'Pirates'' Knightley Faces Her Stardom

07/15/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

With last week's successful opening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," one might think the stress of instant success would take its toll on its young heroine, British actress Keira Knightley.

So, when asked by PEOPLE how she's coping with her newfound celebrity, the 18-year-old replied, "I'm not coping!"

Yet from all appearances at Monday night's London premiere, Knightley is handling the pressure pretty well.

The actress -- who also turned heads in the indie hit "Bend It Like Beckham" -- wore a black corset (which any pirate would approve of) with her hair dyed dark to match, and she sported a treasure chest's worth of dazzling Aspery diamond jewelry, estimated to be worth $800,000.

Notably absent from Monday's premiere was "Pirates" star Johnny Depp, 40. But Knightley's other hot costar, "Lord of the Rings'" shaggy-haired Orlando Bloom, 26, created a stir when he showed up wearing a sporty black suit. Much to the delight of his young female fans, he stopped to sign autographs and deliver kisses.

When asked about his status as Hollywood's newest sex symbol, he coyly replied, "I don't know quite what to expect anymore; I just deal with it."

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