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Elettra Complex

Elettra Complex

Elettra, granddaughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini, daughter of Isabella Rossellini, did not choose to be an actress. She is a model with angel’s eyes, and now the newest face of Lancôme. Born with the elegance of a magnificent actress and the extraordinary talent of the Italian founder of cinematic neo-realism, Elettra chose not to project her natural talents on screen like her mother, but to utilize her charisma on the runway.

Granddaughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini, and daughter of Isabella Rossellini; brown-eyed, blonde-haired with a sense of Audrey Hepburn purity; she is an angel among us earthlings, by the name of Elettra Rossellini.

Elettra was born in New York in 1983, and is naturally gifted with a svelte body and a delicate face. Upon closer inspection, she appears charismatic and refined; and in a momentary gaze, you can see a semblance of her grandmother – enchanting and ethereal, sublime and kind.

2007 began lucky for us and gave us the chance to meet the enigmatic model universally regarded as a star of hope. Whether on the runway or in daily life, Elettra exudes glamour. Her talents can be gleaned from the list of famous photographers she has worked with: Ellen von Unwerth, Bruce Weber, Nathaniel Goldberg, Pamela Hanson, Robert Erdmann and Fabrizzio Ferri. In front of the camera, her graceful posture is confident, the pairing of a dotted low-cut top and jeans shows her innocent down-to-earth side; while the black slim fit suit and skinny jeans perfectly outlines her graceful stature.

Like her mother Isabella Rossellini, the thought of being a model did not seem a priority; yet she could not deny her destiny with the catwalk. True to what was stated by a British media critic- “when you have Ingrid Bergman as your grandmother and Isabella Rossellini as your mother, you certainly would inherit everything that a model should have.” At the age of 15, a clear-sighted relative gave her an opportunity and soon after Elettra’s angelic face was on print – a fashion shoot for German Vogue, and further for magazines like American Vogue, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Ten and Harper’s Bazaar. And in 2003, Elettra set foot on the runway for the first time.

Before she began working for brands like Alberta Ferretti, Bill Blass and Diane von Furstenberg, her slender frame could only be seen in a university in Manhattan, where she studied politics, history and economics. Although born to a family of performers, she remains devoted to these subjects and has never received any training in stage performance. However, the sense of fashion lives in her blood. Whilst eagerly awaiting her summer vacation, Lancôme invited her to model for their print advertisement; and soon after she went back to her life, and volunteered at an Elephant Conservation Center in Thailand, fulfilling her passion for environmental protectionism.

An environmentalist, a model and a world traveler, whoever she is, Elettra’s youthful liveliness and unique charm remain. In September 2006, Elettra replaced her mother (whose tenure lasted 14 years) as Lancôme spokesperson and became the new muse for the brand. Elettra was excited about this and recalled, “When I was little I always opened the drawer in my mother’s room and had fun with her cosmetics. At that time, she was the spokesperson of Tresor, a perfume brand, and she had various kinds of cosmetics and perfumes! To a kid like me all these things were wonderful magic. I remember how I kept playing with them and pretending to be a makeup artist.”

Impressively, Elettra speaks fluent English, Italian and French. She says that, “The greatest thing about my job is being able to travel to places all around the world so that I can visit different cities and know more about their different cultures.’ In her leisure time, she enjoys exercises and practices yoga to keep fit. Her friend calls her “energetic, cheerful and curious to everything. She is concerned about society, and has countless hobbies.”  Apart from all that, she also loves to cook: “I am good at making pasta and chicken, yet there are times that I make them bad!”

Will Elettra be on the screen one day? Her mother Isabella remains weary of this and expressed: “I am a daughter of a movie star; and Elettra is the daughter of me and the granddaughter of Ingrid Bergman. This gives her double the pressure and burden which is too unbearable.” Elettra herself believes so too. After a shooting for a two-minute commercial for Lamarthe, she was told: “You are perfect in front of the camera. Will you follow the road of your mother’s and become an actress?” She answered, “Of course not! I enjoyed the process of this shoot, even though it is only for two minutes. Yet for a movie, I am not interested at all. When I was little I always went with my mother to her movie shoots and they always took such a long time to finish.”

Perhaps thousands of fans look forward to her being on the screen and re-interpreting the ice-cold elegance of Ingrid Bergman. But be tentative and think, if that was Elettra who was cast in famous movies like Casablanca, Dean Edward and Gaslight, how would the scene look? Could she exactly bring out grace the way Ingrid Bergman did? Alternatively, could she bring a brand new kind of freshness and glamour to these classical films? Nevertheless, there is one thing that would surely happen if she showed up on the screen: people would unscrupulously compare her to her grandmother, or to her mother Isabella… and just as her mother knows best, it would certainly give Elettra unbearable pressure. But we can all hope.

Text: Duscher Tang
English translation: Ren Wan
Photography: Gilles-Marie Zimmermann

Published in Issue 20 ITALIA, 2007