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Now in her 50s, Hollywood actress Andie Mac Dowell has been the iconic face of one of the world’s top cosmetics brands for more than two decades.
Fantasies are something of a professional specialty.
Over chai tea at Café Vardo, a Gypsy/vegetarian coffee shop and bar next to her favorite yoga place in Venice, California, Mac Dowell confirms qualities she has always brought to movies.
Her manner is composed, her posture high in the saddle, and she combats any impression of aloofness this might leave with waves of genteel chattiness. In L'Oréal hair color commercials, Mac Dowell's hair is invariably straight, long, and impossibly liquid, but in real life it's thick and ringlety, and sometimes as she talks a lock of it falls across her face and over those eyes. The fantasy under discussion all began, she tells me, this spring with a L'Oréal stylist, or really with the clothes he was dressing her in for the shoot that day.
Her eyes are not afraid of contact; it probably says "brown" on her license, but the color is closer to blood orange, enhanced today by smoky eye shadow and the occasional squint against the L. For one look he gave her a bra and a pair of heels and a loose shirt Mac Dowell called "kind of sexy." Since Mac Dowell, a native of Gaffney, South Carolina, cultivates a Dixie tendency toward euphemism and understatement, it's probably safe to say the outfit looked blatantly lascivious. "She proceeds to pose on a stool the way she did that day in Paris: back arched, legs spread, arms out, more Bond Girl than Southern Belle.
Except for the café waitress and a couple speaking German in the corner, we're the only people in the place, so she reenacts the scene."Okay, darling," the stylist said."This is it? And what exactly was she doing in her mind at that point?
"In my fantasy" — and since she is a movie star, it turned almost immediately into a movie pitch — "I would get into elevators, those old-fashioned, really beautiful ones in Paris, and start hitting on men — any man that I could get in the elevator alone with. And as soon as the doors would open, it would be over." The movie in her head was European and feature-length, like something Charlotte Rampling, one of her heroes, might do.
It didn't matter what they looked like or how old they were. But then she recounted it to Erica Dasher, her co-star in on ABC Family — Mac Dowell plays Gray Chandler Murray, the Miranda Priestley–like boss of the teenage title character, played by Dasher — and the 24-year-old wanted to turn it into a short.Mac Dowell laughs at the difference in the younger woman's fantasy."Anyway, I think the look must have been too risqué to put in the commercial," she confides, delighted, even months later visibly revivified by the fact that they were dressing her, a woman of 54, in such a sexy way."I'm so shocked when a fashion director feels comfortable making me look like that.I actually thought it was a blast."Mac Dowell has become a philosopher of both sex and the lack of it lately.She's twice divorced, first in 1999, after a 13-year marriage to former model Paul Qualley, the father of her three children, Justin, Rainey, and Margaret, all born in the late '80s and early '90s, during the peak of her box office marketability.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating