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Izabella Miko
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944 Interview

"I've danced and sang in movies already, flew on a trapeze and played a sex maniac more than once. I think it's time to kick some butt! A superhero would be nice."

Izabella Miko exudes charm and bursts of energy from her side of the phone, as I sit and diligently take notes on mine. If a few minutes with the 26-year-old star of Kurt Voetker's current film release. Park, don't blow viewers away, then perhaps her impressive rise to success will. Born in communist Poland, this actress and beauty managed to add accomplished ballerina and vocalist to her resume while the rest of us were mastering handball and four-square. How's that for blond ambition?

944: What kind of perspective has a childhood spent in Warsaw given you?

Izabella Miko: It's very hard to even explain to people here in U.S. what it was like to be a kid in a communist country. I remember tasting a yogurt for the first time, because my mom smuggled it from Germany — my brother and I kept the cups on display so we could show them to all our friends! I'm very grateful to be born at that time though, and to have experienced not having things. I moved to New York when I was 15, leaving my family behind, which kind of ripped my heart out. I sold batteries at Times Square to pay for extra dance classes, but in that kind of situation, you do it with joy because in the U.S. you see the prize all around you; it's very tangible. There is an extreme power in coming from nothing and then working your way up all on your own.

How did you choose between ballet and Hollywood?

When I was Utile I never wanted to do anything else but dance. I used to think lhat being an actor was super lame, because both of my parents were actors and I wanted to distinguish myself from them somehow.

Is it true that you walked to your appointments when you came to LA for the first time and used (gasp) public transportation?

Yes. My first trip to LA was very indicative of my life in general. I landed at LAX with no driver's license, no working papers and no money — but with lots of enthusiasm. Thanks to that. I wasn't too worried that I had to leave my apartment an hour and a half before my meetings to walk there. Just a quick change of shoes and I was ready for any challenge.

How often do you go back to Poland to visit?

I know it will sound nuts, but nowadays I go there up to five times a year. I'm blessed with an extremely cool family. They're very supportive and make me look sane. Also, there's nothing like Polish home cooking. I cook at home in LA. but you can't compare it to my mom's pierogis.

Tell me a little about the movie Park that's coming out this month.

It's coming out November 2 in Los Angeles and November 16 in New York. It's a comedy starring Billy Baldwin. Ricki Lake and Cheri Oteri. The story takes place in a public park in LA. and I play a dog groomer-turned-slut with a warped view of life, who's having an affair with a married man and meeting him there for "lunch dates."

You have a bunch of movies in the can. What's next for you? Any roles you would like to play?

Yes. the last two years have been super busy for me. First up there's Flakes with Zooey Oeschanel, then Repo with Jason Mewes and then Dark Streets, which is a film noir set in 1930s. I play a femme fatale in a jazz nightclub and I get to sing my heart out! I'm gelling into producing now. which is very exciting. I've danced and sang in movies already, flew on a trapeze and played a sex maniac more than once. I think it's time to kick some butt! A superhero would be nice.

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HOLYWOOD BEAUTY INTERVIEW

THEY'RE GORGEOUS, TALENTED AND ON THEIR WAY TO MEGA-STARDOM. SEPHORA INVITED THESE RISING STARS FOR COMPLETE MAKEOVERS. LET THEIR DAY AND NIGHT LOOKS INSPIRE YOUR NEW FALL FACE.

Izabella Miko

Seen in: Coyote Ugly

Her role: the ever-flirtatious, doe-eyed bartender, Cammie, who falls in love more often than she actually serves drinks.

Next up: the vampire thriller The Forsaken, due out in early 2001, costarring Jonathan Schaech and Simon Rex.

What’s the one beauty item you couldn't live without?

"Definitely a spray-in hair detangler. My hair is really long and fine, so it can get to be a knotty mess." Any beauty secrets? "I travel a ton. So when I get puffy, I brew some chamomile tea, then stick the teabags in the freezer. After a few minutes, I put them over my eyes. The result is miraculous!"

What’s your beauty philosophy?

"I hate anything fake. Of course. you have to wear heavier makeup in movies, but in my everyday life, I choose sheer textures and natural colors like a little translucent shimmery cream on my cheeks for a bit of glow. And I always curt my lashes."

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