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American Beauty 
by W Magazine

Jennifer Aniston never wanted to be a poster girl. Really, she
didn't. But somehow, she became the Ninties'
answer to Farrah Fawcett: TV's prime-time paragon
of feminine beauty, imitated everywhere from the
halls of high fashion to the most mundane
suburban malls. Aniston and Fawcett do have a few
traits in common: the bountiful hair, the perfect
teeth, the well-scrubbed face and the very lithe
limbs. But while Fawcett came to exemplify a
bigger-than-life, Cosmo-girl sexiness, Aniston -
like her character, Rachel, on "Friends," which
is now in its sixth season - is comfortably
anti-glam. She's funny and self-deprecating and,
no matter how well-coiffed and toned, devotedly girl-next-door -
more Donna Reed than Madonna. Maybe that's why Aniston's face
sells more magazines than any other star's. She may have the
so-called Sexiest Man Alive as her boyfriend, but she's still a
woman others can relate to.

"I wonder what that is," she says when asked about her influence
on fashion and beauty trends. "Isn't it funny? Your image of
yourself is so different than other peoples'. I'm not good at
hearing positive things - I can accept criticism better. I'm very
critical of myself - which gives me somethhing to work on. I want
to evolve." 

Of course, it's not easy to evolve when your required to do so in
public. Aniston's efforts at self-improvement aren't always a big
hit with her critics or her fans. Most recently, she's been
lambasted for getting too thin, working out too much and wearing
her hair too big at this year's Emmy Awards. "Lately, I've been
reading that I'm too skinny," she says with a sigh. "A few years
back, they said I was too curvy. I guess when I was rounder, I
was easier to relate to. The media builds you up and tears you
down. What the magazine readers are missing is that the glamour
they see on the cover isn't real, and it isn't easy. Those
pictures take a lot of work. Being thin is hard work!"

Aniston insista that her thinness is not due to obsessive
calorie-counting. "You can get into an exercising zone where it
feels so great it's addictive," she says. "I swear, I eat more
now than I ever did in my life - I just work out more, because it
feels great. And if that old cheeseburger and fries start to look
irresistible to me, I'll eat it. I never wanted to be a
spokesperson for weight loss. In fact, I feel the same now as I
did five pounds ago." She says she hasn't lost weight to please
anybody except herself, declaring, "If someone loves you more if
you're thinner, get rid of them!"

As for her famous mane, Aniston has gladly abandoned the
now-classic Rachel layered 'do ("All I have to say about that,
looking back, is, 'What the hell was I thinking?' " she says) in
favour of this year's longer, sleeker, blonder look.

Sometimes I loose perspective on how light I've actually gone,"
she says. "You go out in the sun and suddenly you're Summer
Blond. But it's fun to change. Michael Canale [in Beverly Hills]
highlights my hair so well - he's got that touch, the natural
touch. And if I want to look funky, he won't do that. For a while
I had dead, trashed, burnt hair - they ironed it so much for the
show. I'm trying to let them go with my natural wave this season.
But I'm always thinking, when I change it a little, am I ready
for the beating I'll take in the press? You never get used to it.
It always bruises your ego." 

Despite all the attention that's been paid to her look, Aniston
comes right out and declares that she doesn't have much style. "I
remember thinking 'couture' was a designer," she says. "I
thought, wow, this guy is everywhere - on every label! That's how
much I know." She has been learning quickly however. "I've worn
Prada and Dries Van Noten, and I love Susan Lazar's clothes -
they're for real people, and accomodate all bodies," she says. "I
like everyday clothes. Even at awards shows, I don't like feeling
like I'm being at all showy. So sometimes for big events I hire a
stylist - I'm not great at pulling clothes together in the
'proper' way. And you certainly don't want to piss Joan Rivers
off."For a second, it seems like she means this. The she adds
sarcastically, "Now there's a woman with taste! I stay far away
from her. To me, personal style is whatever is the most
comfortable. Heels are my nightmare - they make me break into a
sweat. I pray for lawn events, so I can wear flats."

Not that Aniston doesn't enjoy the occassional shopping spree. "I
admit I love clothes," she says. "And I buy clothes. But they sit
in my closet." Both she and Brad Pitt are unapologetic
"homebodies," she adds. "I like a pair of comfy pants, flip flops
and a T-shirt. And when we pick a restaurant, my criteria is:
Where can I wear this?"

What about the legions of paprazzi hiding in the bushes, waiting
to catch her in the least favourable circumstances? "Oh, it's
happened where they've taken a picture of me looking like a
slob," she says. "I'm used to it. I just give up. You can't
control it. As long as I'm not bending over with my crack
showing, I don't care."