05/08/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT
HER SMILE MAY LIGHT UP TELEVISION AND MOVIE screens today, but as a kid in Guelph, Ont., Neve Campbell's teeth used to make her want to Scream
. "I had this one really crooked tooth and these really big front teeth, and we could only afford braces for my brother [Christian, 27, now an actor]," Campbell, 26, recalls. "I was really upset about that." A family friend tried to comfort her by saying that one day when she became famous, the imperfection would give her character. How true. Whether playing confused coed Julia on Party of Five
or the stalked Sidney in the Scream
movies, the brown-eyed Campbell has taken center stage with her unconventional good looks. "She's tough and she's delicate at the same time," says Scream 3
costar Scott Foley, 27. For castmate Patrick Dempsey
, 34, there's something in the way she moves: "You can see that she's a dancer. Her whole body is alive," Indeed, Campbell—whose parents, Marnie, 48, a yoga instructor, and Gerry, 50, a high school drama teacher, split up when she was an infant—enrolled at Canada's National Ballet School at 9 and only traded dancing for acting at 17. These days she keeps her 5'5½" frame lean with ballet and Pilates sessions at her home studio and with a low-carb diet and "lots of salads"—despite the occasional oatmeal raisin cookies and coffee ice cream. Sweet (and crooked) tooth aside, her main flaw, Campbell insists, is "my cowlicks! The hair people always say, This is impossible.' If they have a hard time with it, can you imagine me doing it?" Which helps explain why her beauty regimen is so low maintenance. "If I go out, I'll make an effort and put on heels. Sometimes I'll use Shiseido powder or my MAC. Mocha lipstick," says Campbell, who is divorced from Canadian actor Jeff Colt and has been spotted palling around with actor John Cu-sack, 33. "But around the house, I just wear pajamas, a housecoat and jogging pants," She does have one cool beauty tip, though. If your face feels partied-out and puffy, 'dunk your head in a bowl of ice," she says. "I'm serious!"