When your famously dashing dad's full name is Dominique Marie François René Galou-zeau de Villepin-and he's prime minister-and your best client is Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy, chances are you travel in rarefied circles. But to her credit, Marie de Villepin goes by the stage name Marie Steiss so as not to be seen as cashing in on her aristocratic roots when she promotes Givenchy's scent Ange ou Démon (that's "Angel or Demon" to us) or struts for Diane von Furstenberg (who was once Princess Diane von F.-do these nobles know how to network, or what?). Having grown up wherever her career-diplomat father was posted (including the U.S. in the '80s), Steiss was well-prepped for a stint as perfume ambassador: "I've seen the way fragrance makes people feel all over the world, and I think it's special," she says. And like any sophisticated nomad, she has refined her style essentials: "I travel only with the basics: cleanser and something to sleep in." Well, un petit peu more than that, as she reveals here. . .
1. KNOTTED SCARF: "When I was little, I got in the habit of stealing my mom's Hermès scarves, tying them in knots, and carrying them around. My mother was able to finally persuade me to use her less expensive bandannas. I still have one! It's my security thing."
2. SKIN DRINK BY GIVENCHY: "Because of all the traveling I do, my skin gets dehydrated-I use a lot of this."
3. ROSEBUD SALVE: "From the earliest age, my parents tried to impress upon me that beauty comes from within, so I really don't use a lot of makeup. This product, however, is always in my bag. I put it on my lips and my eyes for a little bit of shine."
4. LAROCHE-POSAY HYDRANORME: "This is my favorite cream to use at night. I stock up on it when I'm in Paris."
5. SHU UEMURA EYELASH CURLER: "I don't wear mascara during the day, so to make my lashes stand out if I'm going on a casting call, for example, I just curl them a bit."
6. KIEHL'S BLUE ASTRINGENT: "A fellow model/actress friend, Rie Rasmussen, taught me everything about the business-including serious skincare. She introduced me to this, and I never leave home without it."
7. MAGNOLIA OIL FROM LENOR GREYL: "I use a lot of oil: this Magnolia Oil on my skin and Opalis L'Huile [available at beautyhabit.com] on the ends of my hair at bedtime."
8. GIVENCHY ANGE OU DÉMON: "When I was a child in India and Venezuela, smells were so present in my life that I hardly wore perfume. But now I do: This one makes you feel different, because it's an uncommon aroma [featuring lily and Maxillaria orchid]."
9. DIORSHOW BLACK MASCARA, 13. LANCÔME BLACK KOHL PENCIL: "Stephan Marais is a French makeup artist, and this is his trick for smoky eyes: Apply lots of kohl pencil and mascara, then remove most of it with a cotton pad. What's left behind is a perfect sultry gaze."
10. & 11. GIVENCHY CRYSTAL GLOSS: "My little extras for nighttime."
12. TERRACOTTA BRONZER BY GUERLAIN: "Another secret weapon from Rie. She taught me to mix the bronzer with a little coconut oil and apply to the apples of my cheeks for a nice glow."
14. GUITAR PICKS: "I'm learning how to play guitar. I have a nice old Tatay acoustic. I'm self-taught-and my poor roommates have to bear with me!"
15. A FEW THINGS I ALWAYS HAVE WITH ME: "My diary-it contains my drawings, little poems I write, and Polaroids. And I bring my 13-inch Powerbook G4. I like to stay connected wherever I am. And my iPod. I like all kinds of music, especially heavy metalKorn, Nine Inch Nails, Tool."