Supermodel-cum-Hollywood actress Amber Valletta hit the runway in her late teens, and, though a frequent presence in fashion ads for several years prior, first made national headlines in July 1993. That summer, under representation by Boss Models, the svelte 19-year-old Oklahoman blonde upstaged heavyweight Cindy Crawford as the primary spokeswoman for Capezio handbags -- and turned more than a few heads in the process. Not long after, Valletta also signed on as the chief spokeswoman for Elizabeth Arden. In 1996, Valletta succeeded Crawford again -- this time as the co-host (alongside Shalom Harlow) of MTV's hit documentary series House of Style. The by-now-familiar program found Valletta and Harlow carrying viewers behind the scenes of the fashion world, and (in the process) covered everything from runway preparation to before-the-camera apparel to anorexia nervosa. In 1999, Valletta's modeling intersected with social work when she helped raise over 350,000 dollars for the St. Jude Royal Gala Benefit in Monte Carlo, and later parlayed that effort into a promotional tour for Elizabeth Arden Splendor perfume that had Valletta and other company reps giving terminally ill children heartstring-tugging "moments of splendor."
Although hosting duties on House of Style represented Valletta's first broad leap into filmed entertainment, she delayed her cinematic work for another four years. In 2000, the model debuted onscreen as the spirit of a murdered coed in Robert Zemeckis' Hitchcock retread, What Lies Beneath, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford. Valletta's roles -- given the actress' off-camera motherhood and intermittent magazine work -- accumulated slowly over the next several years (in films such as the Nicolas Cage holiday vehicle The Family Man and the Danny DeVito-directed black comedy Duplex); as a result, Valletta only ascended gradually to top billing. In 2005, however, she attained her highest-profile exposure to date (and gained much-deserved respect as an actress) in the Andy Tennant-directed romantic comedy Hitch. As Allegra Cole, the city's most eligible bachelorette, who falls for the least likely candidate (overweight and self-conscious klutz Kevin James), Valletta played an admirable straight man to both James and "date doctor" Alex "Hitch" Hitchens (Will Smith).