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the women of cult television

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sarah michelle gellar kisses - and tells all

1 june • cosmopolitan


sarah's style

Much like the dual role of demon slayer/girl-next-door she plays on TV, Cosmo cover girl Sarah Michelle Gellar has a split-personality sense of style. On days off, her fresh-faced beauty routine is sunscreen, light makeup, and pixie-chick braids. But as the star of the hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a vixenish movie actress, Sarah's required to glam it up on the job. And though she claims she's really a "jeans and sneakers girl," party paparazzi shots - and her Cosmo cover photo - reveal that she's equally at home in sexy designer dresses. Pair that with her oft-changing hair colour (blonde on Buffy, brown as Kathryn in the recent hit Cruel Intentions, and red on occasions) and it's clear that Sarah's style is impossible to predict.

Have you ever worn something really out of character for a role?

On Buffy I wore a wedding dress that was really frou-frou and had a big tulle skirt. I've always wanted to elope, so this dress was unlike anything I would ever wear, but it was fun to try on that look.

Of all hair colours you've tried, are there any you regret?

Ugh, I dyed my hair purple once with a do-it-yourself rinse and then went out to a party that night. It poured rain and the purple dripped off my hair, so I had uneven hair colour and purple dye all over my white shirt.

Have you learned any great makeup tricks on the set?

Yes. I have round cheeks - I look like a chipmunk storing walnuts for winter - but with a little dark blush in the middle, brush outward, I can thin them out.

Who are your favourite designers?

I have so many. To me, Vera Wang is just the ultimate in style and grace. But I love Pamela Dennis, Calvin Klein, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana - I just love clothing!

What do you do to keep in shape?

I work out with a personal trainer and I do yoga. I'm very careful about what I eat, but I don't deny myself things I really want - like spicy tuna rice biscuits from my favourite sushi restaurant.

sarah michelle gellar vamps it up

There's more to Sarah than Buffy. She open up about her short childhood, her bright future, and what it's really like to kiss a girl.

Unlike most of us, Sarah Michelle Gellar already knows exactly how she plans to ring in the millennium. "I'll be in Australia with a group of friends," she says over lunch at a sun-drenched L.A. pasta place. "We're going to start at the Great Barrier Reef and work our way down to Gold Coast, scuba diving and going through the rain forests." She looks up over her sunglasses and serves up a playful smirk. "You didn't expect me to have an answer for that one, did you?"

Not really, but then again anyone who has managed to get where Gellar is at age 22 must be something of a go-getter. Not only is she the star of her own TV series, the increasingly popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but her movie career is in high gear as well, thanks to hits like Scream 2 and Cruel Intentions. she's also just signed to be a spokeswoman for Maybelline, a perfect choice considering that she's the epitome of young, fun, and natural, sporting jeans and braids. "Hey, I have on two rubber bands that match," she boasts, gesturing to her girlish pigtails. "I had a pink and a green one on this morning."

the gellar girls

Gellar's journey to the glam star life began when she was just 4 years old. She was discovered in a Manhattan restaurant by a talent agent who thought she was cute. Her first offers were for commercials, but in no time, she was cast in a TV movie called An Invasion of Privacy.

Supporting her every move was Gellar's mother, Rosellen, a teacher who raised her daughter in an apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side. "Everything I am is because of my mom," Gellar says of the woman who shuttled her between auditions, jobs, and school. "She's so cute too. She still cuts out little articles from local papers and brings them to me." Gellar is much less effusive about her father, who divorced her mother when Gellar was 7, describing him as "nonexistent" in her life. Pressed to elaborate, she borrows Keanu Reeves' line in Parenthood: "You need a license to go fishing, you need a license to drive, but any butt-reaming asshole can be a father."

So it was the Gellar women against the world. They were soon on the road to conquering it, with lots of jobs for Gellar. Still, balancing her career, school, and a social life wasn't always easy. In seventh grade, when most preteens are bugging their parents for a bigger allowance, Gellar suffered what she calls her biggest devastation when the touring play that was to have been her Broadway debut, Neil Simon's Jake's Women, closed before making it to New York City. When she returned to her school friends, nobody would talk to her - taking off six months in seventh grade can wreak havoc on your social life.

High school was a better experience for Gellar, once she settled on the right one. "I started out at LaGuardia," she explains, referring to the Manhattan-based Fame School of the Arts, "and I hated that school. I got beat up pretty much every day and the education wasn't that good. I left and went to Professional Children's School, which I loved."

An overachiever even then, Gellar was a straight-A student, but that didn't keep her from having fun. "Making out in parks is a very big thing to do in high school when you grow up in New York City," she reveals. "There was a playground right near by house and the swings saw a lot of action from me."

Not that she wasn't getting plenty of action on-screen at about the same time, playing the conniving Kendall Hart - a character seven years older than she was - on the daytime soap All My Children. "That was definitely head-trippy to be 16 and have these love scenes with a man old enough to be my father. I mean, I was married twice [on the show] and I hadn't even graduated from high school yet."

getting "buffy"

After finishing high school and amid rumours that she clashed with her TV mom Susan Lucci, Gellar left All My Children to pursue bigger and better things in Hollywood. But even with a daytime Emmy under her arm, she found the doors didn't exactly fly open. "You can be very, very famous in the soap world, as I call it, and nobody knows who you are," explains Gellar, who promised her mother that if she didn't find work within a year, she'd start applying to colleges. "Up until the day I got Buffy, casting directors were still saying, 'Oh, she's not ready; she's too green; she's too soap.'"

Though now it's impossible to imagine anyone else as Buffy, at the time Gellar had to jump through hoops to land the part. "On my last audition, I went in and tested. When I came out, they said, 'We need you to read one more time,' and I just broke down and cried," Gellar recalls. "I said, 'I can't do this. You guys are wrecking me.' The casting director basically dragged me back in and everybody started laughing and said, 'Congratulations, you got the role.' Meanwhile, I was still crying and snivelling."

As an fan can tell you, the role is a perfect fit. "Buffy's very similar to me when I was growing up," Gellar says, "a child in an adult world, sort of trapped between the two. Does Buffy go to the prom or does she save the world from demons? My life was similar - do I go to the slumber party or do I go to my audition?"

boob jobs and kissing girlfriends

Beyond keeping Gellar in the spotlight, on the cover of magazines, and with plenty of loose change for shopping here and there, Gellar's success on Buffy has also been her ticket to movie roles. Her track record thus far is heavier on hits than misses, although she was brutally offed in both her '97 releases: Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer. "Jennifer Love Hewitt and I like to refer to that as I Know What Your Breasts Did Last Summer," she says, joking about the fact that she and her costar spent most of the movie bounding about in skimpy tank tops. "I hated the friend food in North Carolina, where we shot, so I barely ate and I lost an entire cup size. At the end of the shoot, I had to match a scene from the beginning, and I had to wear these silicone squishy thingies, all pushed in and taped to fill me up."

Gellar did without the squishy thingies in her two '99 releases, though the first one, the romantic comedy called Simply Irresistible, could have used a boost or two. It seemed to vanish from multiplexes as soon as it arrived.

She fared much better in Cruel Intentions, the shockingly naughty teenage reworking of Dangerous Liaisons in which Gellar turned her Buffy image on its head, playing a coke-snorting she-devil named Kathryn who promises her studly stepbrother that if he succeeds in deflowering the new virgin in town, she'll let him "put it anywhere." Gellar says playing the privileged Kathryn wasn't a huge stretch, since almost all the kids Gellar went to junior high school with in Manhattan had far more money and far less supervision than she did. "I remember all the girls worse these expensive Betsey Johnson dresses," she recalls, "and I couldn't afford them new, so I always bought last season's in the $5 bins. When I got All My Children, I went out and I bought two dresses from the brand-new section - I was so excited."

Cruel Intentions also served up Gellar's first girl-on-girl kiss, with Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane star Selma Blair. "I kept thinking, I have had to kiss guys that I don't want to kiss. At least Selma is a friend and I know where she's been," laughs Gellar. "After, Selma said, 'I was nervous that you would think I was a bad kisser.' I said, 'You weren't nervous about the kiss itself?' She said, 'No. I was just afraid you'd think I suck.'"

boys and barbells

As for her offscreen love scenes, Gellar says she's doing her share of dating but isn't about to settle down. "People says, 'Why aren't you in a serious relationship?'" she scoffs. "Hey, I'm 22 years old. This is my time to have fun." She's notoriously tight-lipped about the identity of her mystery dates, although she's been linked in the tabs to the likes of her Scream 2 costar Jerry O'Connell and Matthew Perry. She explains that she's learned from watching role-model stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Sandra Bullock that it's better not to kiss and tell in Hollywood.

Gellar claims she's not much of a schemer when it comes to romance, but she's been known to create a little mystery by telling her would-be suitors that the flowers on her table are from "a friend" when they're actually from her agent. And she will admit to getting romantic with fellow actors, though she says it's not her ideal situation. "I have a tendency to gravitate toward people who aren't in the business," she says, "and it's hard now because I don't really meet that many people who aren't in the business."

She did meet a new gym buddy recently, though: Shaquille O'Neal. "He's my workout boyfriend," she says proudly. "He spots me every once in a while." And what words of encouragement does the basketball superstar offer when Buffy's pumping iron? Go for the burn? Pump it up? "He says, 'That's it?'" Gellar says while bursting into laughter over the small amounts she lifts.

Though pumping iron with Shaq was not the social highlight of Sarah's year, it might have been close. "If anything, I've become more of a homebody lately," admits Gellar. She's not alone, for it seems that many of her peers, like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Melissa Joan Hart, are also squeaky clean show-biz veterans who have worked their entire lives to get where they aer and are not about to jeopardise it with some Christian Slater-style bad behaviour.

"I think Hollywood's giving the success to the people who can handle it," figures Gellar, who missed the New York premiere of Cruel Intentions because she was needed at Buffy. "There's a lot of sacrifice and hard work that comes with it."

Luckily, her summer break is right around the corner. back to the top