Celebrity Becoming ... Natalie Portman See how the freshly shorn Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith actress went from bookish girl to elegant fashion muse. By Lucy Maher and Caryn Midler By People Staff Published on July 20, 2004 02:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 01 of 12 HERE'S THE RUB PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Newscom Natalie Portman, who has appeared in 20 films in her 11-year career, suffers for her art – but not too much. "I can't stop rubbing my head," she has said of her newly shaved pate – which even her Star Wars director, George Lucas, couldn't resist (in Cannes in May). "It's so soft, I might keep it for a while." Portman, 23, got the new do for her next role as a suspected terrorist in the futuristic drama V for Vendetta. 02 of 12 UNDER THE RADAR Richard Young/Rex Though she likes to keep her personal life under wraps – Portman has never publicly revealed her real last name – she has been linked romantically to Gael Garcia Bernal, Lukas Haas and most recently Israeli actor Liron Levo, who escorted her to the Oscars afterparties in February (left) and May's Cannes Film Festival. 03 of 12 STYLE CHILD Evan Agostini/Getty; ERIK C. PENDZICH/REX; JEN LOWERY/LFI On the red carpet, Portman wears sophisticated but playful pieces that flatter her diminutive frame: (from left to right) in an emerald-green Stella McCartney gown in 2004; in Zac Posen's "Empire State Dress" (and temporary tattoo) in 2002; and in a madras, '50s-inspired halter-dress the same year. 04 of 12 STAR POWER 20th Century Fox/Zuma "Films have a big influence on young people," Portman, who played Queen Amidala – mother to heroes Luke and Leia – in the past three Star Wars prequels, has said. "I'm happy with this role; it presents a positive image for girls. You don't really see that onscreen: a young woman as ruler." 05 of 12 CLOSER COUPLE Darren/INFGoff For the Mike Nichols-directed Closer, in which she played a stripper caught in a web of sex, love and lies, Portman garnered a Golden Globe and her first Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress. "It was my first time and, I don't know, it was weird," the actress told W magazine about the Academy Awards ceremony. "I was really honored and grateful to be there, but it was a lot less glamorous than I thought it would be ... It's sort of like the prom." 06 of 12 PROM PRINCESS JOHN BARRETT/GLOBE Portman showed off her burgeoning sartorial style in this dusty-blue gown at her high school prom, which was held at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1999. But the night didn't exactly go off without a hitch: "The guy I went with messed up his plans," she has said. "There were no reservations (where we were supposed to stay) and we ended up sleeping in a car." 07 of 12 HOME BUDDIES Mitchell Gerber/CORBIS Portman, who grew up on Long Island with her father, Avner, an Israeli fertility specialist, and American artist mother, Shelley, likes to keep a low profile. "I see these 20-year-old actors who do nothing but smoke cigarettes and go to clubs every night while they wait for their next part," she said. "I couldn't stand living that way." 08 of 12 GRAD TO MEET YOU DAN CALLISTER/Splash News Portman, who graduated with a degree in psychology from Harvard in 2003, said her Ivy League diploma has helped her in Hollywood: "Directors are much more interested in collaborating now, as opposed to me being a chess piece in their game. Suddenly they're my colleagues. It's very different." 09 of 12 CLOTHES CALL Evan Agostini/Getty A Harvard pal introduced Portman to designer Zac Posen in 2002. He soon made her his fashion muse. "She exemplified everything that I love in women," said Posen (with Portman in June.) "She has spirit, spunk and panache." 10 of 12 PARTY GIRLS Matthew Peyton/Getty All work and no play makes Natalie a dull girl. Here she jokes with pal Britney Spears – they met at a 2001 listening party for Spears's album Britney – before co-hosting a New Year's Eve party for 40 friends at New York's Hudson Hotel the following year. 11 of 12 HOLE IN ONE Everett "She was camera-ready when she arrived," said Todd Thaler, casting director for 1994's The Professional in which Portman, then 12, played a child under the protection of a middle-aged hitman. "They literally could have gone into production without a stitch of rehearsal." 12 of 12 WORKING GIRL Leigh Green/Splash News When Portman works, "it's for three months at a time. Then I'm like, 'I don't know what I am doing.' So I started taking classes and feeling productive. I'm learning Spanish and taking ballet and working on producing things. Acting is fulfilling on a personal level, but I don't know how much it contributes to the world. Although I think a world without movies and theatre would be a sad one."