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Monday, February 16, 2015

The Pure Beauty of Ambra Angiolini

In two short decades, Ambra Angiolini emerged as a star on two continents, dazzling audiences first as a teen host of Italian TV, and then as a chart-topping singer in Europe and South America before making her way onto the big screen as a captivating actress.

Born in Rome on April 22, 1977,  Angiolini began her career in 1992 at the age of 15 as a host of RAI Television's "Non è la Rai."  Two years later, she recorded her first album, "T'appartengo," in both Italian and Spanish. The album was a huge hit in Spain as well as other countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Chile. As a result of that sucsess, Angiolini was invited to perform at the popular Chilean music festival, "Viña del Mar" in 1996. Meanwhile, she was recording her self-titled album, "Angiolini," which included the hits, "Tu sei," "Ti stravoglio," "Buoni Amici" and "Aspettavo te."  That same year, she made her acting debut in the television movie, "Favola" while hosting an array of Italian television shows including, "Super," "Non dimenticate lo spazzolino da denti," "Cominciamo bene estate" and MTV Italy. She got her big-screen break in 2007 with the coveted role of Roberta in Ferzan Ozpetek's ensemble hit, "Saturno Contro" (Saturn in Opposition). The film focuses on a group of contemporary 30- and 40- somethings as they struggle to come to grips with youthful dreams that didn't come true. Angiolini shined in the role of Roberta, a girl next door character whose unyielding support, light-heartedness and loyalty endeared her character to audiences and critics alike. Her trademark brown eyes conveyed a profound agony when tragedy struck her inner circle.  Her performance netted several awards, including the prestigious David di Donatello for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2008, she co-starred in CristinaComencini's controversial film, "Nero e bianca" (Black and White).  The story centers on an interracial romance between Carlo, an Italian man and Nadine, a Senegalese woman who are both married to others when they meet and fall in love.  Angiolini plays Elena, Carlo's wife who hails from a racist right-wing family.  At the beginning of the film, Elena appears to be a liberal who sets herself apart from the hateful ideas of her family.  But when she finds herself abandoned for an immigrant, her beliefs change and she discovers an underlying racism that she never knew existed. The film was a huge box office success in Italy, a nation that has been dealing with issues of immigration and assimilation in recent years.

Her roles in Paolo Genovese's "Immaturi" and its sequel, "Immaturi - il viaggio" along with Maurizio Ponzi's "Ci vediamo a casa" called upon her girl next door qualities and zest for drama, while her role in Massimiliano Bruno's 2012 political comedy, "Viva I'italia" gave her the opportunity to show audiences a zanier, more playful side. Angiolini portrays the role of Susanna Spagnolo, an aspiring actress with a lisp, and the daughter of a slightly corrupt politician. Her speech impediment and casting calls make for some entertaining scenes in which she totally embraces the hilarious stereotypes of Bruno's self-absorbed characters.

In addition to her high profile career, Angiolini is involved in a high profile romance with Francesco Renga, a popular Italian singer/songwriter. A regular at Italy's legendary San Remo music festival, Renga took the top prize in 2005 with his hit, "Angelo." The two are among Italy's most beloved celebrity couples and there is certainly no shortage of good looks or talent between them. Hand in hand, they grace the paparazzi-lined red carpets, and are both heavy hitters in Italian pop culture.

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