When asked what her dream role would be, model Barbara Palvin responds swiftly and decisively: “A psycho,” she said, not skipping a beat. “Something out of my comfort zone.” It’s an unexpected answer—especially coming from the doll-faced beauty who made her big screen debut as a gorgeous Greek queen in Hercules and is often tapped by brands like L’Oréal Paris and Armani due to her universal appeal. Then again, it kind of makes perfect sense—her piercing blue eyes and killer curves act as the perfect cover for crazy. This tried-and-trusted formula certainly worked for Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, an iconic character the super played for LOVE’s 2016 advent calendar. “I did feel the pressure because, come on, it’s Sharon Stone—she’s the hottest woman out there,” said Palvin of her performance. “But I think it came out pretty good.” (And yes, we asked the obvious question that comes to mind when one considers that infamous leg-crossing scene: “I was wearing a panty,” she noted.)
But Palvin is full of surprises that juxtapose her bombshell looks and supermodel status. While she lives the life of a jetsetter, jumping between glamorous locales around the globe for red carpet events and splashy photoshoots, she admits to being a homebody who doesn’t like to be away from family or her native Hungary for long. “It’s key for me to go home after three or four months because even I can feel I’m losing myself and my personality,” she explained. “Two days with my parents and I’m back to normal.” She prefers to spend her downtime catching up on SpongeBob than rubbing elbows with the world’s elite. “When I don’t have anything to do I feel useless, I feel like I need to do something,” she said. “But when I’m home I don’t feel that—I can just be on the couch for a week.”
Similarly, when she lived in New York City with best friend and fellow model Stella Maxwell, the pair didn’t spend the majority of their time skipping from one party to another. Instead, a typical night in involved Netflix and takeout. (See—supermodels, they’re just like us.) And unlike former roommates Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, who famously kept only a case of Rolling Rock in their fridge, Palvin and Maxwell’s shelves were fully stocked. “I’m good at grocery shopping, but I try to go to the tiny stores,” said Palvin, who is known to whip up a goulash or a stew on a whim. “If I go to Whole Foods, I leave spending $400. I’m like, ‘Ah, I actually just came in for sour cream. Damn it!’”
And despite being labeled a man-eater (“I eat boys!” she said jokingly on Twitter), the curvaceous beauty, whose been romantically linked to everyone from Justin Bieber to Leonardo DiCaprio to British Formula One race car driver Lewis Hamilton, is unattached at the moment. (She said her sarcasm is partly to blame: “Guess why I’m single?” she laughed.) But you won’t find her browsing Bumble anytime soon. “I prefer one to just walk into my life,” she said in response to online dating. And she doesn’t have a type. “No one has a type—it’s all chemical,” she clarified. “You just click with a person and that’s it.” In short, prince charming should feel free to saunter into her circle—just don’t try any pick-up lines on a plane: “I pass out before we take off, and if someone talks to me, I’m just like…”
What may come as an even bigger shock than Palvin flying solo is the fact that even she—a supermodel with a Maxim cover and Victoria’s Secret campaigns to her name—is subject to body shaming. After some criticized her first appearance in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit issue on social media, she promptly clapped back on Twitter: “Wooow. I got some nasty comments about me being fat. Well, I am not as skinny as when I was 18. But I don’t consider myself fat!” She further drove home the point by nabbing the coveted title of Rookie of the Year in 2016, which subsequently guaranteed her spot in this year’s magazine, which celebrated women like veteran Christie Brinkley, Ashley Graham, Myla Dalbesio, and Olympic athletes Simone Biles and Aly Raisman. “I think it’s amazing that they stand up for all the shapes and all the sizes,” said Palvin, who fully embraces her curves and isn’t set on being the “skinniest model ever.” She works with a personal trainer to stay in fighting shape, but doesn’t necessarily get high on exercise, noting that cardio is “exactly what I need, but I can’t—it’s boring.” (Serving as further proof that supermodels are just like us.)
The other interesting contradiction about Palvin is that despite being a beauty chameleon (exhibited in the images above captured by photographer Miguel Reveriego) and “wearing hair and makeup like no other,” said Vincent Oquendo, makeup artist and FU beauty editor-at-large, she prefers to keep her skin “fresh” and go barefaced off duty. “It’s very important that your inner beauty shows and to be confident,” said Palvin, who regularly reaches for the HydraFresh line and clay masks from L’Oréal Paris. “If I have to go somewhere, I like a bold lip,” she added. “It’s either eye or lip for me—I never do both.” Here, we asked the model and aspiring actress to slip into six distinctly different roles. “Each color is like a character in a play and has a personality all itself,” explained Oquendo. From pure platinum strands to blue braids, Palvin proves she’s the ultimate master of disguise and deception. Here, the supermodel like you’ve never seen her before.