Sorry Monica, but you are beautiful! (See below for proof)

Don’t call me beautiful, Monica Bellucci says before Cannes festival
CANNES, France (AFP) – Monica Bellucci isn’t beautiful and isn’t a star — or at least that’s what the stunning Italian actress would prefer you believe as she prepares to open the Cannes film festival.
Instead, the raven-haired 34-year-old has her sights set on loftier goals: to be taken seriously as an artist and to develop her soul.
“Beauty is a state of being,” Bellucci told a small group of journalists on Tuesday, the eve of the 12-day festival.
“If beauty exists, you have to wait for it to pass. It’s like an illness, beauty,” she said.
For the millions of people who will watch her officially declare the Cannes film festival open on Wednesday, though, there will be no escaping the thought that the looks that made her a world-class model before turning to cinema have not deserted her.
Nor will the audiences who go to see “The Matrix Reloaded” — the long-awaited sequel to the sci-fi blockbuster which gets a special screening at Cannes on Thursday — be able to turn their eyes from Bellucci’s strategically bared body.
But for the actress, such focus on her appearance overlooks the efforts she is making to bring her talent to bear on roles.
And it’s for that reason Bellucci has created an eclectic track record in films, zigzagging from Hollywood offers, such as this and the next “Matrix” films, to much more intimate European productions in France and Italy.
“Being a star doesn’t mean anything… you can become a star from one day to the next, but that doesn’t mean that you are an artist,” she said.
“And I hope to develop become a good artist,” she said.
That ambition has seen Bellucci pile project upon project in recent years. From small roles in Italian films, she managed to win leading parts in France, and finally made her US breakthrough in 2000’s “Under Suspicion” opposite Gene Hackman.
Since then, directors have come looking for her, even creating characters specifically for her, such as “Tears of the Sun,” the action flick with Bruce Willis that came out this year.
In “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions,” both of which were shot at the same time, she plays Persephone, a sensual figure in a digital desert who takes an interest in Neo, the gravity-defying hero of the cult series, played by Keanu Reeves.
“Keanu Reeves is a very private person, but he has a big heart,” she said of her co-star.
With offers now flowing in — “you have no idea how many I turn down” — Bellucci is in the enviable position of being able to cherry-pick her way through her career.
But for every big-budget Hollywood production, she also performs in smaller unsettling films that stretch her as an actress.
Last year, she starred with her husband, French actor Vincent Cassel, in “Irreversible” — a harrowing tale of violence in which she features in a rape scene shocking in its verisimilitude. The film, which was in competition in Cannes, prompted several people to walk out of the screening.
Her next film is just as unusual, and just as likely to be as far from being a crowd-pleaser as possible.
In “The Passion,” which is directed by Mel Gibson, Monica Bellucci plays Mary Magdalene in a story of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life as he is crucified. The film, which Gibson has said he has wanted to make for years, is filmed in two dead languages, Latin and Aramic — without subtitles.
Then comes another French film with Cassel, “Secret Agents,” which Bellucci is still working on.
Her acting, she said, did not tire her at all, even with such a full diary.
“The most exhausting times are when I travel, or these interviews,” she said, dipping one sugar into her espresso to fight off jet-lag.
“But the moment when I’m on the set, I have to act, and I forget everything else.”
Nevertheless, when “Secret Agents” is out of the way, Bellucci plans to take a break. Having made it so far up the acting ladder so quickly, she figures she now deserves a vacation, “a very long vacation.”
The question is: Will the directors, the fans, and above all her own ambition to push herself ever further let her rest?
Bellucci may not have gone looking for beauty and stardom, but now that they both have gotten hold of her, she may find that some “illnesses” are hard to shake.