Becoming ... Cameron Diaz
Although she was a cheerleader at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Diaz (in 1988) didn't escape being taunted: She was nicknamed Skeletor because of her thin frame. "She did stick out," says a Diaz classmate. "But no one worshipped her."
A STAR IS BORN
Diaz didn't think she would land the part of sexy singer Tina Carlyle in 1994's The Mask, ultimately her breakout role. "She tried out as a joke," says agent Robin Levy. Twelve auditions later, Diaz (clowning with costar Jim Carrey at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994) had the part.
Diaz is very close with her family, dad Emilio and mom Billie (top, in 1995) and older sister Chimene (in 2000). When the Diaz sisters were kids, Emilio had them watch football on TV to emphasize the importance of teamwork. Today, Diaz dotes on Chimene's daughter Chloe, 7: "(She) is a wonderful aunt," says a friend.
After meeting at the 2003 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Diaz and pop star Justin Timberlake (in Hawaii in September) began a relationship that has taken them all over the world. She has toured with him, and he recently joined her at the Cannes Film Festival. They are "perfect together," says Timberlake pal Sharon Osbourne.
DAY OF THUNDER
Diaz got to play the daredevil when she participated in the Long Beach Grand Prix Pro-Celebrity race in 1998. Says her driving instructor, Jim Snelling: "Her attitude was, 'I'll show these guys. I'm a very nice person, but don't get in my road.'" The competitive actress placed sixth among 20 racers.
IN THE GENES
Despite her rail-thin body, Diaz (at a family party in 2003) is no diet fanatic: "She eats like a truck driver," says There's Something About Mary costar Lin Shaye. "She just piles her plate with whatever there is. Then she goes back for seconds." How does Diaz keep her figure? "Good metabolism," she says.
THE GOOD GIRL
Growing up in Long Beach, Calif., Diaz (in her 1986 eighth grade photo from Hughes Junior High) was far from rebellious. "They rarely said no to me," Diaz told Parade magazine about her parents, "so if they did, I knew they had a good reason, and I wouldn't go against them."
Spotted by photographer Jeff Dunas when she was 16, 5'9" Diaz won a contract with the Elite modeling agency. "She had a sparkle," says Dunas. But her parents made her promise that she would finish high school (she did). During her modeling career, Diaz (in 1990) traveled to Japan and Paris and modeled for Coca-Cola and Nivea.
Her passion for surfing began while training for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and Diaz has been catching waves ever since. Despite injuring her nose in a surfing accident in Honolulu in August 2003, Diaz (a month later) kept on boarding.
HAIR TO CHANGE
Diaz has gone through plenty of tress-formations over the years: She wears it short and chic at the 1997 MTV Movie Awards (top left); flirts with her darker side at the Venice Film Festival in 1999; and goes to great lengths (with a little help from hair extensions) at a Berlin press event in 2003.
THE EX FACTOR
After two years together, Diaz and her There's Something About Mary costar Matt Dillon (left, at the movie's L.A. premiere in July 1998) broke things off in the fall of '98. A year later, Diaz fell for another actor, Jared Leto (in Malibu in 2000), but that relationship ended in 2003.
Diaz has become known for her eclectic style. From left: She showcases a bohemian look at the 2002 Oscars; tips her fedora at the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle London premiere in 2003; and mixes and matches an Alexander McQueen tank top with a Zac Posen skirt at Shrek 2's L.A. premiere.