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working for them for five years. She quickly got used to serious salaries and world travel. spending a summer in Japan at sixteen and working in Paris for almost a year at nineteen.
But her career was almost cut short during the Coke shoot Down Under. thanks to the kind of drinking binge that would make Ollie Reed pee his pants.
‘I was on the beach. drinking margaritas. champagne and vodka.’ she begins promisingly. ‘Then at night I had sake at a Japanese restaurant. They brought out this 30-year-old sake that nobody can drink. I did it in one shot. The next day I felt like I was dying. I lost seven pounds in a few hours through dehydration. I called my mom and asked her to bring my body home ifl died.‘
Despite the success of her modelling and the evidence of her soft. fresh features. Diaz has never considered herself beautiful. ‘l've got a nose that's been accidentally broken three times.‘ she protests. ‘As a teenager I was so skinny that they nicknamed me Skeletor at school.‘
She may remain unconvinced by the sex symbol shtick. but hers isn’t the brand of Tinseltown insecurity that ultimately expresses itself in compulsive nipping and tucking.
‘There’s no way I'd want to do it.‘ she says. dismissing cosmetic surgery with a derisory wave of her hand. ‘The “in” look changes constantly. Four years ago. big boobs were in. Now nobody gives a damn what size your tits are. So why change yourself to please the masses‘?‘
Fitting in with trends has never been Diaz‘s style — she‘s a drifter. not a schemer. If becoming a model was a fluke. the acting thing couldn’t have been jammier if it was a sticky substance made in Dundee from sugar and fruit. Spotting a script for The Mask on her agent‘s desk. Diaz joked that she wanted to try out for it — shortly afterwards she was asked to audition. That‘s when it stopped being easy.
‘After twelve auditions. I developed an ulcer.‘ she remembers with a grimace. ‘When I get upset. my stomach turns into a mess. I had such pains that I couldn‘t eat. couldn‘t sleep. I swallowed tons of antacids during that time. Only seven days before filming began did I finally land the job.‘
The Mask went on to make a laughably enormous amount of money and launch Jim Carrey on an unsuspecting world. Diaz meanwhile was voted ‘Female Star of Tomorrow" by America‘s
8 THE lIST 24 Sep—8 Oct i998
National Association of Theater Owners. but was unhappy with the slew of offers that followed. ‘It was only cheesy. titty roles like the beautiful Russian doctor in foreign films. I decided to wait for a role that would show people that I could do other things. So. I got into independent movies.’ Specifically. she got into Stacy Title's sharp black comedy The Last Supper (1995) and from there into the Keanu Reeves movie. Fee/mg Minnesota (1996). But artistic
£10,000 DISAPPEAR IN A DAY.
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success coincided with a very dark
period of depression at the state of
the world that culminated in Diaz throwing out her TV set and refusing to read the newspapers.
‘1 got so upset by the news and felt there was no hope in the world anymore.‘ she confesses. 'I felt that the whole world was sick. I hated feeling so negative and out of control. so I cut myself off from all that. Since then I’ve never felt better.‘
From there. Diaz moved back
'If you really want to torture me, strap me down to a chair and put Mariah Carey on. Over and over again. That would be eternal hell for me.’
Can you blow £10,000 in a day and have nothing but wild memories to show