Born the 11th of May, 1978, Laetitia Maria Laure Casta is the middle child to father Dominique and mother Line. Dominique, raised on the island of Corsica, moved to Normandy where he met Laetitia's mother. Laetitia (which means "joy" in Latin) enjoyed drawing and writing stories at an early age, and admits that she was quite a daydreamer in grade school.

Although she surprisingly didn't attract many males while in school and recalls feeling awkward and self-conscious, her luck began to change at age 15. Laetitia was discovered by a photographer and an agent from an important Paris modeling agency, Madison Models, while on a beach near Corsica.

After her father finally agreed to the agency taking some test photos of Laetitia, it took the founder of Madison Models no time to see her unmistakable potential; she didn't even need the help of makeup or nice clothes, as she came to the photo shoot in jeans and a T-shirt. Laetitia's career took off when the extremely busy director of the French edition of Elle was also impressed by Laetitia's looks.

Modeling contracts and appearances in magazines quickly ensued. In search of another star, Paul Marciano -- founder and art director of Guess? and credited for the success of Claudia Schiffer -- was immediately taken by Laetitia's perfection. Thanks to Marciano, Americans had the luxury of getting acquainted with Laetitia for her work in the Guess? ad campaign. Her work as the Guess? Girl was her debut advertising campaign.

Next came her work with Victoria's Secret, in 1996. Laetitia graced many covers of the Victoria's Secret catalog, featured as one of the Angels, the name attributed to the other four models of the company.

In 1997, Laetitia joined the ranks of fellow models by appearing in the popular Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, for a total of three consecutive years.

One year later she was honored by Rolling Stone, who named her the hottest model of the year, and placed a nude Laetitia on the cover of their "Hot" issue. Although this was not the first time the magazine had featured a nude celebrity on the cover, it was considered the most controversial issue.

In addition to Rolling Stone, Laetitia has graced the pages of many magazines, including the Italian edition of Glamour; Vogue; and Cosmopolitan, to name a few.

Guess? and Victoria's Secret weren't the only modeling contracts signed by Laetitia. She became a spokesperson for the cosmetics company L'Oreal in 1998, following in the paths of fellow model Kate Moss and actress Jennifer Aniston.

One of the biggest highlights of Laetitia's career is her relationship with designer Yves St. Laurent. The designer has considered Laetitia an inspiration since 1998, and consequently the outfits she wears to public appearances are all personal Yves St. Laurent creations.

Her appearance in the exclusive Pirelli calendar -- considered a collector's item because of the beautiful shots by only the best photographers -- can also be considered one of Laetitia's accomplishments. The 1999 issue, themed "Women Through the Decades," features Laetitia as representative of the women of the 1950s.

As if an illustrious modeling career wasn't enough, Laetitia has also taken her talents to the big screen in her feature film debut -- 1999's Astérix and Obélix -- the most expensive French film ever made, co-starring Gerard Depardieu and Oscar winner Roberto Benigni. Laetitia also starred in La Bicyclette Bleu (The Blue Bicycle), a three-part made-for-French TV movie set in World War II France.

Adding to an already complete portfolio, Laetitia posed nude in print advertisements and billboards for diamond e-tailer Clad solely in strands of gems, diamonds had to be added to Laetitia's body digitally to censor the controversial ad (apparently there was concern that the billboards would cause accidents).

She ventured into music video when she appeared in the Chris Isaak video for "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing," shot by fashion/celebrity photographer Herb Ritts.

In 1999, Laetitia was honored by her native country when she was chosen by French mayors to appear on French coins and stamps for 10 years, as the image of Marianne (embodiment of the French Republic), an honor formerly held by Brigitte Bardot.

The official face of France will next be seen in Les Ames Fortes (a.k.a. Strong Souls). Playing the part of a young peasant must have been a more challenging task for Laetitia, but it was finally the kind of role she was looking for; one that didn't rely on her good looks (who are we kidding, she's a goddess whether she's in rags or a ball gown).

She can also add "maman" to her list of accomplishments, as Laetitia is expecting her first child in fall 2001, with her fashion photographer boyfriend, Stephane Sednaoui.

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