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Heather Graham: Actress

updated 05/08/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/08/2000 01:00AM

TALK ABOUT A PERCEPTION PROBLEM. AT THE same time that she was considered "geeky" at her high school in Agoura Hills, Calif., near L.A., Heather Graham also made her big-screen debut as a high school babe in the 1988 teen comedy License to Drive. "It was bizarre," recalls Graham, now 30. "In one world I was considered really beautiful, and in the other I was a complete loser." She's in only one world now. Since gliding to prominence as a roller-skating porn star in 1997's Boogie Nights, playing an aspiring actress who succeeds on the casting couch in Bowfinger making Mike Myers's '60s secret agent ram-bunctiously randy as Felicity Shagwell in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Graham's allure has gone astral. "Her face is so angelic, you're sort of drawn in," says Powers director Jay Roach. "And then you realize, 'Oh, she also has this amazing body.' " Adolescent boys—appreciative of the way she moves that body in Lenny Kravitz's 1999 "American Woman" video—have made her a download pinup. Myers, for one, understands their appetite. "Heather is as sweet as pie," he says. "She's honest, talented and yummy." For all the attention, the daughter of a retired FBI agent and a children's book author is estranged from her family over what she has described as a strict, Irish Catholic upbringing. Today the 5'8" actress handles stress with regular yoga sessions. She says that she has only recently discovered the fun of getting dressed up. "I never wore makeup until about a year ago—I've become so girlie," enthuses Graham, before ticking off a list of products now clustered on the bathroom shelves of the Hollywood Hills home she shares with her boyfriend of two years, director (The Brothers McMullen) and actor (Saving Private Ryan) Ed Burns, 32. Among her finds: Laura Mercier's Rose Petal blush and Chanel's Spark lip gloss. She thinks her gray-blue eyes—which Powers's Roach describes as "big luminous planets unto themselves"—are her best feature, but, she adds, "I also like having big boobs, I must say."

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