Mirror Magazine
16th September 2001

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The brow beaters

Size does matter. For men and women alike, the bushier the eyebrows, the bigger the turn-on, discovers Sophie Gilbert of STYLE

Last month, it was reported that the secret of sexual attraction has been found to lie in women's eyebrows, a raised brow being the visual equivalent of a wolf whistle to a bloke. Male libidos, are set to rocket this year when the beetle-browed Helena Bonham Carter stars as a chimpanzee in Planet of the Apes. Meanwhile, three hirsute Hollywood heroines, J-Lo, Madonna and Salma Hayek, have spent months scrapping over who would get the plum role of the monobrowed artist and shagger extraordinaire Frida Kahlo. (The role was eventually given to Hayek.) Although women shriek with horror about men's tendency to sprout thick clumps of vegetation on what should be smooth skin, most of us would gladly put up with a bit of back hair if it came with a fine pair of eyebrows. No longer are bushy brows considered an amusing physical feature sported only by Father Christmas and Denis Healey. Instead, they have become the badge of the man bursting with testosterone but have none of the cheesy naffness inseparable from other forms of face fungus. The fact is, skinny brows just aren't sexy. Mr Spock may have a certain alien fascination about him, but he was famously uninterested in arousing or experiencing the softer emotions. Real screen sex gods Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Matt Dillon, Jeff Bridges, Sean Connery carry haystacks worth of eyebrow hair. And they're quite right to do so. Male brows, if sufficiently prominent, can actually deputise for other facial features that may be rather less than dramatic. Take a look at Kelly Jones, the Stereophonics' front man. He is broodingly cute, with his deep-set eyes peering out like shy animals from under the thickest of black hedges. But try blanking out the brows and who stares back at you? Mr Potato Head. His eyebrows alone make him adorable; no wonder female fans in Japan fight to be first in the queue to stroke them. Similarly, barely a feminine heart would throb for Pearl Harbour's star Josh Hartnett if his clean-cut Essex Boy profile wasn't surmounted by a magnificent pair of elegantly shaped eyebrows. As for Leonardo DiCaprio, he would be a dead ringer for the Pilsbury Dough Boy were it not for the redeeming feature of his lupine tufts - actually a monobrow, which he assaults regularly to transform it into two separate, elegant curves. In fact, a monobrow would be even sexier: It's been shorthand for dangerously alluring masculinity ever since mothers warned their daughters to avoid a man whose eyebrows meets in the middle, on the grounds that he might be a werewolf. The Gallagher brothers alone would have been sufficient to lend the mono a degree of rock-star glamour. Add the divine Eric Cantona and moody, broody Hugh Grant, and the message is as plain as the nose on your face. Bigger brows just can't beaten.

'Love' is in the air

She's got perfect teeth, a big chest and an even bigger ambition, but is this enough to propel Jennifer Love Hewitt from starlet to superstar?

Why is real life never like it is in the mov ies?'

This adolescent outburst from a 22-year-old woman is bizarre to say the least, especially from one whose accomplishments - as actress, singer and head of her own production company - have secured her a place in Forbes magazine's list of industry movers and shakers for the past two years. Movers and shakers just aren't gigglers and squealers.

It is a poetic coincidence that Jennifer Love Hewitt's friends and family call her by her middle name Love, since she loves lots of things. Almost everything in fact. London is 'just the best place ever'. So's her 'lovely' house in the 'gorgeous' valley in LA that she shares with her mother who is 'the greatest person on the planet'. That's not to mention her brother, who lives with his 'fabulous' wife just two blocks away.

She was recently in London to publicise her new film, Heartbreakers, a comedy in which she and Sigourney Weaver play a mother-daughter con team whose sole purpose is the entrapment of rich men. This was a crucial film for Hewitt since it marked her transition from teen-queen star of the hit slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer to fledgling Hollywood babe. No one is more aware of this than Hewitt herself.

All Hewitt wants is to become a bona fide glossy movie star. She has no interest in grit and realism ('I mean, who wants to see some sweaty, gross-looking person crying on screen for two hours?'). Big smiles and happily ever after is much more her bag. This, after all, is a girl whose everyday existence is like one long sugar-coated American sitcom. Her idea of a perfect night out is a trip to the bowling alley, a Pepsi and a hot-dog, and then home by 10pm for some sweet dreaming in a big white bed. Hardly surprising that her two favourite films are Titanic and My Best Friend's Wedding.

None of this is to say she is lacking in ambition. Quite the contrary: Hewitt has a game plan which does not involve failure. 'I haven't worked as hard as I have to get where I am now just to let it slip away from me,' she insists gently, before launching into one of the slightly bizarre 'Jenniferisms' that she tends to sprinkle over any remotely serious conversations. 'Success', she muses, 'can be very overwhelming because it's kind of like this big fun land.' Noticing how baffled I am, she takes another tack. 'You know when you're a kid and you are desperate for a toy? When you finally get the toy, it would be really easy to slam it around and take it for granted. But you mustn't do that. You must treat it like the prized possession that it is, right? That's why my career is so precious to me; because I have wanted it for as long as I can remember.'

Even as a small child growing up in the tiny Texan town of Killeen, Hewitt had an insatiable appetite for performing. When she was four, she managed to sneak on to the stage of a dance hall where she and her family were enjoying a night out, and squeak out her rendition of Help Me Make it Through the Night to a delighted audience. By the age of 10, she had persuaded her mother to up sticks and take her little darling to LA to find fame and fortune as a singer. Acting, at this stage, didn't enter into the equation. Like her grandmother's third cousin, Patsy Cline, before her, Love was going to wow the world with her tiny lungs. And her devoted mother, Pat, was going to be there every step of the way.

Often it is parental force that drives the wannabe child star, but Hewitt denies that this was the case with her. 'My dad left home when I was two weeks old and my mom married again. She and my stepdad separated when I was 10. When we decided to head off to LA, it was because neither of us had anything keeping us in Texas'. However, even now, some 12 years later, Hewitt barely breathes without her mother knowing about it. 'She's my best friend, my partner in crime and my manager all rolled into one. She knows me better than anyone in the world and comes everywhere with me.'

Although the early stages of her career didn't go exactly to plan, the desired result - getting noticed - was achieved. While the only record deal she managed to secure was with a Japanese company, acting jobs came thick and fast. Within a few months of arriving in LA. Hewitt had been cast in a Disney TV series called Kids Incorporated. Between the ages of 12 and 16, she appeared in seven other series; that all of them sank without trace was not going to deter her. Spurred on by the jealous taunts of her high-school contemporaries, Hewitt just kept on smiling. Then, at 16 she landed the part which made her name: Sarah Reeves in Party of Five. Her high-school graduation was attended by her mother, her brother and People magazine.

When her Party of Five co-star, Neve Campbell, landed her first lead in the spoof horror film Scream, Hewitt was not far behind. I Know What You Did Last Summer was to make its young stars with big names into big names: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. became the talk of Hollywood - for this was the latter half of the Nineties when, off the back of films such as Clueless, the studios were in the midst of a love affair with all things high school and wholesome. Hewitt couldn't have been in a better place at a better time.

Although grateful for the kick-start that the film gave her career, she is under no illusion as to its depth: 'There were so many tight T-shirts that it might as well have been called I Know What Your Breasts Did Last Summer', she shrieks delightedly. So relieved that it is she, not me, who has raised the subject of her chest, I launch into some sort of demented 20 questions. Are they real? 'Absolutely.' Do you love them or hate them? 'I love them.' Has that always been the case? 'No way. I used to feel really self-conscious with these two huge things sticking out of me.' So what changed? 'I dunno, I just woke up one morning and thought, this is kind of great.' Do you think they've helped your career? 'Yes.' Does that worry you? 'Yes.' What are you going to do about it? Try and make sure that my next movie isn't just about low-cut tops, I guess.'

There is one point in Heartbreakers when Hewitt is siting at a bar in a dress with a neckline so low it positively plummets rather than plunges. The camera closes in on her oval face. Brown eyes smouldering and glossed lips parted sensually, Hewitt purrs that she can 'make men do anything'. Watching her performance, you can believe it. Skin-tight dresses aside, she exude a tangible sexuality. A kind of prom queen with a touch of the pornographic about her, she is as much pin-up fantasy as she is girl next door. Somehow you can't imagine Alicia Silverstone or Claire Danes - with whom she is frequently compared - coming first, as Hewitt recently did, in a magazine poll which asked, 'If you had one condom left, which celebrity would you most like to use it with?'

Much has been made in the American press of Hewitt's romantic ups and downs. She is, by her own admission, happier attached than single; a fact which, she thinks, makes the public wrongly assume that she is 'some kind of a tart'. As well as some very public break-ups - from MTV heart-throb Carson Daly and actor Will Friedle - there have been some even more public courtships. Last year, Spanish crooner Enrique (son of Julio) Iglesias serenaded her during one of his concerts. This year, there were rumours from the set of her latest film. The Devil and Daniel Webster, of a less than platonic relationship between Hewitt and her director and co-star, Alec Baldwin. According to numerous sources, much giggling, whispering and passing of notes went on between the young starlet and the 42-year-old Baldwin, who had recently split up with Kim Basinger, his wife of seven years. When I ask her about it, Hewitt's response is straight out of Oprah Winfrey. 'Apparently, I've been sleeping with Alec Baldwin. I mean, like, hello? He's my director!' There is a side of me which wonders if the lady protests too much.

One thing is for sure: Jennifer Love Hewitt is not a girl who likes to be alone. 'I think life is very hard and I don't think we are supposed to do it solo. However much we all try to be independent and make our own decisions, that's not what is supposed to happen. That's why we have lovers and that's why we have moms.' The more time you spend with Hewitt, the more you realise that there is a child stuck inside the curves.' 'I guess I never really had a childhood,' she trills. 'It's just been work, work, work all the way for me!' Unlike the Drew Barrymores of the world, you can't see Hewitt ever letting that showgirl smile crack. 'Well, on to the next,' she chirps when our interview time is up. Then, before I know it, she has thrown her birdlike arms around my neck. As I watch her following her publicist out of the room, chattering all the while, I cannot help but notice that, like the little girl who has been let loose in her mother's wardrobe, Jennifer Love Hewitt's shoes are about two sizes too big.

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