Elizabeth Jane Hurley (born 10 June 1965) is an English model and actress who became known as a girlfriend of Hugh Grant in the 1990s. In 1994, as Grant became the focus of worldwide media attention due to the global box office success of his film Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hurley accompanied him to the film's Los Angeles premiere in a plunging black Versace dress held together with gold safety pins, which gained her instant media attention. Hurley has been associated with the cosmetics company Estée Lauder for over fifteen years since the company awarded Hurley her first modelling job at the age of 29. They have featured her as a representative and model for its products, especially perfumes such as Sensuous, Intuition, and Pleasures, since 1995. As an actress her best known cinematic works to date have been as Vanessa Kensington in Mike Myers' hit spy comedies, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and as the Devil in Bedazzled (2000). Hurley currently owns an eponymous beachwear line.
Hurley was born as a middle child in Basingstoke, Hampshire, the daughter of Angela and Roy Hurley. Her Irish father was a Major in the British Army, while her Anglican mother was a teacher at Kempshott Infant School. She has an older sister, Kate, and a younger brother Michael James Hurley. Hurley was educated at local schools including Kempshott Infant School, Kempshott Junior School, and the Harriet Costello School. Aspiring to be a dancer as a young girl, she took ballet classes and later briefly studied dance and theatre at the London Studio Centre. While in her teens, she became involved with punk fashion, dying her hair pink and piercing her nose. "When I was 16 – this was about 1981, 1982 – the thing to be in Basingstoke, the suburb I grew up in, was punk," she explained. She also reportedly associated with the New Age Travellers in her youth.Hurley started working as an actress in the late 1980s and became a model in 1995. During the 2000s, she worked as a reality television presenter in Britain.In 1995, with no prior modeling experience, Hurley was introduced as an Estée Lauder spokesmodel. She later recounted, "I was far from an ingénue, having had my first modeling job at 29."
Hurley has since featured in ads for Lauder's 'Pleasures', 'Beautiful', 'Dazzling', 'Tuscany per Donna', and 'Sensuous' fragrances as well as participated in campaigns for the company's other cosmetics. She was replaced as the face of Estée Lauder by Carolyn Murphy in 2001. However, she continues to work with the company non-exclusively, signing a contract for the 16th year with Lauder in 2010. In 2005, she modeled for Saloni, Liverpool Department Stores of Mexico, and Lancel. She was part of the seasonal advertising campaigns for Jordache, Shiatzy Chen, Got Milk?, Patrick Cox, MQ Clothiers of Sweden, and Lancel in 2006 and Monsoon in 2007. In 2008, Hurley was unveiled as the seasonal campaign face for Blackglama mink. In 2009 she appeared in a campaign for Rosato jewelry. Hurley with fashion designer Valentino Garavani at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. In April 2005, Elizabeth Hurley Beach, her beachwear line that she also models every summer, was launched at Harrods in the UK. It debuted later that year in select Saks Fifth Avenue stores in the United States and other European countries. She told Tatler magazine, "I was on Necker Island for a fashion shoot and even as [Richard Branson] was lying back in a hammock, he was on the phone, doing deals, managing his empire. But then I thought I am never going to have even a holiday home, let alone an island, unless I start a business that I can do without disrupting Damian's school days." In May 2008, Hurley designed and modeled a capsule collection of 12 swimsuits for the Spanish clothes brand MANGO.
Hurley made her first film appearance in Aria (1987). She has since appeared in the movies Passenger 57, EDtv, Bedazzled, and Serving Sara. In 1997, she received her first and only acting award, the ShoWest Supporting Actress of the Year, for her performance in the spy spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. When Hugh Grant founded and became the director of Simian Films in 1994, Hurley was credited as one of the producers for the company's two Grant vehicles, Extreme Measures (1996) and Mickey Blue Eyes (1999). In 2000, she was publicly criticised for breaking a five-month acting strike to film an Estée Lauder advertisement, for which she was fined $100,000 (£70,000 in 2000) by the Screen Actors Guild and labeled "Elizabeth Scably" by protesters.In the late 1980s, Hurley portrayed the title character in a five-part television drama, Christabel. After appearing in John Cleese's The Human Face (2001), she hosted the inaugural season of the British reality series Project Catwalk on Sky1 in 2006. The show drew tepid ratings with only 1% of its target audience tuning into the first few episodes. Hurley was almost universally criticised as a presenter. Marcelle D'Argy Smith, a former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, called her "witheringly boring" and added: "Liz Hurley has no fashion experience whatsoever. She wore a dress and has appeared at premieres." GQ 's Dylan Jones defended her as someone "immersed in the fashion world as a celebrity." Hurley was ridiculed by critics for her "aspirational Basingstoke-gone-jetset accent and dead fish stare," while also being described as "the not-nice-but-dim host." She was dropped after one season because her bosses reportedly believed she was too wooden. It was also later revealed that Hurley had asked contestants to send her free clothes off the record. On 12 December 2010, following press reports linking her romantically with Australian cricketer Shane Warne, Hurley announced via her twitter account that she and her husband Arun had separated several months earlier. Numerous tabloids including the Paparazzi have taken pictures that appear to confirm Warne and Hurley are romantically involved. They were photographed going into a hotel on at least two occasions. Hurley is a supporter of the Conservative Party, and attended their 2010 fundraising ball.
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