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Julia Roberts to Be Lancôme Spokeswoman

Julia Roberts, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, has been tapped as the “global ambassadress” for Lancôme, WWD has learned exclusively.

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Pretty Woman has succumbed to the charms of the beauty industry: Julia Roberts, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, has been tapped as the “global ambassadress” for Lancôme, WWD has learned exclusively.

“By her remarkable personality and career, Julia Roberts is an emblematic woman of her time,” said Youcef Nabi, president of Lancôme International. “Her exceptional talent, her radiance and her strong commitments perfectly echo Lancôme’s values. We are convinced she will embody the brand in the most sublime way possible.”

Lancôme executives declined to give further details on the relationship between Roberts and the brand, including the amount the actress is being paid to sell the products, the length of her contract and specific duties, saying more would be revealed early next year.

Roberts is the latest in a string of Hollywood A-listers entering the beauty realm — and one of the industry’s biggest “gets” in years. Demi Moore was signed to a similar deal with Lancôme sister brand Helena Rubinstein, as the face of its Wanted fragrance, earlier this year.

Roberts, who is said to command salaries north of $20 million for her acting projects, is in post-production on two films — “Eat, Pray, Love,” based on the bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, and “Valentine’s Day,” directed by Garry Marshall, who also directed her in “Pretty Woman.” She could command a beauty salary close to her acting paydays.

Getting Roberts — or any other star of her caliber — to appear in U.S. advertising a decade ago would have been a longshot, although many stars consented to appear in product advertising outside the U.S., such as Madonna for Max Factor in Europe. However, the celebrity culture has become ubiquitous, and the stigma once associated with selling products to middle America seems to have disappeared.

Part of the movement of top-tier stars into beauty began when the celebrity fragrance trend started to gain traction in 2001 with Jennifer Lopez’s Glow by J.Lo, which did upwards of $100 million at retail globally in its first year on counter. In February 2002, Catherine Zeta-Jones signed a spokeswoman deal with Elizabeth Arden, and the star race was on. It now includes Cate Blanchett promoting Procter & Gamble Co.’s SK-II skin care line; Halle Berry representing both makeup at Revlon and her own fragrances at Coty Beauty; Kate Winslet as the face of Lancôme’s Tresor fragrance, and Brad Pitt partnering with Kiehl’s. As Zeta-Jones told WWD in March 2008, “Things have completely changed. It used to be, if you’re an actor, why are you selling stuff? People only used to do it in Japan. But beauty is an industry that makes complete sense for an actress.”

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