05-18-2008: The Sunday Telegraph

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'Stunning Californian actress Rebecca Romijn is frank about what constitutes beauty. Despite her jaw-dropping good looks, the statuesque, 35-year-old, former model states at a press conference that it is in fact America Ferrera, the lead actress of Ugly Betty - not herself - who epitomises true beauty as the "all-American gal".

"She's the pinnacle of American beauty... That's really what American beauty has become," Romijn offers.

"America is traditionally the melting pot. A few years ago when I was working for [fashion designer] Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy said in an interview, 'I like Rebecca because she's the classic all-American beauty'.

"And they interviewed my mother, who teaches English as a second language to immigrants and refugees, mostly from South America and Southeast Asia. And they asked her what she thought of Tommy Hilfiger calling me the classic American beauty, and she goes: 'She's not the classic all-American beauty. Classic all-American beauties aren't blonde with blue eyes. They're dark. They're a mixture of a lot of things. That's what classic all-American beauties are'. And I also believe that."

Indeed, people throughout the world seemingly agree, with the comedy-driven drama proving an international success. But it's not just Betty - the maternal Latina immigrant - who has been adopted globally. Romijn's character, Alexis Maede, is also a break from mainstream characterisations, given that Alexis was once Alex until opting for gender reassignment surgery.

Romijn acknowledges the risk, but says she believes in the character and has received many compliments for her portrayal.

"Coming from the fashion world, I had a couple transgender friends before I took this job, and I realise it's a sensitive subject for them.

"Since I've taken on this role, I've made a lot of more friends - transgender friends. A lot of people in the transgender community have thanked me for taking this role. It's a role that wouldn't have existed five years ago. I feel like I'm representing a group of people that hasn't quite made it into the mainstream consciousness. I'm hoping to make Alexis a part of our national dialogue on transgenders."

Ultimately - given Alexis wakes from a coma with amnesia, therefore forgetting she was once a man - Romijn acknowledges the role as fun.

"It's been unbelievable. At first, when they pitched the idea to me, it just sounded like fun. It made me laugh, and it sounded like a fun part to play. At the end of the day, it's just a really exciting role to play.

"Other than that, I can't really control what or how other people are going to perceive it, or, you know, there's nothing I can do about that. But it's a tremendous amount of fun. I'd rather play this than the boring trophy wife, the pretty girlfriend. It's boring to play the pretty girl."

It's territory that's familiar to Romijn, given her turn as the Blue Mutant in the X-Men feature film franchise.

While she once graced the covers of magazines such as Swimsuit Illustrated, Romijn seemed destined for a career on a wider screen, but states her preference is for television, which allows her more time with her small-screen actor and husband, Jerry O'Connell.

"It's actually another reason, why I wanted to work in TV. Well, he and I both want to work in TV, and this way we get to have somewhat of a normal marriage. He works over at Universal [on Carpoolers], which is just three or four freeway exits away from here, so if we ever have time in the day, we can visit each other."

Original article: Sunday Telegraph TV Guide 05/18/2008

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