Julia Roberts: Knockout

Since she burst lustily on the scene as the freewheeling Daisy, brimming over with carnal knowledge, in the surprise hit Mystic Pizza, Julia Roberts has invariably been identified as actor Eric Roberts's younger sister.

True, the 22-year-old native of Smyrna, Georgia, shares her more celebrated sibling's all-embracing lips and flashing eyes. But her forthright nose, with its commanding upswing, looks more like it's been borrowed from Candice Bergen. A self-styled "kamikaze actress," who interned briefly at the Atlanta Repertory Theater before parts in Satisfaction and Baja Oklahoma brought her to Hollywood's attention, she's already teased her way through the pages of People and Vogue and Esquire, where she was likened to "a young Sophia Loren." This avalanche of hype moves into high gear next month as Steel Magnolias marks her arrival in the big time. The ill-fated Southern belle Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie was one of the most eagerly sought-after roles in years, and now Roberts has landed another plum, playing the hooker in love with Richard Gere in Garry Marshall's still untitled reworking of the Pygmalion tale. This one-two punch promises to throw off the "younger sister of..." designation once and for all. Now it's Eric who's in danger of being known simply as "Julia Roberts's older brother."

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