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Fast Talk: Isabella Rossellini

How often do you travel?

I travel at least once a month for work and have become a bit of a nomad. Each year we go on one big trip as a family. I usually take my children–Elettra is 21 and Roberto just turned 10–to France and Italy so they can practice their language skills, but this year we went on a Kenyan safari, and they loved it. I’m thinking about bringing them to Argentina for Christmas.

You’ve worked in Canada recently. Do you feel a connection to that country?

Canada is such a revelation–it’s just around the corner, yet it feels so far away. There’s this constant presence of nature, even in downtown Vancouver. You can see eagles and seals just outside the city. In Winnipeg–where my last film, The Saddest Music in the World, was shot–I experienced freezing temperatures I had never even imagined. I hadn’t thought of the cold as something I could enjoy, but I did.

You’re playing Thar the high priestess in the Sci Fi channel’s adaptation of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea novels. What drew you to the role?

Three things drew me to the role of high priestess in the Earthsea miniseries. I loved the idea of acting in something my children could watch and enjoy, I was delighted to work with producer Bob Halmi again, and I thought that spending the month of July in Vancouver would be a pleasure.

You recently made your theater debut in Terrence McNally’s off-Broadway play The Stendhal Syndrome. What was it like to get up on stage and do the same lines night after night?Which do you prefer, film or theater?

I like them both and would love to do more theater, but I do feel more comfortable in film because theater relies so much on language, and I still have difficulty pronouncing English clearly from time to time.

Of all the locations you’ve been filmed in, what is your favorite?

Places such as Africa and Asia are so exotic and so much fun to film in. I don’t know them as continents well enough to be able to say which countries I enjoy most, but I am looking forward to knowing them better. I am on the board of an organization called the Wildlife Conservation Network, which identifies and funds adventurous entrepreneurs who study animals in the field all over the world from Nepal to Kenya to Sudan to Zimbabwe. I look forward to visiting all of these sites.

What does your new role as ambassador to Silversea Cruises involve?

I will be traveling periodically aboard their vessels. My first cruise with them–to South America–is this month. Fabrizio Ferri, the renowned photographer, will be documenting each port and destination that the cruise line visits–from the Americas and the Mediterranean to Asia and Africa–in pictures that will be collected in a book later. I am particularly happy that my son and daughter will be on board during some of the cruises. Silversea is also letting me redesign a suite on each ship that I travel on—I’ll be finalizing details on that part of my new role after the first cruise.

Do you have a favorite hotel that you recommend?

I love everything about the Ritz in Paris. I love the way they greet you when you first arrive and how they take you to your room, with fabulous views of the Place Vendôme. The indoor pool is luxuriously old-fashioned.

What’s always in your carry-on?

Moisturizer, a white cashmere wrap, and Daring, a fragrance I created for my Manifesto line of cosmetics–in a twist-top bottle, so there’s no chance of leakage.

Do you have any beauty secrets for the frequent traveler?How do you stay fresh-faced and unrumpled on a transcontinental flight?

I’m not sure that I do stay fresh-faced and unrumpled, but I do the usual: I eat lightly, drink lots of water, use moisturizer, and wear very comfortable and crushable clothes.

Where are you headed next?

I’ll be in the Dominican Republic and Spain with director Luis Llosa, doing an adaptation of the novel The Feast of the Goat, about Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo’s final days. It’s written by the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, the director’s cousin.

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