Dress the Part

Actress Andie MacDowell, who costars in this month's Footloose, rocks a frock like nobody's business -- and she has passed that gene to her daughter Rainey Qualley.
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When Andie MacDowell instinctively rearranges a few wisps of her daughter Rainey's hair -- just as our photographer is about to snap his first shots -- no one on set fails to whisper "awww." Not even the stylist who's spent forever getting every strand just so. Yes, the mother-daughter energy in the room is ridiculously, disarmingly sweet: While MacDowell is happy to discuss her role in Footloose or her 25th anniversary with L'Oreal Paris (more on both in a minute), she all but levitates when she's talking about Rainey, who's going into the family business of modeling and acting -- with some singing and songwriting on the side. "She's this tiny thing, but she sounds bizarrely like Etta James," says MacDowell. "It's like God blew air in her lungs." Wherever Rainey got the pipes, she inherited other traits directly from her mom: a voracious appetite for reading, enviable posture -- and an abiding love of dresses.

"When she was little she had a hard time deciding what to wear," says MacDowell. "And you know, when you're trying to get to school, you're on a schedule, so I'd give her a choice of three dresses. And she'd still be really slow. So I'd grab one and have it say, 'Hi, Rainey. I would like to go to school with you today. Look at me! I can twirl! Pick me!'"

"Oh yeah," interjects Qualley. "She would torture me. She would make the dress cry if I didn't choose it." Yet despite such fraught beginnings, dresses have remained a lifelong favorite for both women, who like to wear some variation on the fitted-frock-with-cozy-sweater theme. "And I think that's something else I've inherited from my mom," says Qualley. "She has a lot of cozy sweaters."

Another collection Qualley's routinely borrowed from: the bounteous L'Oreal Paris lipsticks. Even as a kid she'd duck into her ballet studio's bathroom to swipe some on: "I wouldn't go to class without my red lipstick." Of course, one benefit of having the longest consecutive beauty contract in history, i.e., MacDowell's, is that your daughter can poach all the lipstick she wants. And MacDowell's got a lifetime supply of anti-aging products, too.

Even so, has she ever been tempted by ye olde nip-tuck? (Yeah, we asked; no, we're not proud.) "We all think about it in this business, and I never pass judgment," MacDowell says. "But I don't scrutinize myself often. I'm too busy living my life and doing the things that matter to me."

One of those things is playing the reverend's wife in the new remake of the 1984 hit Footloose. MacDowell loves Vi's quiet prescience -- and the production's booming beats. "I have a small but great role that gave me the chance to be in something spectacular," she says. Frock on, Andie.

 

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