Parade – February 2009

In Step With … Isla Fisher

Based on a series of hilarious, best-selling novels, the new Disney film Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring the dazzling Isla Fisher and an extraordinary cast, may well be the best-dressed movie since The Devil Wears Prada.

“I’ve never been a shopaholic myself,” Fish­er insisted. “And I hope people aren’t offended by this display of excess. Because it’s based on books that came out long before the economic crisis, with so many young couples in difficulty. My heart goes out to them.”

Born in Oman in the Persian Gulf, where her Scots father was working as a U.N. banking expert, Isla (pronounced EYE-lah) grew up in Australia, where she started at age 9 doing commercials and soaps. She made a bow in Hollywood in Scooby-Doo but may be best known for her riotous performance in Wedding Crashers, opposite Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

Knowing she’d been born in such an exotic locale, I asked if Isla had ever gone back to Oman.

“Never,” the actress said. “But to the Middle East itself many times—to Jordan and Israel and other places.”

Where does she currently live?

“I’m based in North London,” said Isla, “and I’m still a British subject. Living there and then being brought back to California for a movie role is the best of all possible worlds.”

What is she currently working on?

“I haven’t worked for nine months except doing voice-overs for an animated film with Johnny Depp. I’m still getting to be a full-time mother,” Isla said, referring to 16-month-old Olive Baron Cohen, whose father (and Isla’s fiancé) is that tall, offbeat comic Sacha Baron Cohen—better known as Borat.

Isla is exceptionally private, but she opened up to me about her family.

“I just got back from an afternoon date with the doctor,” Isla told me. “Olive was getting a shot. She didn’t cry, only gave out a sort of squeal. But I’d brought along a squeaky toy as a reward for being brave, and that made her very happy.”

As for life with Sacha, who was off on location, Isla sounded elated. “Besides being in love with him,” she said, “I’m his biggest fan. I think my fiancé is hilarious.”

Brady’s Bits
Handsome British stage star Hugh Dancy plays Isla’s love interest in Confessions. Did she know him well? “I’d never met Dancy before. I just knew Claire Danes was his girlfriend,” said Isla. “We shot the movie in New York, Connecticut, and Miami. I was so happy to be out of winter.” What are her plans? “I’m now writing and producing a film for myself, with Amy Poehler of Saturday Night Live fame,” said Isla. “She’s working at the moment, and we have to get back to it. It’s called Groupies, about girls who hang around rock bands.” But aren’t they all dumb teenage kids? “Not at all,” Isla said with a laugh. “There are dum-dum 30-year-old groupies too.”

Born Feb. 3, 1976, in Muscat, Oman. Engaged to Sacha Baron Cohen; one daughter.

Why You Know Her
She stole the show as a spoiled, oversexed bridesmaid in Wedding Crashers (2005).

What You Don’t Know
At age 18, she published two novels, Bewitched and Seduced by Fame. “I wanted to be a novelist,” she said.