Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

Monica Bellucci is synonymous with Italian beauty. Having been scouted as a teenager, she made her name modelling for Dolce & Gabbana and other major fashion brands, but came to global attention as an actor. She was nominated for a César (the French Oscars) for her role in 1996’s The Apartment, on the set of which she met Vincent Cassel, to whom she was married for 14 years. She was also a Bond girl in 2015’s Spectre. This year, the 55-year-old icon made her theatre debut as famed soprano Maria Callas in Lettres Et Mémoires De Maria Callas in Paris.

Beautiful Beginnings
Most girls have their first experience of make-up in their teens, but Monica was an early adopter. ‘I loved make-up right from being a very young child,’ she says. ‘It was always around me. My mother, my aunt and my grandmother all used mascara, lipstick, foundation.

‘My daughters also have a real instinct for it,’ she says. Monica has two girls from her marriage to Vincent Cassel – Léonie, nine, and 15-year-old Deva, who now has a Dolce & Gabbana campaign of her own, as face of the Dolce Shine fragrance.

‘Make-up gives life to your fantasies,’ says Monica. ‘It has the power to take you to other worlds. It’s an amazing way to escape and give life to your dreams. Just this weekend my house was filled with five children, boys and girls, all wearing dresses and make-up. They used it to perform a play. Make-up allows them to invent characters.’

Use It Well
With many years of experience in make-up artists’ chairs, it’s no surprise that Monica knows what she likes. ‘I feel at my most comfortable when I have some brownish make-up around my eyes, some mascara and a very natural-look lipstick. I feel completely myself like that. If I push it further and make things more glamorous for a special occasion, I’ll make my eyes a lot darker but keep my lips natural, or I’ll wear a red lipstick. It really depends on how I feel.’ Though Monica reveals she wears make-up most days, she cites a bare face as an intrinsic tool on screen. ‘A lack of make-up gives more of a depth to characters in films. A bare face is real, raw and helps to show a fragile side, I think.’

Italian Beauty
‘For me, Italian beauty is a real mix of modernity and sensuality. Italian women possess a great deal of drama in their eyes, they’re actually used to speaking more with their eyes than with their words.’ Monica laughs knowingly. ‘There is always a lot of drama there. I picked up on that watching the actresses who inspired me: the Italian leading ladies, Gina Lollobrigida, Monica Vitti, Sophia Loren. Even though they were all very different women, they had an attitude in common. Even when they were just 25, they looked older in some way. There was something tragic behind their eyes that went far beyond their years.’

La Dolce Vita
The close relationship Monica has with renowned fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has been a constant throughout the actor’s career. ‘I did one of my first fashion shows with them aged 25. At that time, there was no such thing as a supermodel. I travelled the world with them and the relationship evolved into a true friendship.’

Dolce & Gabbana launched a make-up line in 2009, and today it’s their long-time poster girl who fronts the campaign. ‘It’s so interesting that they thought to bring in a woman of my age for it,’ says Monica. ‘Today’s modern woman represents a new way to be, compared to our mothers and grandmothers. It’s not about age any more, things are so different, it’s all about how you feel.’

Taking A Moment
‘I love Pilates, to swim, to simply take a nice bath and go to a good spa. Indulging in some time for yourself is important. Baths are such an easy way to do that. I put whatever I want in there, I try everything, and I always finish with a really cold shower straight afterwards. It makes you feel amazing.’ Monica’s seductive Italian lilt is enough to sell you on anything, even a cold shower (nearly), and the way she describes her favourite scent is no exception. ‘I love the smell of vanilla. It makes me think of holding my children close when they were little, the smell of their heads, it’s such a wonderful memory for me.’

A Sense Of Self
Monica cites the women in her life when she was growing up as her most important role models. ‘My two grandmothers were very important to me. They were strong, yet feminine, and gave so much to their families. They’re such an example to me.’ Has she always been this self-assured? ‘I think that there is a moment in life when something wakes up inside you. Someone once told me that the most important journey in our lifetime will always be that which we make inside ourselves. I love that sentiment. It is a difficult journey for some people, but it truly means something, to find oneself.’

Leave a Reply