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by Norman Warwick

If you haven’t met Isabella Rossellini yet, we need to talk!  She is a model, film star and philanthropist and we will share the story of her illustrious family and multifaceted career.

Veranos del Taoro, offer you the opportunity to get to know her up close and enjoy her incredible work, Darwin’s Smile, but first, we’ll tell you who she is!   Isabella Rossellini, daughter of the incomparable Ingrid Bergman and renowned director Roberto Rossellini, is much more than a pretty face on the big screen. Did you know that she was Lancôme’s muse for more than 40 years and that she has a master’s degree in Animal Behaviour and Conservation?

In film, she made her debut in 1979 with Il Prato.

But Isabella isn’t just a movie star; She is also a passionate scientist. With a master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation and an Honorary PhD from the Université du Québec à Montréal, she has dedicated her life to the study of animal behaviour.

Rossellini was born in Rome, the daughter of Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, who was of Swedish and German descent, and Italian director Roberto Rossellini, who was born in Rome from a family originally from PisaTuscany. She has three siblings from her mother: her fraternal twin sister Isotta Ingrid Rossellini, who is an adjunct professor of Italian literature; a brother, Robertino Ingmar Rossellini; and a half-sister, Pia Lindström, who formerly worked on television and is from her mother’s first marriage with Petter Lindström. She has four other siblings from her father’s two other marriages: Romano (who died at age nine), Renzo, Gil, and Raffaella. 

Growing up, she received “a liberal Catholic education”.

Isobella (left) was raised in Rome, as well as in Santa Marinella and Paris. She underwent an operation for appendicitis at the age of five. At 11, she was diagnosed with scoliosis. In order to correct it, she had to undergo an 18-month ordeal of painful stretchings, body casts and surgery on her spine using pieces of one of her shin bones.  Consequently, she has incision scars on her back and shin.

At 19, she went to New York City, where she attended Finch College, while working as a translator and as a television reporter for RAI – Italian Television. She also appeared intermittently on L’altra Domenica (The Other Sunday), a TV show featuring Roberto Benigni. However, Isobella Rossellini (shown right below in The Innocent) decided not to stay full-time in New York until her marriage to Martin Scorsese (1979–1982), whom she met when she interviewed him for RAI.

Rossellini was the president of the jury for the 61st Berlin International Film Festival in 2011. In April 2015, she was announced as the president of the jury for the Un Certain Regard section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

In 2016, Rossellini was cast as Rita Marks, the matriarch of the Marks crime family in the Hulu original series, Shut Eye.

She began a modelling career at the relatively advanced age of 28, appearing on numerous covers of magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair.

An enduring style icon, Ms. Rossellini began a 14-year run in 1982 as the exclusive spokesperson for Lancome. When she turned 40 years old, an age considered too advanced to represent the beauty industry, her contract was not renewed. Isabella launched her own cosmetics brand Manifesto but in 2016 Lancome hired her again as a spokesperson with the specific intent to promote inclusiveness and fight against “ageism”.

Ms. Rossellini made her cinematic debut as an actress in 1979 in the Taviani brothers’ film Il Prato (The Meadow) and has appeared in numerous other films, including the American features Blue Velvet, White Nights, Rodger Dodger, Cousins, Death Becomes Her, Fearless, Big Night and more recently in Joy. She worked with directors from many different directors like Robert Zemeckis, David O. Russell, David Lynch, Robert Wilson Taylor Hackford, Marjane Satrapi and Guy Maddin.

She is also a successful television actress and filmmaker, with a keen interest in animals and wildlife conservation. Her award-winning series of shorts, Green Porno, Seduce Me and Mammas offers comical and scientifically insightful studies of animal behaviors. She toured in 50 different cities with a monologue based on her shorts written with Academy Award winner Jean Claude Carriere. This year she is touring her new theatrical show, Link Link Circus that deals with animal behavior and cognition.

Isabella is completing her master degree in Animal behavior and Conservation at Hunter College in NY and obtain a PhD honors causa from the Science faculty at UQAM (University of Quebec at Montreal).

Isabella also runs an organic farm in Brookhaven is association with the Peconic Land Trust. Her book about raising heritage chickens entitled My Chickens and I is published in the USA by ABRAMS BOOK

Ms. Rossellini’s philanthropic interests embrace preservation of her family’s extraordinary cinematic heritage, including the films directed by her father, Roberto Rossellini, about whom she has written, and those featuring her mother, Ingrid Bergman.

Ms. Rossellini is a mother of two and resides in Bellport, Long Island.

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