The face behind the label

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Anna Mouglalis has caught the public eye again with her latest role.

The brand ambassador for Chanel starred in the biopic "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky", released last August, as the iconic fashionista herself. Thanh Nien caught up with her at the Vietnam International Film Festival in Hanoi to find out more about her and the film which has thrust her into the limelight.

When asked about the role, Mouglalis, is quick to point out that she has nothing in common with Chanel. In an article for the Telegraph, Mouglalis said Karl Lagerfeld told her the same thing. The actress admitted that she was surprised at the decision to cast her as the designer. Physically, she is completely different.

In every other aspect, however, she is the perfect choice. She has been the brand ambassador for the fashion house for nine years and knows everything about its history and the legendary designer through reading books and hearing stories. She has also appeared as the face of Allure perfume and Chanel Fine Jewelry.

For director Jan Kounen, Mouglalis embodied Chanel. "Her voice, the way she moves, everything in her was the character," and her ability to act with both vigor and grace made her right for the role. "Anna has this strength and she is hard, a very strong personality, but she also has another point very important for Coco beauty and elegance," he told the Telegraph in an interview.

"Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky" centers on the French fashion icon's love affair with Stravinsky, a Russian composer. The two embark on a passionate love affair when Stravinsky's wife becomes bedridden with consumption.

Talking about the role, Mouglalis said she was committed to portraying the designer as a woman with a sharp, violent and feminist mind.

"She was born in the previous century, but Coco is the symbol of a modern lady," said Mouglalis. "She had what all men at the time wanted - power and fame. Many feared her but she was still a woman with sadness, sorrow and joy. The biggest difficulty was finding the balance and harmony of Coco's character and leading the audience into her world."

The woman behind the career

Mouglalis has carved out quite a career. And, contrary to most viewers' thoughts, her raucous voice has not been a disadvantage. Instead, Mouglalis labeled it her lucky charm since she began acting.

"It was a little hard at the beginning, but I feel I was very lucky. Directors and producers came to me rather than me going to find them. But my face and my voice don't match. Many people think with my face, my voice must be melodious. When I studied at Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique de Paris, I was advised to go for larynx surgery. But, why should I do it? The most important thing is living with the gifts you have. My voice has got me many roles," said Mouglalis with a smile.

Meanwhile, the 32-year-old actress has compromised nothing for fame and fortune. She views cinematography as both an art and an industry and says it is insane to try and please everyone.

"I don't think I have had to sacrifice anything. I have two angelic kids and I enjoy taking them to school every day," said Mouglalis. "If I were in this career for the fame, I would take on every project I was offered. I just do one or two films I really love a year and spend my spare time taking care of my family and writing screenplays. My biggest passion is developing my creativity. When I have to go away from home to shoot a film, I tell my kids that I have to go out for a while."

It is clear Mouglalis is not part of the "sparkling kingdom of Hollywood." She enjoys making herself and the people around her happy.

That, for her, is enough.

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