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Realistic inventory of company assets is part of that job."Oh, my skin, it was so amazing, if I say so myself," she says.

Her manner is composed, her posture high in the saddle, and she combats any impression of aloofness this might leave with waves of genteel chattiness. In L'Oréal hair color commercials, Mac Dowell's hair is invariably straight, long, and impossibly liquid, but in real life it's thick and ringlety, and sometimes as she talks a lock of it falls across her face and over those eyes. The fantasy under discussion all began, she tells me, this spring with a L'Oréal stylist, or really with the clothes he was dressing her in for the shoot that day. "She proceeds to pose on a stool the way she did that day in Paris: back arched, legs spread, arms out, more Bond Girl than Southern Belle.

Her eyes are not afraid of contact; it probably says "brown" on her license, but the color is closer to blood orange, enhanced today by smoky eye shadow and the occasional squint against the L. For one look he gave her a bra and a pair of heels and a loose shirt Mac Dowell called "kind of sexy." Since Mac Dowell, a native of Gaffney, South Carolina, cultivates a Dixie tendency toward euphemism and understatement, it's probably safe to say the outfit looked blatantly lascivious. And what exactly was she doing in her mind at that point?

The wistful tone is unmistakable, but she still apologizes. But it and joined her mother for the film's premiere in Cannes this spring, and Margaret, 17, spent the summer (the last before her senior year in high school) taking scene study at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). (Perhaps this has something to do with her own experience: Her mother, an alcoholic, died at 53 of a heart attack, a fact that sent Andie to the doctor a lot last year, when she too was 53.) She raised her kids far from Hollywood on purpose, first on the ranch in Montana and later in a home in Asheville, North Carolina, which she recently sold.

"It sounds like complete vanity, but if I showed you..." She mentions a weeklong photo shoot with Albert Watson in Kenya for British Up on the big screen, the flawless complexion that gets her so much print work comes alive. And she was notorious for deleting unnecessary expletives from her dialogue on the chance that her children might spot their mom onscreen someday.

"Directors would say, 'You did a really good job, but we're going to hire a name,'" she remembers.

Rainey, undaunted, is following her mother's blueprint.She prepared Lady Mac Beth's "unsex me now" monologue for the start of the RADA program."I'm sort of introverted, and I wanted to counteract my natural tendencies," she says. Margaret lives with her mom in Venice, and Rainey lives in Marina del Rey, a 10-minute bike ride down the beach, with her boyfriend Richard Kohnke (the two met when they were cast as a couple in is picked up as a pilot for a new series, she'll be even busier.She has noticed that many photographers long to be directors, and they like it that "a lot of the times in photographs I'm doing something completely different in my mind." When that happens, she says, pictures in a magazine capture a moment instead of just recording a pose.Over chai tea at Café Vardo, a Gypsy/vegetarian coffee shop and bar next to her favorite yoga place in Venice, California, Mac Dowell confirms qualities she has always brought to movies.As a result of that performance, she was cast as the male lead, the title character, in her class's production of . But except for when the studios send a car to take her to work, it's a life of walking or maybe biking distance, fulfilling in all regards but one.