Penelope Cruz’s Vogue pictorial: her prettiest photo shoot ever?

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As we previewed a few weeks ago, Penelope Cruz is the cover girl for the June issue of Vogue (American), all to promote her work in Pirates of Caribbean 4. Now that I’m seeing the higher-quality images from the shoot, I have to say… this is one of Penelope’s best photo shoots ever. And one of Mario Testino’s best shoots too. Testino can often photograph people to look too glitzy, too sparkly, not accessible enough, but on rare occasions – like with Princess Diana, and here with Penelope – he just makes them look “realer” than they’ve ever looked.

In the interview with Penelope, she sounds at times funny, and at times kind of gushy and sweet. She talks a little bit about her son Leonardo and what it’s like to be a first-time mom. The full Vogue interview is here, the slideshow is here, and here are some highlights:

Before Penelope was famous and after she moved to LA: When Cruz first moved to Los Angeles, she spoke little English and lived in a tiny hotel room she shared only with cats. Cats, plural. “I was very lonely,” she says. “I would find cats in the street and take them with me. I raised a lot of cats in that period.” The cats all found nice homes, Cruz assures me in a way that recalls those end-of-film disclaimers (no animals were harmed during the making of Penélope Cruz).

Penélope Cruz adores karaoke. She adores it the way a first-grader adores a golden-retriever puppy—in an unself-conscious, non-ironic way. She will sing “Hollaback Girl,” by Gwen Stefani, and, if she is so compelled, “Without Me,” by Eminem. (Opening lyrics: “Two trailer-park girls go round the outside/Round the outside/Round the outside.”) Karaoke is a non-negotiable part of the Penélope Cruz experience. “I’ve gone to karaoke bars in almost every city I have been to,” she says. “Every time I am on a movie location, we find a karaoke bar and take the crew.”

Cruz does not put on airs. She is an Oscar winner who can obsess over the films of the mid–twentieth century Italian actress Anna Magnani (The Rose Tattoo) but also appreciates Lady Gaga (“She’s invented something that feels very fresh”). She’s an Oscar winner who has befriended Bono but also enjoys the high camp of Glee (especially when Bardem filmed a guest spot on the TV musical). She’s an Oscar winner who confesses to a history of roller-skating and the fact that she doesn’t drive a car, even in L.A.
“I only drive in movies,” she says, laughing. “I know that’s very weird to hear for an American. I have a weird relationship with it. I know how to drive, but I never went to take the test.”

Post-Oscar ritual: [After the night she won her Oscar], she headed over to In-N-Out Burger, still wrapped in her vintage white Balmain gown. “You have to remove the tight dress to eat a Double Double monster cheeseburger with everything on it,” she says.The post-Oscar In-N-Out burger has become a ritual. It’s happened after each of her nominations—the hungry Spanish bombshell at the drive-through. But this February, after Cruz accompanied Bardem to the Kodak Theatre in support of his Best Actor nomination for Biutiful, there was no burger run. “We had something more important to do,” Cruz says, smiling. “We had to go home to the baby.”

Being pregnant on the set of POTC 4: “I was pregnant and a pirate,” Cruz says. “A beautiful experience.”

Penelope cries when asked how motherhood has changed her: “One second,” she says. She dips her head and dabs at her face. I fear I am about to be removed from the hotel, forever banned for making Penélope Cruz cry. But now she is laughing and crying at the same time. “This has never happened to me,” she says. “This is really funny. I’m sorry. It’s unexpected.” To date, Cruz hasn’t talked at all about her son in public. But it’s clear his impact is profound. “From the first second, you feel so much love,” she says. “It is a revolutionary experience. That’s the best way I can describe it. It transforms you completely, in a second. Nature is very wise and gives you nine months to prepare, but in that moment—when you see that face, you are transformed forever.” She is not trying to wipe away the tears now. She rolls with it. It’s an unabashed, blissful cryfest. “Even if you have heard from all your friends and family, ‘This is what’s going to happen,’ until it happens to you, it’s hard to understand in your soul,” Cruz says.

Shielding Leonardo from the press: A day later, Leonardo is present during a photo shoot, cooing gently with the nanny while Cruz poses a few feet away outside. Cruz is very careful about unlocking the door on her new family. Never one to disclose personal details—in the past, queries about boyfriends real and rumored were brushed away like houseflies—she is vigilant about her son. “I want my son—and my kids if I have more—to grow up in a way that is as anonymous as possible,” Cruz says. “The fact that his father and I have chosen to do the work that we do doesn’t give anybody the right to invade our privacy.”

[From Vogue]

Aw, I liked the cryfest. That was sweet. Probably a great deal of post-partum hormones too. I love the idea of Penelope doing karaoke too – her accent is so thick, I’m sure the other people are like “What’s she singing again?”

More beautiful photos:

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Photos courtesy of Mario Testino/VOGUE, slideshow here.

 

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43 Responses to “Penelope Cruz’s Vogue pictorial: her prettiest photo shoot ever?”

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  1. Slim Charles says:

    Lovely photos. Love the freckles.

  2. Solveig says:

    I like those pics, the lights, the style, that bucolic vibe. But the girl on the cover doesn’t look like Penelope at all. Testino’s recent photos are usually too much photoshopped, and those ones aren’t an exception.
    Nice interview too.

  3. Peachy says:

    Wow – she’s gorgeous up close! I love the freckles too, and her big doe eyes.

  4. Kaye says:

    @ Solveig I agree. I would never have identified that cover photo as Penelope Cruz. She looks beautiful in all these pictures, of course.

  5. bros says:

    way too much photoshop. she has noticeable crows feet that are completely missing from this shoot, and its readily apparent in light of the hi-res and closeups of her in cannes this week, where she still looks fine and pretty, but not 20 years old like she does on the cover here. thats just annoying to me to have to be presented with this much photoshop when she’s been photographed so much this week.

  6. sapphire says:

    Love the freckles. Fresh, beautiful.

  7. girl says:

    I like the freckles too. She is just gorgeous.

  8. RHONYC says:

    i don’t know if it’s the lactating, the hormones, or the birth itself, but since having that baby Penelope has become simply gorgeous!

    like seriously, radiantly beautiful!

    her body is banging & she even looks younger too!

    marvelous. :mrgreen:

  9. Ell says:

    Penelope’s looks seem to get better with age, amazing.

    I’ve just read the whole article with her accent in my head:)

  10. K-MAC says:

    love the freckles….God, she is gorgeous!

  11. Lynda says:

    really nice, unusual beauty.

  12. Gwen says:

    A shame with all the photoshop but she looks beautiful just the same.

  13. Isa says:

    I remember her talking about karaoke during an interview I think on Ellen.

    It’s hilarious to hear her say “karaoke.”

    I can relate to turning into a crybaby after having a kid. Mine is almost 3 and the other day she let me hold her like a baby while I sobbed over the fact that she is no longer one, but a little girl. I shouldn’t have, it stresses her out to see me upset and she didn’t understand. But damn, I couldn’t help it.

  14. OtherChris says:

    How much must it suck to be that beautiful and yet have someone photoshop you until you don’t look like yourself because you’re just not good enough?

    I have a daughter and it depresses me that she’s probably going to internalize the message that she isn’t good enough unless she’s a blank slate.

  15. Cheyenne says:

    God, those eyes. That woman cannot take a bad photo. Ever.

  16. RHONYC says:

    @ Isa

    enjoy every moment, especially the upcoming ones.

    lil’ girls 3-5 are scrumptious lil morsels…so adorable!

    the conversations too, they get so sharp so quickly. soon you won’t believe the talks you’ll have.

    happy days. :-)

  17. Mick says:

    Motherwood has changed her. She looks beautiful because she feels beautiful and fulfilled, accomplished. I wish her the very best!

  18. jover says:

    I’ll admit the photos are lovely photoshop aside, but why do all the fashion mags have to be extensions of hollywood marketing departments, have they completely lost their way?; it’s Pirates 4 not the Godfather.

  19. JuJuBee says:

    @OtherChris “How much must it suck to be that beautiful and yet have someone photoshop you until you don’t look like yourself because you’re just not good enough?”

    Isn’t that sad? Not only did they Photoshop her face, but also her body. Any of her recent pics show a woman who is slim, but obviously just gave birth. So sad to know that even though the final pics are courtesy of Photoshop, some women and young girls will still beat themselves up for not being good enough.

  20. Sue says:

    Beautiful! I so respect her for keeping her home life and baby private. She is so sweet when she tears up. I think that they are a great couple in love and enjoying time alone bonding with baby. So sweet!

  21. beth says:

    awwwwww, Isa…
    that’s so sweet and touching…
    i am jearous you even have a kid, hehe. :)

    penelope, i had no idea… WOW.

  22. Newbie says:

    she’s gorgeous. Her recent bangs don’t make her look as beautiful, imho. And yes, these shots are airbrushed. But pap shots show that she’s gorgeous with or without airbrushing.

  23. gee says:

    She’s one of the prettiest peoplel on the planet, but she has been shopped 20 years younger. It’s a shame because she’s so freaking gorgeous. And on top of that, what she said about her baby is so sweet.

  24. sandy says:

    she is very beautiful naturally

  25. kiko says:

    dear god that doesn’t really look like here.especially the cover!photoshop just ruins everything…she didn’t even look that good when she was in her early 20′s!

  26. Sumodo1 says:

    She looks so much better than when she was with Tom Cruise, and then, bought herself a chin.

  27. Snarky_Pup says:

    Prettier than ever! (And I have always thought Penelope was a beauty.)

  28. Monica says:

    I don’t know why but she always looks a little birdly to me. Somehow how the way her neck and face are connected, I can’t see her as attractive because of that. A picture of just her face is always beautiful though.

  29. Dea says:

    I did not know she had freckles!! I am not a huge fan of her but she looks quite beautiful. If I had to change anything on my face it would be having freckles. I wish there was a plastic surgery for that :)

  30. jello says:

    Wow. Stunning photos, but yeah, it kinda sucks to think that a lot of “post photography work” has gone on here. She’s one of the most beautiful women on the planet, which leaves little chance for a mere mortal to come anywhere close.

  31. Liana says:

    “The fact that his father and I have chosen to do the work that we do doesn’t give anybody the right to invade our privacy.”

    * * * *

    Brava Penelope!

    And I LOVE the last photo. it’s less shopped and looks more like her.

  32. snowbunny says:

    Truly an amazing and beautiful woman!

    I agree on the photoshopping, it wasn’t necessary, she is beautiful naturally.

  33. Jennifer says:

    Definitely one of the most beautiful women in the world.

  34. Hakura says:

    Wow. She looks incredible in these shots. I had no idea she had freckles, even *those* are pretty on her face.

    I’ve really become increasingly fond of Penelope over the last few years. (I hadn’ t seen much of her work, but started to after she did one of the voice in ‘GForce‘ xD It was so cute.) I do feel bad for her having to put up with Eva Longoria dating her brother. (I don’t know why, she just seems kind of bitchy to me, for some reason.)

    @Bros“Way too much photoshop. she has noticeable crows feet that are completely missing from this shoot,…”

    True, but since when do ANY celebrities appear in official photos (especially magazines) with ‘crows feet’ (or any wrinkles?) Her shoot isn’t any different than everyone else’s, unless they’re actively making a point out of leaving pics unphotoshopped.

  35. kasper says:

    She looks great for a 19 year old from the midwest doing her first noxema commercial. Oh wait, she’s mid-30s, Spanish, post preggers and an experienced actress? never. would. have. guessed. Thank you photoshop for standardizing beauty.

  36. LuckyLilGem says:

    Absolutely stunning, she is so beautiful!

  37. Isa says:

    RHONYC- It’s bittersweet! The stuff she says makes me do a double take. (Did I really just hear that?!?!)But I feel like I missed so much while working full time and going to college. I love the now, but I miss the baby stage too.

    Beth- I hope you get to experience it one day! Enjoy EVERY minute because the cliche about time flying really is true!!!

  38. REALIST says:

    I love the freckles! I have them, too. That’s about it as far as what I have in common with Penelope.
    Lovely, low key shots!

  39. Andrea says:

    What the hell is up with making her seem like she was poor when she arrived in L.A.? She was already a movie star in Spain.