CAMERON DIAZ is the most luminescent newcomer to silver screen in the 1990's. At age 21 and only with her modeling experience under the hood, Diaz landed a potentially sky-rocketing role opposite rising superstar comedian Jim Carrey in The Mask. With her foot well in the door of Hollywood films, she was next afforded the chance to kick Hollywood ass in the feature film version of Mortal Kombat. For this role, Diaz would require martial arts training. But luck would send Diaz down a different road after she injured her wrist karate-chopping her trainer's head. Diaz instead returned to some high-paying modeling jobs and found smaller, low-paying roles in independent films. Cameron states, "I think that definitely your chances of coming across material in independent films--material that is more interesting and more challenging--is more likely than in big-studio films. You always have to leave your doors open to independent films so you have that opportunity."
Her patience and discipline in her acting career shows how Cameron had matured through her modeling career. Diaz was sixteen at the time, and she happened to be at the right place at the right time... at a Hollywood party! There she hooked up with a photographer who, within a week, helped her land a modeling contract with the Elite Modeling Agency. She talked her father (a Cuban-American foreman) and her mother (a German, Native American, and English broker) into letting her expand her career in Japan, accompanied only by another fifteen-year-old fellow model. Her parents were rather easy-going, taking their head-banging party-going kid everywhere. "I was a tough kid with the jeans, the concert shirt with the flannel over it, the comb in the back pocket and the feathered hair." Her mother even accompanied her to first Van Halen concert. So in the end, Cameron was off to Japan. Diaz advises, "Believe me, you can get into a lot of trouble being sixteen years old in a foreign country with no adult telling you when to come home." So the next five years were spent traveling from continent to continent, country to country. "Australia, Morocco, Paris, Mexico, here, there, everywhere," before settling in her Hollywood apartment with Carlos de La Torre, a video producer and her companion for five years.
Posing for Mademoiselle and Seventeen and appearing in ads for Calvin Klein, Levi's, and Coca Cola is no small accomplishment for a 21-year-old woman. Just barely a woman, Cameron felt modeling angst. There was more to her life, and she knew it. As a suggestion from her agent, Diaz tried going down the well-traveled road of modeling to acting. Who would believe after twelve auditions, this fresh actress--born from modeling--would land a small role in Jim Carrey's film, The Mask? Cameron wanted in, and she had the perfect opportunity. "Anything the filmmakers wanted, I would do. But it got to the point where I said, 'You know what? I'm not doing it anymore. I'm not gonna go practice with the choreographer so that he knows the steps he's gonna teach the real girl who gets the job.'" Director Charles Russell caught wind of Cameron's feelings and went to the producers at New Line Cinema, and convinced them to award her the female lead. At the time, Cameron didn't fully understand the scope of what she was getting into. "This is kind of a big film, isn't it?" Diaz asked a month into production. Yes, it was! She got ulcer. Cameron then realized the heavy weight on her shoulders, the responsibility for the success of the film.
The studios weren't too confident or keen in hiring Cameron after the ulcer during Mask production and her injury during Kombat pre-production. So Diaz trotted down the road of independent films, scoring several roles. She played a character named Jude in The Last Supper (1995), directed by Stacy Title. "I did the Last Supper simply to get the opportunity to work with other actors. I never had any other experience acting other than The Mask." It was during this year (1995) that Cameron ended her longstanding, 5-year relationship with Carlos de La Torre. In Feeling Minnesota (1996), she runs off with her brother-in-law (Keanu Reeves). In She's the One (1996), Cameron sleeps with bros. Ed Burns and Mike McGlone. Strangely, many of Cameron's acting roles involved playing vulnerable females, often tied-up; Cameron also displays her well-shaped body in these movies with swimsuits and several swimming scenes. As the wife of a prominent judge (Harvey Keitel) more than twice her age, she finds herself in a terrible mess after discovering a dead body in Head Above Water (1996). That same year, Cameron was named the N.A.T.O./ShowWest Female Star of Tomorrow by the National Association of Theater Owners. She now had several films under her belt, award recognition, and a small following of fans.
Returning to the big-studio films, Cameron's task was to star side-by-side with Hollywood cutie Julia Roberts who was also making somewhat of a return in My Best Friend's Wedding. The summer romantic comedy scored well among critics, not to mention Cameron's performance aside Julia. Cameron then went on to A Live Less Ordinary by Danny Boyle with kidnapper Ewan McGregor. Cameron recently starred in the Faralley brothers' There's Something About Mary with her ex-beau and costar Matt Dillon. This box-office smash earned Cameron her biggest Hollywood boost yet. She followed her comedy shasher with an independent film Very Bad Things (1998) as Laura Garrety. Cameron Diaz's upcoming films include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) as a blonde TV reporter, and On Any given Sunday (1999).