She describes herself as a late bloomer. "I don't think I came into any attractiveness until I was in my late 20s," says Naomi Watts
, 33. "I had a moon face and my mum kept saying, 'Oh, your cheekbones will come,' and finally they arrived." So has she. After spending 15 years on the cusp of fame, in the Australian soap Home and Away
and in little-seen stateside films like 1995's Tank Girl
, Watts blossomed last year as a naive wannabe actress in the Oscar-nominated drama Mulholland Drive
. "Altogether she is pretty fabulous, but she has the most amazing blue eyes—they help her as an actress," says Nicole Kidman
, who took her old high school chum as her date to the August premiere of The Others
. "She's intelligent, funny, beautiful and cute at the same time," says Mulholland
director David Lynch. "She definitely has a presence, but she's not on a strange star trip." Born in England and raised in Australia, the 5'5" former "total tomboy geek," who forced herself to wear a dress to her prom, moved to L.A. in 1991. Over the past six months, "I've become more aware of how I look," says Watts, single since a relationship with director Stephen Hopkins ended last fall. "In Australia people tend to play their looks down, in America people play them up." Hers get tended to with monthly massages and facials, yoga, plenty of sunscreen and vitamin B-12 shots for energy. For keeping cool in the limelight, she meditates and tries "to be someone who lives in the moment." Lately the living is easy. "Everything's wonderful for Naomi now," says Kidman. "She's going to have a massive career."