Friday, September 19, 2008

VOGUE: Rachel Weisz - Dark Beauty

Rachel Weisz is Vogue magazine's October 2008 feature story. Gorgeous, gifted, and charming, she's the most interesting girl-next-door you'll ever meet. Photographed by Craig McDean and story by Eva MacSweeney, here's more than a glimpse into this exotic starlett.

For an idiosyncratic soul, what better place for British-born Weisz to put down roots with her fiancé, director Darren Aronofsky, and Henry, their two-year-old son? Gazing up from the table and out through the window of the restaurant, she points to a building across the street. "Just looking over there, it says, 'Polish and Slavic Center,' " she observes, reading its low-tech sign. "Everyone talks about how New York used to be. The East Village is how I imagine New York used to be. What's happening behind that door? There are just very authentic little pockets of life going on."

An actress's job, of course, involves the pursuit of authenticity in no small measure, and Weisz seems to be constantly looking for stories with which to feed her inner world. She recently returned from five months on the island of Malta, a stand-in for fourth-century Alexandria in the historical drama Agora, directed by the young Chilean director Alejandro Amenábar, who made The Others, with Nicole Kidman (his only previous English-language movie), and the highly acclaimed The Sea Inside, with Javier Bardem. She plays Hypatia, a scholar determined to prove that the Earth is not the center of the solar system; lest it sound too much like an astronomy lesson, the film is also, says Weisz, "a thriller and a love story and a tale of obsession."

Before that, she made Peter Jackson's film adaptation of Alice Sebold's best-selling novel The Lovely Bones. (Both movies will be released next year.) As Abigail Salmon, the mother of the murdered teenager who narrates the story, Weisz took on a harrowing role, but one whose complexity beguiled her. "What I love about it is that here's this woman who has tragedy befall her, and she does not deal with it heroically at all. She just completely and utterly falls apart at the seams. She does everything horrible that is possible: She leaves her family, has an affair with the detective. But I feel like she's human, and that's what fascinates me the most about her." It would be hard for anyone, particularly a mother, to imagine her child the victim of a homicide, but, says Jackson, "Rachel is able to project that rare combination of strength and vulnerability. She carries the audience with her, even if it requires her to journey to some dark places emotionally, and she is fearless in her ability to go to the heart of any moment."

The films Weisz makes are all the more precious to her now that she has had to cut down her workload in order to accommodate Aronofsky's career and take care of her son. "Things get more complicated when you have a child," she says. "We can't both be working at the same time."

Thirty-seven-year-old Weisz is slender and pale-skinned, with strongly defined dark eyebrows that lend an exotic flourish to her beauty. (Her parents are of Central European origin.) She is wearing a pretty vintage Ossie Clark dress. "I used to buy my Ossie Clark at the market at Cambridge in the early nineties for ten quid," she recalls wistfully of her student days. "This one came from a specialist site on the Internet."

Low-key or not, Weisz suddenly stops, and a moment of drama ensues. "Oh!" she says. "Oh! I'm in shock! This is Decibel, the sake bar. I had no idea it was here!" Decibel, it turns out, was a milestone in her romance with Aronofsky, whom she met seven years ago backstage at a theater. She went there once, long before she lived in the neighborhood, and, as if it were Shangri-la, didn't know how to find it again. "Darren and I had one of our best early dates there. I can't believe it's here!" These are the kinds of surprises and connections that pop up on every corner of the East Village. As we turn into a cross street where every second building appears to be embellished with the trappings of one religious denomination or another, she stops in her tracks once again. "The Church of Saint Cyril…," she reads from an inscription. "Oh, my God!!! Saint Cyril—that is so interesting!" Quite what is so extraordinary about this obscure saint isn't clear until Weisz explains that Saint Cyril is a character in Agora. "He was declared a saint by the Catholic Church, but in the film, he was a bad guy. Whoo, that gave me the shivers."

Weisz, it turns out, had her own early fashion moment when she won a "young models" competition at age thirteen for the London-based Harpers & Queen, which happened to be judged by Vogue's European Editor at Large, Hamish Bowles, in a previous incarnation as a fashion editor at the British magazine. "She was an absolute tearing beauty," Bowles recalls. "A dash of Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby, with strong brows and a perfect Edwardian face." The contest led to a contract for Weisz with the elite agency Models One and summer vacations spent earning pocket money in unusually glamorous ways.

~ excerpts from Vogue magazine, October 2008 (

One thing's for sure, this girl's got depth!

For the Octboer 2008 cover, Vogue used products by Maybelline:

  • Maybelline Define-a-Line in Slate Gray, $5.50
  • Maybelline Mineral Powder Naturally Luminous Blush in Gentle Pink, $9
  • Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Berry Sorbet, $7

Vogue recommends these products for a similar look:

  • Urban Decay Powder Blush in Quickie, $17, and The Body Shop Cheek Bloom 01, $24
  • Urban Decay Liquid Liner in Oil Slick, $18, and The Body Shop Eye Definer in Slate, $16
  • Urban Decay Lipstick in Hot Pants, $22, and The Body Shop Lip Gloss in Dot 03, $10

For the full story on Rachel, the Vogue photo shoot, her video diary and more, visit Pick up the October issue of Vogue magazine for even more.

source:, photos: JustJared and Style

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