May 12, 1997 12:00 PM

WHERE IS BEAUTY.COM? Try the home page of Pattie Maes, 35, associate professor at the MIT Media Laboratory and cofounder of Firefly, an Internet shopping and chat service. Her striking looks have made her a download diva, which she finds flattering after spending 12-hour days at work and the rest of her time caring for her 2-year-old son with computer scientist husband Karl Sims. On campus, her sublime software “doesn’t go unnoticed, let’s put it that way,” says MIT professor Rodney Brooks. A former model in her native Belgium, the 5’7″ Maes understands the awe she inspires. MIT, she says, “is almost a wasteland in terms of beauty. It’s not hard to be the prettiest woman if there aren’t any other women. There’s an expression that goes, In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Maybe lack of competition is for the best. “I try to eat healthy,” Maes says, “but being Belgian, I’m also addicted to chocolate.”

You May Like