• there's Kids, the gritty mid-nineties cult classic that threw Dawson into acting, head first, when she was just 15. “I'm trying to be the female Christopher Walken,” she jokes of her challenging CV.

    Still, nearly 20 years in the tough-girl mold hasn't hardened Dawson. If anything, it's made her more at ease with who she is, confident enough to strip down for her latest film, Trance. Dawson plays Elizabeth, a daring hypnotherapist who is propelled into an art heist led by a vicious criminal (Vincent Cassel) and a desperate gambler (James McAvoy). Her character seduces both men while managing to stand out against the visual stylings of director Danny Boyle. Very few faces can compete with Boyle's parrot oranges and disco blues. But whenever Dawson is on screen, everything else seems to

    “He’s wonderful. We DATED longer than people think we did”

    Embroidered dress by Vineet Bahl; cut-out leather sandals by Charlotte Olympia

    It is 3:30 in the afternoon and my drinking partner has kicked off her shoes and declared she'd like a mimosa. Yes, mimosas are technically the stuff of brunches, not almost-obscenely early happy hours, and the venue is the upmarket Four Seasons Los Angeles hotel. But then again, the drinking partner in question is Rosario Dawson, and if anyone has built a reputation around the rebellious and unexpected, it's her.

    Rebellious, perhaps, but with her Bambi-brown eyes and flawless skin – the work of ancestors ranging from Afro-Cubans to Irishmen – Dawson will have this elegant establishment wrapped around her finger so tightly that within an hour, a stranger will insist on buying her drinks and our waitress will be laughing as if she's known the actress for years.

    In a way, she has. At 33, Dawson has a long list of unflinching roles and A-list directors on her resumé: Quentin Tarantino (Grindhouse), Oliver Stone (Alexander), Spike Lee (He Got Game, 25th Hour), Frank Miller (Sin City), Tony Scott (Unstoppable). And, of course,

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