Rising British talent Keira Knightley claims her belly button piercing won her a role in upcoming film Love Actually.

The 18-year-old actress had her belly pierced when she was just 12 - because her mother thought it would cheer Keira up after she fell out with some school friends.

She recalls, "I was about a week away from my 13th birthday and having a really bad time at school, breaking up with friends and having to make new ones, and my mum suddenly decided I needed something cool to cheer me up.

"Everything would have been absolutely fine if I hadn't been about to do a TV production of Oliver Twist. I had to wear this really tight corset and it kept rubbing, which absolutely killed."

However, the pesky piercing was to secure Keira a role in the new film from Bridget Jones's Diary director Richard Curtis.

She continues, "My mum always wanted it to be my little secret, but it's become a bit of a trademark. Apparently Richard Curtis fell in love with it when he saw Bend It Like Beckham. That's how I got to be in his film Love Actually.

"I went into the audition and he said, 'I want that belly-button piercing in my film!'"

28/07/2003 17:31