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In the beginning, Newton worked with stylists in Los Angeles. “The whole red-carpet world was very new. I went from zero to the Golden Globes right away,” she says, now perfectly acclimated to the primp-andpose lifestyle, fielding questions while a stylist festoons her head with extensions and a manicurist takes to her nails for this shoot. Which is not to say Newton’s become a spoiled prima donna along the way. While her on-screen persona and these pictures prove she’s a natural at camp and vamp, the real-life Becki has her feet firmly on the ground.
Now that the production of Ugly Betty has moved to New York for season three, Newton, who lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, actor Chris Diamantopoulos, is on her own, fashionwise. “The cool thing about New York is that people encourage you to figure it out yourself,” she says. “If I’m going to take a risk, I’d rather have chosen it myself than have had a stylist tell me what to wear.”
As for Newton’s personal taste, today she’s casual cool in a version of downtown lumberjack chic—flannel shirt, skinny Genetic jeans, flat Chloé boots and a Margo Morrison charm necklace. Fancier occasions have seen her in Gucci, Versace, Marchesa and her prized possession, a Marc Jacobs cuff, gleaned from her number-one fashion moment, attending Jacobs’ spring 2009 show. “They let me keep this amazing, huge, heavy silver, black and dark blue thing,” she says. “I just love a big, cool accessory that you wouldn’t immediately think goes with whatever you’re wearing. I know it can’t possibly go with everything, but so far it has for me.“
Newton is also quite proud of a new pair of Balenciaga heels. “I bought them last month, and I’m so scared to wear them because I love them so much,” she says, just after copping to a major Dolce & Gabbana fixation. The duo is responsible for her favorite everyday bag, as well as a sexy corset dress she wore to a recent James Bond premiere, something she says playing Amanda gave her the confidence to try. Meanwhile, Newton hopes to requite her fashion crush in person this season, as she’s heard rumors that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana might join Betty’s designer-cameo ranks.
“We’ve had designers who have absolutely no problem making fun of themselves,” she says. Among them: Vera Wang, Zac Posen and—one of Newton’s personal favorites—he of “ferosh” fame, Project Runway’s Christian Siriano. “He walked into the room with an entourage of people and said something like, ‘Worship me, bitches.’ He went for it.” Whether Dolce and Gabbana share Siriano’s sense of humor remains to be seen. “Even if they don’t,” says Newton, “I just want to stand near them and wear a corset.”
In terms of other projects, Newton says that, for now, she’s content to focus fully on Ugly Betty. And when the time comes to move on, she’ll have more than acting experience to leverage. Consider a recent episode in which she sashayed in 5-inchers with gazellelike grace across the clumsy cobblestones of Gansevoort Street. “It’s a skill I’m going to put on my résumé,” Newton says. “I’m convinced it’s going to get me hired in the future.”