Gretchen Mol: Turning Up The Heat

Getting treated like a star on the cover of Vanity Fair before the world even knows who you are is a strange variety of celebrity pressure. But that's what Gretchen Mol faced when small parts in Rounders and Celebrity, both released in 1998, got her touted as the new big deal. Among other things, she'd had no time to nail down her red-carpet "look."

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"When I first started getting wooed by designers," she says, "I couldn't believe the access I had to such beautiful stuff. But then it was too much and I felt I was jumping all over the map, experimenting too much. I'm clearer on what I like now, but I'm still trying to figure out the whole celebrity image thing." Now that Mol is scarring as a sassy red-headed knockout who stirs wild fantasies in a teenage boy in the 1950s-era comedy Just Looking, directed by "Seinfeld's Jason Alexander, she has the opportunity to hit some new style notes offscreen, too. "At first I did the whole wispy, wistful thing," says Mol. "Then I started thinking, 'Why not do something different?' So I've gone stronger, sexier and bolder.''

DENNIS HENSLEY: To pull off a role like yours in Just Looking, you have to be in pretty good shape. How do you keep fit?

GRETCHEN MOL: Yoga. I could do, like, the infomercial for yoga.

Q: Would you ever pull a Jennifer Lopez and wear a torso-exposing gown?

A: Only in the privacy of my own home.

Q: Have you ever worn an outfit that looked great at home but bad in paparazzi photos?

A: Once I wore a simple, black, hooded jersey with no bra to a premiere. Turned out you could totally see through my shirt.

Q: In the film, you play an ex-bra model. What was it like wearing just a bra all day?

A: It felt good. The bras were like contraptions, though.

Q: Did they give you Laura Petrie bullet boobs?

A: Pointy, yeah. They were fun because all of a sudden it was like they weren't mine anymore.

Q: You have red hair in this film. Did you miss being blonde?

A: I was psyched to get my blonde back. I think being a blonde makes things easier. It's a weird sort of phenomenon that some people might disagree with me on.

Q: You prefer being treated like a blonde?

A: Yeah. I'm not talking about like blonde jokes and all, but about how your eye automatically goes to blonde hair.

Q: Did people assume you were smarter as a redhead?

A: People treat you like you're tougher, like they can't screw with you.

Q: You just got out of a six-year relationship, meaning that the whole time you were working with stars like Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jude Law you were spoken for, right?

A: It's nice when you're involved with someone, because you feel like there's safety in it. I don't know what it's going to be like to be single. Look out, next costar!

Q: Of all the guys you've worked with, whose style impressed you?

A: Woody Allen, just kidding. I always thought Jude Law had good style. He had fun with clothes.

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