From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
Pretty woeful. That about sums up the volatile-vulnerable character Ward plays on Sisters, NBC's weekly hour of sauna riffs and sibling ribaldry. Hers is just the latest version of TV's beloved gorgeous bad girl, but Ward, 35, overcomes the stereotype with her dark, swan-necked beauty—does anyone look better frowning?

Ward prepped for her role by growing up with three sibs in real life. In addition, she says, "God gave me a gift in terms of being an attractive woman. How's that for diplomacy?" Not needed: She was voted most beautiful at Meridien (Miss.) High School and homecoming queen at the University of Alabama, then modeled for six years before taking up acting. Yet, says costar Patricia Kalember, "I don't see her running to makeup all the time."

In fact, Ward, who feels "being attractive is a double-edged sword," works out daily, Retin-A's her complexion thrice weekly and indulges in a monthly facial. "My life is so fast-paced that I'm really good at being good to myself," says Ward, who weds L.A. restaurateur Howard Sherman, 37, this month. "I've never forgotten this guy in high school who said, 'When I look at you, I think of a long-stemmed rose.' " With a talent for playing thorny women.