniform is Adidas Superstar pants. No boho chick here — “You will never see me in low-slung bell-bottoms and frilly tops.”

Arm Candy: Sorry guys, Banks met her fiancé, investment banker MBA candidate Max Handelman, on their first day of class at the University of Pennsylvania more than 10 years ago. She graduated magna cum laude.

Advice Via the Grapevine: From Meryl Streep to Chris Cooper to Banks’ ear — “When you feel like you’re not fulfilling the needs of a scene, stop whining and get over it.”

Hyper Activities: An avid athlete, she plays basketball and tennis, hikes and is currently reading “Bel Canto: A Novel” by Ann Patchett in her book club.

Up Next: She will play horse owner Marcella Howard in “Seabiscuit,” due in July, which stars Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges, and will reprise her role as Betty Brant in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” due next year.


Channeling: J. Lo

Lucky Break: Discovered at a garage sale by a fashion photographer.

Origins: First-generation Cuban-American, reared in L.A.

Product placement: Her Revlon ad campaign just broke.

Fashion?: Latino sexy, loves anything Roberto Cavalli, but is practical. “I find the concept of not wearing something twice absolutely ridiculous.”

Home Study: Interior design buff and mid-20th-century furniture. Her biggest splurge was a set of Herman Miller chairs.

Write Stuff: College dropout now penning a Seussian children’s book “Crazy Legs,” introducing kids to art and history.

Sound Byte: “You just gotta not buy into this industry’s b.s.”

Up Next: “Stuck On You,” Farrelly Brothers flick with Matt Damon; “Out of Time” with Denzel Washington; “2 Fast 2 Furious” with Paul Walker.


Channeling: Elizabeth Hurley

Big Break: Capitalized on her gigs as a lingerie model and the famous girlfriend of actor Jason Statham to become host of the U.K. talk show “The Big Breakfast” at 19. A household name in Britain, she’s still unknown in the U.S. “That’s very grounding. I needed to be a struggling actor.”

Arm Candy: Lives with her beau of five years, Statham, a Guy Ritchie regular (“Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch”). Brook and Statham divide their time between South Central London and West Hollywood.

Fashion?: Worships the Fifties look — Zac Posen and Marc Jacobs are favorites, and Julien Macdonald for sex and glitz.

Body Electric: Began as a classical dancer until her body changed. “All of a sudden I got boobs and a bum and I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’”

Down Time: Decorating (“My dream is to own one of those Neutra houses that you can’t have in England or you’d freeze”) and beer guzzling in the local pubs.

Sound Byte: “If anyone gets wind of anything I do in the U.K., it’s front-page news.”

Up Next: The British indie “School for Seduction,” which she describes as “the female ‘Full Monty’” and Stateside, in ABC’s “Romy and Michelle: Behind the Velvet Ropes,” in which she plays a supermodel. Contrary to Internet reports, she is not slated to appear in “Mission: Impossible 3” or “Sex and the City.”


Channeling: Uma Thurman

Fashion?: Calls it “an occupational hazard.” Has a thing for Donna Karan and for Gucci dresses.

Roots: Bronx born and raised.

Down Dog?: Absolutely. Taught yoga classes to supplement her income between acting gigs.

Worldly Wise: “Last year, I backpacked through Belize. I’m planning to go to Russia and Poland this year. I like to learn about other cultures.

Left Turn: “I believe in very progressive politics.” Casts votes for the Green Party.

Brainiac: Graduated from George Washington University, optioned a historical biography and is writing the screenplay. Developing musicals for the stage.

Bedside Reading: Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States.”

Granola Factor: Recovered vegan, now just eats organic. Former waitress at macrobiotic East Village restaurant Angelica Kitchen.

Sound Byte: “I’m very aware that I’m doing things in my career right now that people work their entire lives for and still dream about.”

Up Next: “Against the Ropes” with Meg Ryan and Omar Epps; “The United States of Leland” with Don Cheadle and Jena Malone; “The Human Stain” with Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins.


Channeling: Charlotte Gainsbourg

Birthright: Father, Johnny Hallyday, is France’s Elvis Presley; mother, Nathalie Baye, ranks among the country’s most respected actresses.

Rebel Yell: The 19-year-old dropped out of high school three months before graduation exams. Used to play piano and take dance lessons — but quit those, too, to study theater.

Fashion?: Good luck. Raised to shun the limelight, she thinks beauty is more than skin deep.

Up Next: Plays a suffering, lovelorn teen with lung cancer in Xavier Giannoli’s “Impatient Bodies,” which opens next week in France. Even shaved her head for the role.


Channeling: Taryn Manning

Big Break: MTV Films “Better Luck Tomorrow.”

Roots: L.A.-born but as a child lived in Taiwan, where her parents were Christian missionaries. “We’ve also gone to the middle of the Burmese jungle and to Mexico to build houses.”

Arm candy: Her terrier- chihuahua, Joey, who doubles as a good luck charm.

Talent Show: A classically trained pianist, Cheung started taking acting classes a year before the movie audition. She plays backup vocal and keyboards in a jazz band in the Kibbutz Room at Canter’s Deli. Also sings lead in a ska band and collaborates with rappers on underground hip-hop.

Fashion?: Total tomboy. “Growing up with two brothers, I’ve worn jeans all my life, so I was pretty thrilled when Levi’s started giving me things.”

Spare Change: Picks beauty products over new clothes any day. “It comes from working at Bath & Body Works for five years.”

Up Next: “I’m still auditioning, hoping ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ sells out in theaters.”


Channeling: Jennifer Aniston

Big Break: After winning a Gemini (Canada’s Golden Globe) for the TV movie “Lucky Girl,” Cuthbert moved from Montreal to L.A. to shoot the pilot of Fox’s “24,” now a network hit. “I give some plot hints to my mom, but my dad likes to be in suspense every week.”

Early Bloomer: While serving as a teenage correspondent for the TV show “Popular Mechanics for Kids,” she caught the eye of Hillary Clinton and was invited to the White House.

Seeing Double: Looks like heiress Casey Johnson on a good day or Deborah Harry circa ’79.

Fashion?: Definitely. Likes Ungaro’s Fuchsia line. “I’m so tired of black. I’m 20, so I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard.”

Career Highlight: Meeting Snoop Dogg on the set of “Old School.”

Anh Duong Moment: Paints portraits — “mostly women or versions of myself.”

Up Next: “The Girl Next Door” with Emile Hirsch. A “Risky Business”-style coming-of-age story about a boy who finds out his girlfriend used to be a porn star.

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