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Friday, January 14, 2005

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman was born on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. The daughter of an infertility specialist and a homemaker/artist, Natalie (who uses her grandmother's maiden name to protect her privacy) left Israel when she was only three years old, and relocated with her family to Maryland, Connecticut, and finally Long Island, New York, where she still lives.

Natalie was discovered by a modeling agent in a New York pizza parlor when she was eleven years old, but didn't find modeling interesting. Instead, she wanted a more fulfilling career. Although she had no initial desire to become an actress, Natalie developed an interest in performing after attending the Stagedoor Manor Performing Camp for three summers, where she was cast in the theatre performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cabaret, Anne of Green Gables (as the lead character), and performed in Tapestry.

Natalie's film career started with her role in the 1994 film, The Professional (a.k.a. Lion), as an assassin's protege. The following year, she appeared in the crime-drama Heat, alongside heavy hitters Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, and stole the screen from Uma Thurman in the 1996 film, Beautiful Girls. Her role in Beautiful Girls garnered rave reviews and that same year she could be seen in the Woody Allen musical, Everyone Says I Love You, as well as Mars Attacks!. After having turned down roles in movies such as Lolita, due to her feeling that young actors should not be exposed to sex at such a young age and the role of Juliet in the modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet (because of the age difference between herself and Leonardo DiCaprio), Natalie refused the supporting role in The Horse Whisperer, opting instead for the starring role in the Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank.

But the role that put Natalie on the road of stardom is that of Queen Padm? Amidala, in the first Star Wars prequel. Her three-film contract, which started with 1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, has made her a historic film character. Ironically, Natalie had never even seen the original three Star Wars movies before being cast by George Lucas. Natalie's graduation from Syosset High School took place that same summer. Since her role in Phantom Menace, Natalie has co-starred with Susan Sarandon in Anywhere But Here, and starred in the lead role with Ashley Judd in the film adaptation of Where the Heart Is.

Trilingual (Natalie is fluent in Japanese, English, and Hebrew) and having aspirations of becoming a doctor, Natalie is currently studying Psychology at Harvard University. Often referred to as "the new Audrey Hepburn," Natalie surely has a bright film career ahead of her... if she decides to remain an actress.

Natalie Portman Photos

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Maria Sharapova

Date of Birth: April 19, 1987
Birthplace: Russia
Residence: Bradenton, Florida, USA
Height: 6' (1.83 m)
Weight: 130 lbs. (59 kg)
Plays: Right-handed

Maria started hitting tennis balls at age four.
*At six, participated in exhibition in Moscow that featured Martina Navratilova
She is coached by her father and by Robert Lansdorp.
Aged nine, she began training at the Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. During the first two years, she was separated from her mother due to visa restrictions.
Maria is interested in fashion, singing, jazz dancing and movies.
She studies via an Internet school.
Maria enjoys reading books in the Sherlock Holmes and Pippi Longstocking series.
Her favorite food is Russian food.
Her favorite music is Russian music.
She signed with IMG Models in November 2003.
She was a finalist at the 2002 Junior Australian Open.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova of Russia was selected by GQ magazine as one of its 2004 Women of the Year. The editors of the magazine said that when they saw the Russian blond for the first time they thought she was just another copy of Anna Kournikova until they saw her play. In July, Sharapova won Wimbledon. In November, she became the world's first Russian winner of the WTA championships.

Maria Sharapova Photos

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Eva Herzigova

Eva Herzigova

Eva Herzigova was born March, 10th in Litvinov (Czech Repubblic). Eva Herzigova began her modeling career after winning a modeling beauty contest in Prague in 1989. Upon arriving in Paris all the top fashion photographers requested to see her. Since then Eva became more popular. Her resemblance to Marilyn Monroe helped her to attract attention all over the world. Resulting from this popularity she was invited to participate in fashion shows and advertising campaigns for many noted designers. Most recently, eva modeled for the memorable wonder bra advertising campaign.

She was then invited to appear in the international fashion celebration held in Moscow and st.Petersburg. With her natural charm and beauty Eva helped to make this fashion show to a major success. But modeling does not seem to be her only field of interest. Eva has shown aspirations towards acting. She can be seen in the Ellen von Unwerth's film called Inferno. She also played a role in the french film titled "Les Anges Gardiens", and acted together with Gerard Depardieu.

Eva Herzigova is one of the top stars at Metropolitan modeling agency in New York and Paris. Since 1989, when she left her native Czechoslovakia, Eva has become one of the most recognizable faces in modeling. Succeeding Claudia Schiffer, Eva gained her greatest exposure by appearing in GUESS? ads in early 1992. The GUESS? campaign boosted her to international stardom. GUESS?, Studio Line and Wonderbra ads reinforced her image and likened her to the "Marilyn" of the '90s -- strong and uncomplicated. In 2002 she shocked fans and fashion watchers with her waif-like figure. Speculations and rumours of an eating disorder or drug addiction ran rampant, both of which she denied. She has also appeared in a few movies and posed nude for Playboy magazine in August 2004.

to be continued ...

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Karolina Kurkova

Born in the town of Decin, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) on February 28th, 1984, Karolina Kurkova had a slight taste of what celebrity would be like, as her father Josef Kurka was a star basketball player. As a child, her height made her relatively awkward and gangly, but that would all change with age.

A close friend recognized her beauty and sent photos of Kurkova to an agency in Prague. Kurkova immediately landed a runway appearance, not to mention a commercial and print ad. Still, being a model in the Czech Republic did not expose her to what fashion was really about, so Kurkova took a chance and traveled to Milan to gain some more experience.

There, Miuccia Prada (the designer behind the famous brand name) signed her to a contract that proved to be the beginning of her stellar career. On September 7th, 1999, Kurkova's hard work as a 15-year-old model culminated in a meeting with some Vogue editors in New York. She impressed them immediately and the execs began to slowly groom her for success.

A move to the Big Apple and hectic work schedule ensued. It all paid off when Kurkova finally made her presence known in the February 2001 issue of Vogue. One of the youngest models ever to grace its cover, the magazine helped propel her to stardom. She was now recognized at haute couture fashion shows and Victoria's Secret swept her up and chose her to be part of that year's television special, in November. Even fashion houses like Yves Saint Laurent took note of the stunning beauty and proceeded to sign Kurkova to deals.

Print campaigns for Tommy, Valentino and others helped expose Karolina Kurkova even more, while she headlined the second Victoria's Secret show the following year. The constant flow of work (she is said to have worked 23 weeks straight) was recognized by Vogue as they honored her with the "Model of the Year" title at the 2002 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards.

Karolina Kurkova Photos

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