Can you look too wholesome for your own good? Ask Neve (rhymes with Bev) Campbell. Thanks to her role as Party of Five’s fresh-faced, troubled high school grad Julia Salinger, the dark-haired, brown-eyed 24-year-old has become a teen icon for the ’90s. “Our notes for the makeup artists are always ‘Less, less, less,’ ” says Party executive producer Amy Lippman. “We don’t need anything for her. She’s just so beautiful.”
Maybe that’s why, when Campbell went for the steamy role of a garishly coiffed bisexual druggie in the big-screen caper Wild Things, the suits were apprehensive. “My face can seem very innocent on-camera,” says Campbell, 5’5½”, who played a nice girl in the Scream movies and a good witch in The Craft. “So I had to punk up my hair and work out to get a wiry look. I like it, but I also like looking healthy.” She sizzles both ways: Now filming the romantic comedy Three to Tango, she’s the object of Matthew Perry’s affection, and in this summer’s 54, she smolders as a ’70s club-going soap opera star.
“When she’s playing herself, Campbell, who is divorced from actor Jeff Colt, goes easy on the preliminaries. A shower, a slather of Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer and a swipe of M.A.C Mocha lipstick and she’s off. Her best features, says her Wild Things costar Kevin Bacon, are “really beautiful eyes and a nice spirit.”
Campbell has learned her lesson about messing with her straight hair. When she was 13 and growing up near Toronto, where she studied dance at Canada’s National Ballet School, she recalls, “I went to a little salon and got a perm. I looked like Bozo the Clown.”