While Adam Rayner may be the star of FX's newest drama, all eyes will be on Tyrant's Moran Atias when the show premieres Tuesday night. It won't just be because she's strikingly beautiful, though Atias is a model — and an award-winning one at that, earning the title of Miss Globe International in 1996, Germany's Top Model of the World in 1997, and Miss Israel in 1998. Instead, the Israeli-born Atias will turn heads as Leila Al Fayeed, a tough, smart political wife in a dictatorial family. “This woman runs shit," she tells W magazine. Now that's a character we can behind.
Sure, we found a similarly powerful woman in Robin Wright's Claire Underwood on House of Cards, but while we're waiting for Season 3 to make its debut, we need to find our fix elsewhere. Luckily, it seems like Leila could be that fix.
In real life, Atias seems less, well, dictatorial than her onscreen persona. She's more likely to get excited about a movie she loves or say nice things about her co-stars on Twitter and Instagram than keep a chokehold on a war-torn country. Here are a few more reasons why Atias should be on your radar.
It's Not Just About Looks — She's An Ideas Person, Too
Before her role on Tyrant, audiences could catch a glimpse of Atias on the big screen this summer in Third Person, an indie movie by Crash director Paul Haggis. (Atias also had a role in the Starz TV adaptation of Crash.) As it turns out, Atias wasn't merely cast in her role as Third Person's Monika, a Roman gypsy — the whole movie was basically her idea. She started bouncing ideas off of Haggis when she was working with him on The Next Three Days. “Moran started pitching ideas at me,” Haggis told Vanity Fair. “At the end of filming we sat down and talked very specifically and honestly about relationships, and I began to think, What if two totally wrong people could actually be right for each other?” Atias later told Variety, “My pitch to Paul was dreadful.” But the conversation was still the seed for Third Person, which Haggis wrote and directed himself, with Atias in a co-starring role.
She's Not Afraid to Get Dirty
Really dirty. To play a believable gypsy in Third Person, Atias told W magazine that she skipped her daily shower in the name of authenticity.
“That specific sweat and grease took weeks,” says the 33-year-old Israeli actress, who went four months without showering. “It takes a lot to be repulsive to Italian men,” she adds, rolling her eyes.
If that's not commitment, we don't know what is.
She Speaks (At Least) Three Languages
And not in a can-keep-up-a-conversation-if-she-has-to kind of fluency, either. Befitting an international star, Atias' social media accounts flip back and forth between English, Hebrew, and Italian — sometimes within the same post. (And, of course, there's always the international language of emojis thrown in there, too.) It makes you feel worldly just to follow her.
She Takes the Most Gorgeous Selfies
We dream of one day taking a photo this good, let alone a quick Instagram pic. And that's not the only one — her whole account is full of beautiful shots. We're officially jealous.
Images: Matthias Clamer/FX Copyright 2014; Maria Marin/Sony Pictures Classics