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Scarlett Johannson on the art of being a muse

From Monita Rajpal, CNN
October 1, 2011 -- Updated 1041 GMT (1841 HKT)
Actress Scarlett Johansson dazzled audiences with old Hollywood glamor at this year's Milan Fashion Week
Actress Scarlett Johansson dazzled audiences with old Hollywood glamor at this year's Milan Fashion Week
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Scarlett Johansson wowed audiences in Milan as face of Dolce & Gabbana
  • The actress was clad in pale pink lace with 1920s-style hair
  • She talks exclusively to CNN about her role as muse to design duo

Milan, Italy (CNN) -- In a pastel pink lace dress, blonde hair bobbed and crimped, skin pale apart from a flash of ruby red lipstick, Scarlett Johansson bought a touch of old Hollywood glamor to Milan fashion week this year.

The "Lost in Translation" star sat front row during Dolce & Gabbana's spring/summer 2012 womenswear show. She has been the designers' muse since 2009 when the duo launched their makeup line.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, the 26-year-old actress opens up about the pressure she feels to maintain an "otherworldly idea of perfection" in an image-conscious industry, and explains how she divides her public and private persona.

CNN: What has it meant for you being the muse for Dolce & Gabbana?

Scarlett Johansson: Ever since I've had the curves enough to fit into their dresses, I've been wearing their stuff, and when I was approached to be the face of their makeup line, it felt like a very natural fit.

It's also very exciting for me to collaborate with the designers on the look of the campaign and to create this image of an independent, contemporary woman. The idea of this Golden Age of Hollywood glamor that the boys love, I love it too. I think we have the same mentality ... the same sort of aesthetic.

CNN: What is your personal involvement in the collaboration?

There is pressure there for anyone who is being constantly photographed
Scarlett Johansson, actress

SJ: When we first introduced the line, the idea was of a silver screen siren -- you know, a little bit removed, uber-glamorous and just very chic and untouchable in a way -- the real kind of movie-star look.

Now for this last collection, I think we all agree that it would be nice to make it a little more relate-able. So the image of the brand is now a bit more intimate -- there's more of a playfulness with the camera.

We like to bounce around with ideas like that, which is fun for me because it feels like I'm creating this character, this mini film.

CNN: What do you think it is about you that D&G were attracted to?

SJ: It's hard to have a perspective on that kind of thing, but I've always really celebrated my own femininity. I'm a curvy girl, I'm not trying to fit into the mold of the modern aesthetic and maybe they appreciated that.

I think Stefano (Gabbana) and Domenico (Dolce) both love really strong women -- voluptuous women like Monica Bellucci -- and maybe that's why they chose me -- for my curves, for my winning personality!

CNN: When you are an ambassador for the brand, are you Scarlett Johansson the actress or are you yourself?

SJ: Representing Dolce I feel I represent Dolce women. I'm not necessarily myself as the actor or myself, myself. But really I've worked with Stefano and Domenico to create the idea of their ideal women and how they imagine this character to be. I guess it's more a character than anything else.

CNN: Do you feel an extra pressure to look perfect given that you're working in such an image conscious industry?

SJ: Definitely. I think that everybody in this industry feels pressure to look a certain way. For me I've always believed in a healthy lifestyle. I don't believe in extremes. I think you can enjoy your life and also be healthy and active and have a balance.

There is pressure there for anyone who is being constantly photographed and always being judged. You feel the pressure that the media places particularly on young women, but also on men, to be this otherworldly idea of perfection, which is, of course, impossible.

But I've never really catered to that. I know when I feel good, I know when I look good and you need to have a balance.

CNN: Is there an ideal woman in your mind?

SJ: Personally I don't have an ideal woman in my mind. Women come in many shapes and sizes and colors and thank goodness for that. There's someone for everyone and I don't discriminate.

For me I think the sexiest thing about men and women in general is confidence. If somebody is confident in themselves, that for me is an attractive quality.

CNN: For young women that admire you and the way you look, what would you want them to know about Scarlett Johansson?

SJ: I don't know ... I'm still figuring that out! What I've always said to young people that I've met and that are interested in getting involved in this industry -- and I constantly do this -- is check in with myself and make sure that I'm making active choices and that the decision is never being made for me.

Whether that's to do with my personal life, the projects that I'm working on or what I spend my time doing, I think it's important to be self aware and make active choices. Be decisive.

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