by andrew c. stone photographs by steve erle| April 1, 2011 |
Elsa Pataky is a one-woman band, hitting all the right notes in a variety of ways—effervescent charm, an infectious passion for moviemaking, approachable smarts and that rare brand of beauty that inspires labored breathing. And if she hadn't just married Thor, we'd be down on one knee, begging the talented bombshell to be ours, all ours.
The 34-year-old Madrid-born, half-Romanian stunner has been building a career for more than a decade and is already a top draw in Spain—though she’s about to go supernova in Fast Five (the latest sequel in the Fast and the Furious franchise).
The onetime journalism student landed her first movie role in the thriller El Arte de Morirand has since appeared in more than 20 films, including Ninette (directed by Oscar winner José Luis Garci), Iznogoud, Manuale d’Amore 2, Snakes on a Planeand Mr. Nice.
In the inevitable blockbuster Fast Five (out April 29), Pataki holds her own opposite Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster. “I love cars, and love speed—I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 16 and have a Ducati—so I was really excited to do this film,” Pataky says.
As a woman of action, Pataky’s role required intense physical preparation—a challenge she dove into without reservation. “We had full-on SWAT training,” she says. “My character is one of the only women among all these guys, and she wants to show that she’s just as strong.”
While she plays Diesel’s love interest, many of her scenes are opposite Johnson, the head of her SWAT unit. “He’s such a big guy and I’m such a tiny girl, so it’s funny to watch us on-screen next to each other,” she laughs.
Life’s been rather action-packed off-camera for Pataky, too. She recently married Thor star Chris Hemsworth, and has been thrown into a whirlwind of publicity for Fast Five’s release. But turning on the glamour is no chore in her mind. “I love fashion,” she enthuses. “It’s the Cinderella story—you do your work, then you dress up in a spectacular dress and go out and celebrate it.”
A peek inside her own closet reveals plenty of Italian. “I’m a person with curves, so I love the Italian designers,” she admits. “Armani’s clothes are so elegant and beautiful, and every time I have a red carpet event, he’s usually my favorite.
Keep your eyes peeled for Pataky in Miami this season, everywhere from Casa Tua to Mr Chow—both of which she adores. “I go all the time,” she says. “Whenever I need a little sun and warm weather, I like to visit my friend Paulina Rubio. Thanks to that great Latin vibe, I really feel like myself down there.” Something tells us she’ll be welcomed with open arms, all over town.
Styling by Danielle Nachmani/starworksartists.com; Hair by Bertrand W./traceymattingly.com; Makeup by Mai Quynh/Mark Cosmetics at The Wall Group; Manicure by Lisa Postma/celestineagency.com; Shot at Siren Studios Hollywood; Produced by Josh Williams/The Sagami Group; Digital services by AI Digital Imagination; Retouched by Rondi Ballard/AI Digital Imagination; Photo assistants: Ted Itamura, Thomas Patton, Luis Rosa