Megan Fox is the classic Hollywood hot chick, known more for adorning the covers of men's magazines and "sexiest actress" lists than her dramatic talents.
Add to that the fact that she publicly insulted one of the most powerful directors in the industry, which led to her being fired from the Transformers robot franchise, and the stereotype of the sexy-but-spoilt (and, maybe, slightly dim) starlet is complete.
But in person, Fox does a pretty good job of shattering this impression. Speaking to the Straits Times and other reporters about her new movie, the comic book-inspired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the 28-year-old is opinionated but also unfailingly thoughtful, articulate and engaging, albeit given to the odd bout of New Age kookiness.
The star of the first two Transformers movies (2007 and 2009) is also unexpectedly hilarious, although with a bone-dry wit that means comments such as the one she made at a press conference over the weekend - saying that those who do not like the movie "can f*** off" - do not translate well into print.
Zingers like these are accompanied by an unmistakable glint of mischief and humour in those searing blue eyes. She also appears utterly comfortable in her own skin and, as a result, unusually at ease dealing with the press.
The banter begins as soon as she walks into the room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles and remarks how muggy it is that day. A male reporter, clearly enthralled by this vision in a tasteful monochrome dress, feels the need to apologise for the weather, to which the actress immediately says, with pitch-perfect comic flair: "I mean, I don't imagine it's your fault..."
She soon has the table in stitches again with a series of wisecracks that she delivers deadpan, including one about her childhood obsession with the 1991 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action movie, The Secret Of The Ooze, which featured rapper Vanilla Ice.
"I remember having a big crush on Vanilla Ice, who, strangely, looks a little bit like my husband, if you think about it," she quips. She is referring to former 90210 star and long-time partner Brian Austin Green, 41 - the father of her sons Noah, one, and Bodhi, five months old - who can be seen waiting for her to complete her interviews that day.
While other actors will typically freeze at intrusive or impertinent questions, or roll their eyes at ones they have heard multiple times before, Fox is an absolute pro.
Quizzed on whether being so beautiful has affected her career for better or for worse, she notes that she gets "asked this question a lot", but still gives it due consideration.
"I guess I don't really identify with it that much - I feel like actresses are supposed to be attractive people, that's how it's been since the beginning of Hollywood, and I can't imagine it getting in your way.
"And I think in terms of being taken seriously as an actress, that falls on me to prove whether or not I've earned that, those accolades or respect."
She continues: "I don't think that people underestimate me because of how I look. However, I do feel that being a woman, you're underestimated more often than men, just in general, because we still live in a misogynistic society."
She is unapologetic about continuing to star in these blockbuster popcorn movies that are big on action and adventure, but often thin on character and story, anticipating this critique in the middle of one journalist's rambling remark about how her comedic work shows more of her range.
"So why did I go backwards, is that what you want to know?" she asks with a smile.
"No, I want to stick with this genre because I love it - I love watching these movies, I love being in these movies.
"I'm not like a really intense, suffering artist who needs to make something that will be nominated for an Oscar - I don't care about that. Life should be fun, I don't think it should be so serious or such a struggle. And I want my career to reflect that, so if I can continue making movies like this, I'll be really happy."
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