Loan Chabanol

Tanya Taylor dress, $675, Bergdorf Goodman, New York, 212.753.7300; Melissa Kaye Jewelry gold and diamond earrings, $1,980,; Manolo Blahnik sandals, $725, Manolo Blahnik, New York, 212.582.3007. Giambattista Valli belted dress, $2,835,

Nearly five years ago, theFrench model Loan Chabanol moved toNew York to give acting a go. “I hadeverything against me,” she says of hermannequin past and Gallic accent. “I couldn’t find an agent. They would tell me, ‘You don’t have this.’ ‘You don’t have that.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, let me find a way to do it.’ You push the doors open yourself.”

And so she did. She studied at the LeeStrasberg Theatre and Film Institute and landed supporting roles in two 2013 movies: John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo and Paul Haggis’s A-list ensemble drama Third Person.In a few months, she’ll star as Anna, a femme fatale assassin, in the highly anticipated Luc Besson–producedaction flick The Transporter Legacy. “She is a tough woman,” says Chabanol of her character. “It was fun but not always easy. In real life, I’m pretty sweet and normal.”

She’s also back to modeling—as a newly minted L’Oréal Professionnel ItGirl—but, as in every good plot, there’s a twist. This time around, Chabanol, whoappears in the brand’s new haircare campaign, has star power. “I was really happy to be hired for being me,” shesays.

Hair by Brian Buenaventura for L’Oreal Professionnel at Management + Artists; makeup by Georgi Sandev for Chanel at Streeters; manicure by Jackie Saulsbery for Chanel at ArtList; digital technician: Alonzo Maciel; photography assistant: jason lasswell; special thanks to Bar Primi.