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Vanessa Hessler: International Star You Should Know

Italian thesp hits American shores looking to stir up Hollywood

PEACHY PRINCIPESSA

Model-turned-thesp Vanessa Hessler, 25, is a regular Italo TV ratings-grabber via miniseries where her roles include a saint, several princesses and a girl from Kentucky who inherits an Italian castle. Movie-wise, Hessler, who is fluent in English and Italian, has played Princess Irina in Gallic blockbuster “Asterix at the Olympic Games ” and the lead in Milan-set fashion-world thriller “Sotto il vestito niente — l’ultima sfilata,” among other pics. Hessler has also been a host on Italy’s Sanremo song fest, the country’s top-rated TV event.

FROM ROME TO MILAN

When she was 15, Hessler was signed by a modeling agent. A couple of years later, Hessler landed her first movie part, playing an ingenue in “Christmas in Miami,” a 2005 installment in the long-running Aurelio De Laurentiis-produced hit holiday franchise. “It was just about being hot,” Hessler recalls, downplaying the part.

AMORE ON RAI

Hessler has become a fixture on pubcaster RAI, the country’s top-rated network. Her latest telepic “Santa Barbara,” scored a strong 20 share on flagship RAI1 in 2012. Her contempo “Cinderella” skein drew a record 28 share in 2011, and is among her favorite roles.

TAKING THE NEXT STEP

Born in Rome, but raised partly in the U.S., Hessler has been spending time in New York, meeting with producers and casting agents. “Italy is my launching pad, but partly because of the economic crisis, it’s a pretty limiting place right now,” she says. “I want more, and at 25 I feel it’s the perfect time to give it a shot.”

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