Halle Berry

updated 05/08/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/08/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

TODAYS MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: MAKE Halle Berry, 26, with her delicate bones and café au lait complexion, look horrible. For her role as a crack addict in Losing Isaiah, the makeup folks went the limit. They outfitted her with dark patches on her cheeks, bloodshot eyes, fake pimples and crusty lips. "Damn, you look ugly!" kidded her husband, Atlanta Braves slugger Dave Justice. "Now the illusion of this wife he thinks he has," says an equally amused Berry, "is shot."

The rest of us, though, remain awed. "Her face is so alive," says Isaiah director Stephen Gyllenhaal, "because inside there's such complexity." The 1984 Miss Teen Ohio works hard to bring the inside out. She jets off to spas, follows a low-sugar diet (she's diabetic) and hits a treadmill or stationary bike at least three times a week to keep her 5'6½", 112-lb. frame in shape. Berry also schedules twice-weekly appointments with a cosmetologist for glycolic-acid facials that smooth lines and draw impurities from the skin, because, she says, "onscreen, my face is as big as a Buick." But as she looks to the future, her dedication to beauty doesn't include plastic surgery. "I have to make my looks last as long as I can," she says. "When they're gone, they're gone."

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