When Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was a fashion-obsessed 15-year-old living in her rural hometown of Devon, England, aka “the middle of nowhere,” she cold-called her way around London looking for someone, anyone, in the industry to give her an internship as part of a work study program at school. A small modeling agency in Soho said yes, and she promptly spent a week at its offices emptying ashtrays and making photocopies. And although she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted to do yet—design, yes; styling, maybe—not once did it occur to her that she had what it takes to make a career in front of the camera.
“I remember the models walking in, and they were like goddesses to me,” says Huntington-Whiteley, now 29 and based in Los Angeles. “They were so stylish and elegant with their beautiful skin and blasé attitude. I just remember being like, ‘Oh my god, these girls are like swans.’”
It wasn’t that Huntington-Whiteley was unattractive (though she claims her fair share of awkward-phase afflictions: a layer of baby fat, spotty skin, and over plucked eyebrows); it was simply a matter of how she was raised. “I don’t remember people saying, ‘You’re so pretty,’ or, ‘You’re gorgeo