From March 2011
By: Lisa Arcella
Emmanuelle Chriqui Charms Us
Emmanuelle Chriqui is sipping her morning coffee in her West Hollywood home on a rainy Thursday morning. Wearing sweats and no makeup, her chestnut-colored hair pulled back into a ponytail, she still manages to look like the epitome of Hollywood glamour as she curls up on a plush rug with lots of pillows and a cashmere blanket—all in white. It all looks very film noir and dramatic, yet comfortable at the same time.
“I wanted it to be peaceful here,” Chriqui says. “It’s my Zen spot. It’s where I can go ‘aah’ every time I come home. I have a wood-burning fireplace, and I love to light all the candles in my house and lie on my fluffy rug next to the fire. Then it feels like this is exactly what I imagined my home to be.”
The 34-year-old actress has good reason for her need of quiet time: Her life has been a whirlwind since winning the part of Entourage’s imperturbable Sloan McQuewick. In addition to the HBO hit drama, she’s been in numerous feature films, including You Don’t Mess with the Zohan with Adam Sandler (who nicknamed her Manny). Two movies of hers will be released this month, Elektra Luxx, starring her Entourage costar Carla Gugino, and Girl Walks Into a Bar, the first feature film to be released exclusively on the Internet. She also has a pivotal role in the upcoming Showtime series The Borgias with Jeremy Irons, and there is even talk of an Entourage feature film after the show ends its run. In her (very) spare time, the busy actress has a serious boyfriend (whom she doesn’t like to talk about).
“My life definitely changed so much, and I know how lucky I am to not only be able to do my passion every day as a job, but to be able to sustain myself that way,” she says. “My career has become divided into ‘before Entourage’ and ‘after Entourage.’”
Buzzing around town in her Prius, the 5-foot-3 Montreal native (she’d love to one day do a film in French) says she is only occasionally recognized for her role as Sloan, the love interest of star Kevin Connolly for the last six of the show’s seven seasons. (Shooting for the eighth and final season, which will air this summer, begins in April.) “I feel like Sloan is always red-carpet ready and I’m not,” she says. “I’m not kidding. I will go out in my sweats and no makeup and a baseball cap, and no one will say anything. Nothing. But I put on heels and some makeup and have my hair done, and I’m instantly recognized. I think the main difference between us is that Sloan is cool as a cucumber and doesn’t ever seem to get frazzled, which is so the opposite of me.”
It’s a testament to Chriqui’s charm and ability to understand the role of the Hollywood mogul’s daughter and fiancée to Connolly’s novice power player, Eric “E” Murphy, which turned what was meant to be a three-episode arc into a full-time gig. The two actors clicked right from the start. “He asked the creators if he could give me the offer,” Chriqui says of Connolly. “He called me up and said, ‘Hey, what are you doing? Let’s go celebrate!’”
“I clearly remember the first time I ever saw her,” Connolly says. “We always said the thing about Sloan is that she’s everybody’s dream girl—she’s pretty, smart, does charity work and, oh by the way, will say, ‘Let’s have a threesome with my best friend.’ Emmanuelle won everyone over right away. Of course, at first you see her and you think, Oh my God! She’s that beautiful. But over time the relationship has evolved into that brother-sister thing that makes for better work, and she’s also someone I go to with problems. When my mom died of cancer, Emmanuelle was very good to me.”
Chriqui is certainly familiar with love and loss. Her Orthodox Jewish, Moroccan-born parents immigrated to Canada and raised their two daughters and son in Toronto until her mother died of complications from colon cancer when Emmanuelle was just 16. “My mom had three remissions after they had given her just six months to live, and she ended up living for four more years,” she says. “She was a very spiritual woman, not religious as much as spiritual. She did Reiki and visualization and introduced me to this whole New Age world that is such an integral part of my life now. She left me with the greatest gift of all: this will to live and the fight in her.”