May 09, 2005 12:00 PM

Ziyi Zhang

AGE: 26


BACKGROUND: Born and raised in Beijing, she’s the daughter of an economist and a kindergarten teacher.

INTERNATIONAL FILMOGRAPHY: 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and 2004’s House of Flying Daggers
UP NEXT: Memoirs of a Geisha

What’s the difference between beauty in Asia and the U.S.?

“In America, people like long, straight black hair. In Asia, people say that Chinese girls with brown hair and full bodies are sexy. It’s different.”

What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten?

“My friends who haven’t seen me in a long time, when they see pictures, they say, ‘You don’t look like a little girl. You look like a young woman.’ ”

In your films, how can you look so gorgeous and dainty while kicking butt?

“That’s me! People liked my character in Crouching Tiger because she didn’t care about beauty. She looked weak, but she had a very strong personality.”

Sophie Okonedo

AGE: 36


BACKGROUND: Born in London to a Nigerian father and a British mother, she’s half Jewish and the mother of a 7-year-old daughter.

INTERNATIONAL BREAK THROUGH: Best Supporting Actress nomination for Hotel Rwanda

Now that you’re famous, do you leave the house without makeup?

“Yes. I’m not a model. If people see me without makeup, it’s not a shock. But when you go out to a do, you go through the works—two hours of hair and makeup. Anyone can do that and look good. But the role I did was hardly glamorous. I didn’t have anything to live up to.”

What happens on a bad hair day?

“I have Afro hair, so every day is a strange hair day. My hair has its own rules.”

Your next film is with Charlize Theron. Did she share any beauty tips?

“She gets up and just goes. We’re similar like that.”

Catalina Sandino Moreno

AGE: 24

COUNTRY: Colombia

BACKGROUND: The daughter of a veterinarian and a pathologist, Sandino Moreno was born in Bogotá.

INTERNATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH: Best Actress nomination for her title role in 2004’s Maria Full of Grace

American beauty vs. Colombian beauty:

“Americans see beauty the same way Colombians see beauty: skinny, tall, blonde beautiful women.”

How did you stand out from the other actresses in Colombia?

“All these beautiful women play the leads in all the soap operas, and I don’t believe them. They are beauty pageant winners, but I don’t believe they are actresses. Some of these girls think that beauty is everything.”

What did it feel like to walk down the red carpet at the Oscars?

“I felt beautiful because I was with my mother. She’s so beautiful, and I felt happy because she was there.”

Has anyone ever asked you to change your looks?

“I’ve heard from a couple people that I’m a little fat. And I should lose weight. But I’m comfortable! I know I’m not very skinny, and I know I’m not too fat.”

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