Seydoux at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival
|Born||Léa Hélène Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne
1 July 1985
Léa Seydoux (born 1 July 1985) is a French actress and model. She began her acting career in French cinema, coming to attention after she won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Female Revelation and was nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actress for her performance in The Beautiful Person (2008).
Since then, she has appeared in major Hollywood films including Inglorious Basterds (2009), Robin Hood (2010), Midnight in Paris (2011) and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011). She was nominated for the César Award for Best Actress for her role in Farewell, My Queen (2012) and in 2013 she shared the Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival for the film Blue Is the Warmest Colour, alongside director Abdellatif Kechiche and co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos. In 2014, she was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award and she will star in the upcoming films Beauty and the Beast, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Saint Laurent.
Léa Seydoux was born in 1985, the daughter of businessman Henri Seydoux and philanthropist Valérie Schlumberger. She was born in Passy, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris but grew up in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement. She has five younger siblings and an older sister, Camille, who works as her stylist. Seydoux's parents divorced when she was three years old and they were often away, her mother in Africa and her father on business, which, combined with her large family meant that she "felt lost in the crowd... I was very lonely as a kid. Really I always had the feeling I was an orphan." Through her family involvement in media and entertainment, Seydoux grew up acquainted with prominent artists such as photographer Nan Goldin, musicians Lou Reed and Mick Jagger and footwear designer Christian Louboutin. For six years, she went to summer camp in America, at the behest of her father, who wanted her to learn to speak English. She had a strict Protestant upbringing, but she is not religious.
The Seydoux family is widely known in France. Her grandfather, Jérôme Seydoux, is the chairman of Pathé; her granduncle, Nicolas Seydoux, is the chairman of Gaumont Film Company; her other granduncle, Michel Seydoux, also a cinema producer, is currently the chairman of the Lille-based football club Lille OSC; and her father is CEO of the French wireless company Parrot. Despite Seydoux's connections, her family initially took no interest in her film career and didn't help her. As a child, she had no desire to act. She instead wanted to be an opera singer, studying music at the Conservatoire de Paris.
Her mother Valérie Schlumberger is a former actress-turned-philanthropist and the founder of the boutique CSAO (Compagnie d'Afrique du Sénégal et de l'Afrique de l'ouest), which promotes the work of African artists. Seydoux once worked as a model for their jewelery line Jokko. Schlumberger, who lived in Senegal as a teenager, is also the founder of the charitable organizations ASAO (Association pour le Sénégal et l'Afrique de l'Ouest) and Empire des enfants, a centre for homeless children in Dakar, which Seydoux is the "godmother" of.
Seydoux describes her youthful self as short-haired, slightly disheveled, and widely viewed as a bit strange: "People liked me, but I always felt like a misfit." Still concerned for her shyness in adulthood, Seydoux has admitted to having had an anxiety crisis during the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Seydoux says that as a child she wanted to become an opera singer, studying music at the Conservatoire de Paris, but eventually her shyness compelled her to drop the idea. It wasn't until the age of eighteen that she decided to become an actress. One of her friends was an actor and: "I found his life wonderful, I thought, 'Oh my god, you can travel, you’re free, you can do what you want, you’re the boss.'" She then fell in love with an actor and decided to become an actress to impress him. She took acting classes at French drama school Les Enfants Terribles, and in 2007 she took further training at New York's Actors Studio with Corinne Blue.
In 2005, Seydoux appeared in the music video for Raphaël Haroche's single "Ne Partons Pas Fâchés". In the following year, Seydoux played her first major screen role as one of the main characters in Sylvie Ayme's Mes Copines. She starred in Nicolas Klotz's short film La Consolation, which was exhibited in 2007 Cannes Film Festival. In these years, she also did her first work as a model for American Apparel, posing for their Pantytime campaign, and had a role in the films 13 French Street, Une Vielle Maîtresse and Jalouse, le film.
Seydoux first came to attention in 2008, when she appeared in Christophe Honoré's The Beautiful Person, a role that earned her the 2009 Chopard Award from the Cannes Film Festival for "Best Upcoming Actress" and a César Award nomination for Most Promising Actress. In 2009 she had a major part in Jessica Hausner's Lourdes, and a small role in her first Hollywood movie, Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. In 2010 she starred alongside Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, playing Isabella of Angouleme; other 2010 work includes Louis Garrel's Petit Tailleur, and Rebecca Zlotowski's Belle Épine, which earned her a second César nomination of Most Promising Actress.
Seydoux auditioned to play Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but the part ultimately went to actress Rooney Mara. Seydoux recalled in an interview: "I got upset, but I don't think I'd be able to do anything to get that part. It was totally against my nature. I worked hard, but Lisbeth was almost anorexic. I wasn't like that". Seydoux was chosen, however, to play Gabrielle in Midnight in Paris, by Woody Allen, whom she calls one of her favorite directors of all time. There was no casting – Allen was shown pictures of three French actresses and from all he chose Seydoux. In 2011 she participated in another Hollywood production, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, in which she played the killer Sabine Moreau alongside stars Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner.
After Mission: Impossible, Seydoux returned to French cinema, starring in Le Roman de Ma Femme and Roses à Crédit in 2011, and Les Adieux à la Reine and L’enfant d’en haut in 2012. Also in 2012, Seydoux played roles in Blue Is the Warmest Colour by Abdellatif Kechiche, and Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski, both exhibited at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
In 2013, Seydoux was nominated for Best Actress at the 38th César Awards for her role as Sidonie Laborde in Benoît Jacquot's Farewell, My Queen. Later that year at Cannes, Blue Is the Warmest Colour won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and the jury, headed by Steven Spielberg, took the unusual move of awarding the prize not just to the director Abdellatif Kechiche, but also to the film's two stars, Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
In 2014, Seydoux won the Best Actress award at the Prix Lumières for her role in Blue Is the Warmest Colour and Grand Central. She was also nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award, the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress, the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress and Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.
Seydoux co-starred with Vincent Cassel in Beauty and the Beast, a romantic fantasy film directed by Christophe Gans. She will also star in the upcoming films, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Saint Laurent.
In other work as a model (although Seydoux says she doesn't see herself as one), she participated in the Levi's television advert "Dangerous Liaison", and has been seen in several photo editorials, including for Vogue Paris, American Vogue, Numero, W, L'Officiel, CRASH, Another Magazine and W magazine. Seydoux advertised for Prada's 2012 Resort line, and is the face of its 2013 campaign (directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola) for the fragrances Prada Candy and Prada Candy L'Eau. She fronted the 2013 campaign for French jewellery line Didier Dubot and appeared in Rag & bone's Fall 2013 campaign with Michael Pitt. She also appeared in a nude pictorial for French men's magazine Lui. In addition, Seydoux and Blue Is the Warmest Colour co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos were featured in Miu Miu's 2014 Resort ad campaign.
Seydoux has said that the filming of Blue Is the Warmest Colour made her question her sexuality: "Of course I did. Me as a person, as a human being... It's not nothing, making those scenes. Of course I question myself. But, I did not have any revelations." Her boyfriend is "not famous at all".
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- Lea Seydoux’s Prada Candy Perfume Ad, Style Frizz.com
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