Brooke Shields: Actress

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

originally published 05/08/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

TELLING BROOKE SHIELDS SHE'S BEAUTIFUL USED TO BE A WASTE of time. After all, she has been hearing it since she was the Ivory Snow baby at 11 months. "To have been photographed so much and labeled something, it becomes very distant from you," says Shields, who turns 35 on May 31. Now, says the actress, "I've actually just started hearing it all." After what may have been the rockiest time of her life—last year brought the end of her two-year marriage to tennis ace Andre Agassi, the yanking of her sitcom Suddenly Susan and the suicide of her costar and close friend David Strickland—our Miss Brooke is suddenly on a roll. She recently played a dread-locked documentarian in the buzzed-about indie flick Black and White, and she has a new boyfriend, comedy writer Chris Henchy, 36. What's more, she says, "I feel like I've finally grown into myself, and therefore I can appreciate a sincere compliment." Okay, then let's start with the best eyebrows in the business. "There's something sexy about them," says Gary Sinyor, who directed Shields in last year's The Bachelor. Then there's that 6-ft. frame, "a formidably large structure that's elegantly sculpted and creates a rare and powerful beauty," says Black and White director James Toback. Shields, who spins, cycles, kickboxes and jazz dances several times a week, says that she gets many comments on her long, toned legs. "And my upper body is really strong. I'm not frail in any way. I don't think it would ever be possible for me to be waiflike." Shields eschews diets in favor of eating whatever she likes—in moderation. "Denying myself just makes me want to jam pizza down my face," she says. Austerity doesn't work when it comes to her hair either. She is growing back the "reactionary haircut" she says she got after her painful divorce. "A few bad months and some champagne and I came back with a bob. But I'm happier when it's long." Hey, Brooke, you would look good with a mohawk. And that's a sincere compliment.

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