'Mademoiselle' Knightley succeeds Moss in Coco deal

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The Independent Online

One secured an Oscar nomination when she was barely out of her teens and has a clean-cut image as an English rose.

The other is a decade older and has seen her image damaged by a tabloid scandal over allegations of a drug scandal.

Yesterday Keira Knightley, 21, sealed her success in the modelling world after winning a lucrative deal with Chanel from the supermodel Kate Moss.

The news is unlikely to please Moss, 32, who was said to be 'furious' when Chanel ended her £750,000 a year contract to promote the Coco Mademoiselle perfume in the wake of the drugs scandal last September.

Chanel was one among a series of brands, including Burberry and high street chain, H&M, that did not renew the model's contract after the scandal broke over her alleged use of cocaine.

The cosmetics company confirmed yesterday that Knightley, the star of Pride and Prejudice , had landed the Mademoiselle deal, following in the footsteps of actress Nicole Kidman and singer Vanessa Paradis in fronting a Chanel scent campaign.

Jacques Helleu, Chanel's artistic director, praised Knightley's precocious talents.

"Keira Knightley is a bright, young actress who has already made her mark in a diverse portfolio of films, including her Oscar-nominated performance in Pride And Prejudice ," she said.

A Chanel statement likened Knightley's qualities to those of the legendary French actress, Catherine Deneuve.

It read: "Keira's elegance, beauty and modernity are but a few of the qualities that parallel the iconic faces featured in the legendary Chanel fragrance campaigns, including Mademoiselle Chanel as the first face of No 5 in 1937, followed by Catherine Deneuve and, most recently, Nicole Kidman."

The actress also cemented her role as one of the world's most desirable women after an FHM magazine survey voted her top of a poll of the world's 100 Sexiest Women.

The actress, who was described by the magazine editor, Ross Brown, as an "English rose like no other", beat off competition from the likes of actresses Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz and also Kate Moss, who was place in 87th position.

Knightley first caught the eye of Hollywood directors as a teenager in 2002 when she played the tomboy footballer Jules in Bend It Like Beckham , an inter-racial comedy directed by Gurinder Chadha.

Three years earlier, she had secured her first high-profile film role in 1999 as Sabe in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace .

But it was not until the success of Bend it Like Beckham that she began receiving lead roles in films including Richard Curtis' Love Actually and Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl , in which she starred alongside Johnny Depp.

She received her first Best Actress Oscar nomination this year for her role as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride And Prejudice , losing to Reese Witherspoon for her role as June Carter in Walk The Line .

The actress already has a £1million contract to promote Royal jewellers Asprey.

Her next project is believed to be a big-screen version of Ian McEwan's best-selling novel, Atonement , which will begin shooting in June.

The actress reportedly bought a £1.5million mansion in Mayfair last year as well as owning a £1million home in California.

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