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Front Row at John Galliano

Laura Smet, Frédérique Bel and Esther Garrel were among the front row guests.

Esther Garrel

Esther Garrel

Photo By Stéphane Feugère

TRADING PLACES: The old adage that the grass is always greener on the other side holds true for some of the French actresses who took in the John Galliano show in Paris on Sunday.

Laura Smet, who won plaudits for her big-screen debut as a cancer patient in “Les corps impatients” (or “Eager Bodies”), relished the chance of playing a beauty queen in the upcoming “Etats de femmes,” a comedy directed by Katia Lewkowicz. “It’s totally over the top,” she said of her role. “I play a girl who is slightly lost, a Miss Francophone Countries. I have breasts out to here. She’s a bit ridiculous and that made it a lot of fun.”

Meanwhile, Frédérique Bel is working hard to shed the character that made her famous in France. She played blonde airhead Dorothy Doll in “La minute blonde,” a daily satirical interview segment on Canal Plus, but has now dyed her hair brown in the hope of landing meatier roles. “The movie world is quite misogynistic, and when you play an objectified woman, it is quite difficult afterwards to claim the right to be anything else. So it’s been hard,” she said. “I think a pretty woman with a brain bothers some people. So now that I’m a brunette, maybe I’m entitled to have a brain.”

Bel will be seen next in a comedy about racism called “Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu?” She plays a lawyer whose parents struggle with the fact that their daughters marry men of different origins. Esther Garrel, the younger sister of actor Louis Garrel, said she would soon start filming “L’astragale,” based on the novel of the same name by Albertine Sarrazin, a convict and prostitute who died in 1967 at the age of 29. “I play the writer’s girlfriend, Marie,” said Garrel, noting that her mother, Brigitte Sy, is directing the film.