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Five Swedish actresses who make us swoon

Written by Helene Pilhage

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Posted on February 24 2016

With the Academy Awards just around the corner, I am feeling especially patriotic and thrilled to see the very gorgeous and talented Swedish actress Alicia Vikander nominated for The Danish Girl.

 

It got me thinking about all the beautiful, unique actresses that have come from Sweden – they have such a distinctive and yet enigmatic quality. They are glamorous, but also a little mysterious – it’s a very charismatic combination. Here are a few of my favourites:

Ingrid Bergman

Because of course! She is one of the great Swedish beauties and a Hollywood icon. I particularly love this image of her – the sweet cross stitched blouse, the open smile, all that luscious, curly hair. What a stunner. The story goes that she was so appalled and incredulous when, in her first meeting with a big time Hollywood producer, he declared that she would be given a Hollywood makeover complete with shaved eyebrows and a strict diet. She held her ground and became famous for her natural beauty as well as for being professional and unpretentious. 

Anita Eckberg

Unlike Ingrid, Anita had not had a career in movies within Sweden before she moved to America. She was often criticised by the Swedish press for "abandoning" Sweden and taking on an American accent. I think her bombshell beauty and sex symbol status (thanks especially to that famous scene in the Trevi Fountain in La Dolce Vita!) was not respected in her home country. Her voluptuous, in-your-face beauty and coquettishness was more accepted in her adopted home of Italy. But she was Swedish and, sex symbol or not, still had the fresh-faced, outdoorsy, glowing loveliness that I associate with that era of Scandinavian beauties. Gorgeous. 

Sofia Helin

I've been addicted all those Scandinavian crime and political dramas that have filled our televisions over the last few years - The Killing, Borgen, Wallander, The Eagle... But my absolute favourite is The Bridge starring the enigmatic and strangely compelling Sofia Helin, who is a much admired and well established actress in Sweden. With her wild hair, leather pants, and strange ways, the character she plays is a far cry from the real Sofia. But there is a mesmerizing quality in Sofia - her scarred face is all the more beautiful for its imperfection. In the US it would have been "fixed" and erased. We barely see her smile in character as Saga Noren and so when we do it's like a verirtable burst of sunshine and for a moment she has the look of a classic Scandinavian blonde babe. But I like her dark side....

Noomi Rapace

Noomi is another unusual beauty who we are used to seeing play dark, tortured characters - most famously in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. She is a real chameleon, sometimes unrecognisable from film to film. Except for those extraordinary cheekbones! 

And last, but by no means ever least....

Greta Garbo

The ultimate enigma. Elusive, moody, mysterious, deeply charismatic, Garbo was an icon in her own time and the myth only continues to deepen. Her impact on the screen was palpable as was her impact on fashion, hairstyles, make up and attitude. A true one of a kind. 

Greta Garbo

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