People Staff
May 13, 2002 12:00 PM

How many crowns can Queen Julia stack atop those auburn curls? Since last year’s Oscar triumph for Erin Brockovich, the $20-million-a-movie girl has continued collecting favorite-actress awards: People’s Choice, Blockbuster, MTV. In December she became the first woman to win the annual Harris Poll for Favorite Movie Star—eating out Tom Hanks and Harrison Ford. Apparently fans have forgiven last year’s breakup with Benjamin Bratt and subsequent linkup with married cameraman Danny Moder. But what is this voodoo that Roberts, 34, does so well? “She is who she is for a lot of reasons,” says James Gandolfini, her costar in The Mexican. “I don’t want to sound sexist, but I picture a Ferrari. Yes, she’s beautiful, but she’s got a great engine.” Her unpredictability, too, staves off Julia fatigue: the roulette-wheel romances, the wacky Armani-to-Granola wardrobe, the varied hairstyles. Coiffeur Serge Normant, architect of many of the 5’9″ Roberts’s cuttings and colorings, says, “Julia likes to change. She lives in the moment. She’s a happy person and comfortable in her own skin.” And seemingly unstoppable. As Steven Soderbergh, Roberts’s pal and director of Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven and this summer’s Full Frontal, told Esquire last year: “What can I say? I wish she would just run for President already.”

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