"You can look at her one moment and you see an all-American girl from the San Fernando Valley," says Alan Parker of the woman he directed in Come See the Paradise
. "Then, if you blink suddenly, you see a very sophisticated Japanese woman. Off set, she's just fun. Yet she has a sort of patrician dignity onscreen." Parker isn't seeing double. Tomita was born in Okinawa (to a Japanese-Filipino mother and a Japanese-American father) and raised in Los Angeles. She plays down what Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, her Karate Kid II
costar, calls her "natural sparkle." "I guess I have the ability to transform into something," she ventures, "but that's with a lot of aid. I'm just an average little schmo. But I look in the mirror and I go, 'All right, you're doing okay.' " Tomita, who says she is seeing "someone very special," enjoys exercise and usually eats "healthier" foods. "But sometimes I'll go for the dessert before the meal," she confesses. "If Pm going to commit a sin, I might as well do it first thing."