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Monica Anna Maria Bellucci (born September 30, 1964 or 1968) is an Italian actress and fashion model. Her SciFi Hottie claim to fame was her role as Persephone, the wife of the Merovingian, in The Matrix Reloaded. Bellucci was born in Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy, the daughter of Maria Gustinelli, a painter, and Luigi Bellucci, who owned a trucking company. Bellucci started modelling at 16, when she was attending to the Liceo Classico. Initially pursuing a career as a lawyer, by modeling Bellucci helped finance her tuition while at the University of Perugia, but the glamorous lifestyle tempted Monica away from her law studies. She speaks Italian, French, and English fluently, semi-fluent in Spanish and has acted in each of these languages, as well as Aramaic. Bellucci is married to fellow actor Vincent Cassel, with whom she has appeared in several films and had a daughter, named Deva (born September 12, 2004). In 2004, while pregnant with her daughter, Bellucci posed nude for the Italian Vanity Fair Magazine in protest against Italian laws that allow only married couples to use in-vitro fertilization and that prevent the use of donor sperm. In 1988, Bellucci moved to one of Europe's fashion centers, Milan, where she signed with Elite Model Management. By 1989, she was becoming prominent as a fashion model in Paris and across the Atlantic, in New York City. She posed for Dolce & Gabbana and French ELLE, among others. In that year, Bellucci made the transition to acting and began taking acting classes. The February 2001 Esquire Magazine's feature on Desire featured Ms. Bellucci on the cover and in an article on the five senses. In 2003, she was featured in Maxim. In 2004, she topped AskMen's 100 Most Beautiful Women in the World annual list. Bellucci's modelling career is managed by Elite+ in NYC. She is considered an Italian sex symbol. She is currently a face of a range of Dior Cosmetics. Bellucci's film career began in the early 1990s. In 1992 she made her first appearance in a major English-language film as one of Dracula's brides in Bram Stoker's Dracula. She became known and popular with English-speaking audiences following her lead role in the acclaimed Italian film Malèna, as well as through the portrayal of a rape victim in the highly controversial Irréversible, though is perhaps best known for her role as Persephone in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions followed by her portrayal of Mary Magdelene in The Passion of the Christ. In 2003, Bellucci starred in Tears of the Sun as a doctor in Nigeria being rescued by the US and in the 2005 fantasy film The Brothers Grimm as a beautiful evil queen. Her latest films are The Stone Council, directed by the Frenchman Guillaume Nicloux (2006) and Manuale d'amore 2 (2007) where she portrays a physiotherapist in the first segment of the film who is object of the desire of her patient. She was supposed to be seen portraying Indian politician Sonia Gandhi in the biopic Sonia, originally planned for release in 2007 but now shelved. September 2007 saw the release of Shoot 'Em Up, where she plays a prostitute opposite Clive Owen. She dubbed her own voice for the French and Italian releases of the film. Bellucci also voiced as Kaileena in the video game Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, and Cappy for the french voice in the 2005 animated movie Robots.
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