05/08/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT
HER MOTHER ONCE HOPED SHE'D BE AN ARCHAEOLOGIST. Chiara herself wouldn't mind being Homer Simpson ("He's the most interesting personality..."). But with her genes, free will was always an illusion: The 22-year-old daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni is naturally an actress and a stunner. "She has a fragile beauty," says makeup artist Thibault Vabre, "a sensual mouth, with the eyes of a child." To hear her tell it, it's lucky the rest of her grew up. "I had braces, and my nose looked like the Elephant Man," says Chiara, whose most visible role to date was as Kim Basinger's assistant in Robert Altman's Ready to Wear. Unattached for now, she's happy to be admired ("It's like someone giving you a flower") but nervous about raising hopes. "I'm photogenic, so a director might call me, but then I'd show up, and he'd say, 'Did you have an appointment? Who are you?' " Not a chance, cherie.