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April 16, 2013

Jordana Brewster: The Natural

Starring in two of Hollywood's highly lucrative hits, Jordana Brewster proves she has staying power.


Photo Credit: Hilary Walsh

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There are certain Hollywood franchises — Star Wars, Spider-Man, James Bond — for which box-office spoils are a given. Then there's The Fast and the Furious: the little, albeit souped-up, engine that could. Indeed, the action-packed racing flicks have exceeded expectations not just financially but also critically — as reviewers have found themselves charmed by the movies' frenetic energy and guilty-pleasure appeal. Driving the series' success: Jordana Brewster. This month, 12 years after her first turn as leading lady Mia Toretto, Brewster reunites with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker to star in Fast & Furious 6 — that's right, 6, with a seventh installment careening around the corner. If 2011's Fast Five, which grossed $86 million its debut weekend (making it number one at the box office and Universal Pictures' best opening ever), was any indication, FF6 stands to smoke the competition.

A parallel can be drawn between Brewster's brand of fame and that of the Fast machine's. Both smolder quietly, avoiding the blaze followed inevitably by burnout. "I always knew I wanted to be either on TV or in movies," the 33-year-old says from her home in Los Angeles. "I just didn't know how." At 10, she moved with her family from her mother's native Rio de Janeiro to Manhattan, and the track became clear. "Everything's much more accessible in New York. I started taking classes to prove to myself that I could do it." By the time she was 15, she was a regular on As the World Turns. From '90s teen thriller The Faculty to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (where she met her producer husband, Andrew Form), she's been working steadily ever since. Not that it's been a totally smooth ride. "Whenever I have a kid, if he or she says, 'I want to be an actor,' I'll say, 'Please don't do it!'" she says, laughing. "But no one in my family was in show business, so they didn't know better." Although Hollywood isn't in her blood, Brewster's pedigree is still impressive: Her mother is a former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model; her father, a successful investment banker; and her grandfather was once the president of Yale University (where the actress graduated with a BA in English in 2004).

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