Stripping down to her skivvies initially had her worried. “There are some women you could put in underwear and photograph them, and it looks really classy and it doesn’t necessarily provoke a pinup image,” Fox says with a sigh, flopping her boot back on the floor. “But with me it does, immediately, as soon as I’m in underwear. I’m a Vargas girl. So they were really conscious of that on set, trying to make sure that it didn’t look like we were doing a Victoria’s Secret campaign or a men’s magazine. They wanted it to look like fashion.” Fox shrugs. “Which is hard to do with me.”
Giorgio Armani, for one, isn’t concerned that the images are too va-va-voom. “Megan has an amazing figure,” the designer says. “I’ve never seen lingerie look this good.” As celebrity Web site surfers may know, Fox also has the kind of body that looks great in an old T-shirt and jeans, which is exactly what she wears nearly every day. Rather than expressing herself through conspicuous clothes, Fox opts for tattoos (it has been reported she has eight); she is planning to get another the evening we meet, based on a drawing by a friend from the movie’s hair department who moonlights as a graffiti artist.
“Being super fashion-forward and always stepping out in the latest whatever is out there, being a constant fashion plate, like a Rihanna or whoever—that, to me, seems exhausting,” Fox says. She is in awe of Armani, whose Privé show she attended in Milan last July, and likes Stella McCartney’s pieces—they’re comfortable—but her favorite article of clothing right now is a pair of Ulla Johnson shorts she suspects are about eight seasons old. “She knows when she likes something,” says her stylist, Petra Flannery. On the red carpet, “she is very trusting to try new things.” But in her regular life, Fox says, fashion is “part of your marketing, and I don’t want to market myself as a high-gloss magazine cover every time I walk out of the house.”
Throughout our conversation Fox is talkative, but she has trouble looking me in the eye. Perhaps her hesitation stems from her discomfort with holding forth on an industry that intimidates her, or perhaps it is part of a concerted effort to “pull back” (as she told an interviewer she planned to do late last year) from the no-holds-barred persona that she has—by all appearances intentionally—projected since her big break in 2007’s Transformers. She looks down; she stares at the table; she glances past my shoulder, toward a table piled with jewelry. She wraps a piece of her long dark hair around a finger. There’s nothing spacey about Fox, but the steely, blue-eyed gaze of a woman armed with a thousand sound bites is nowhere to be found.