May 09, 1994 12:00 PM

As if luxuriously long legs and breathtaking talent weren’t bounty enough, England’s most feted ballerina since Margot Fonteyn is also blessed with a fairy-tale face. “I’ll probably look 12 for the rest of my life,” says 25-year-old Darcey Bussell, a Royal Ballet principal dancer who recently enchanted audiences as Princess Aurora in a triumphant U.S. tour of The Sleeping Beauty. “My nose is short and turned up.”

For the 5’7″ (6’2″ en pointed, 112-lb. Bussell, the mixture of childlike and decidedly womanly has wowed critics as well. Princess Margaret presented her with the Evening Standard‘s prestigious Ballet Award in 1991, and one smitten scribe called her “unbearably vulnerable, outrageously suggestive.” Destined to dance (she was not only walking but running at age 10 months), the London-born Bussell entered the Royal Ballet School at 13; seven years and several inches later, she jeté-ed her way to being the corps’ youngest-ever principal ballerina. Bussell, who is single (she tends to date non-dancers) and living in a West London flat, battles the ravages of heavy stage makeup with a regimen of “cleanser, moisturizer and toner” and admits to sometimes curling her eyelashes. Still, she says, “I hope I’ve gotten somewhere because I’m good, not just because I’m pretty.”

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