Penelope Cruz doesn’t do much comedy, but the Oscar-winning actress acquits herself nicely in “Zoolander 2,” playing Valentina, an officer in Interpol’s probably fashion police division. Her character teams with Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander and Owen Wilson’s Hansel McDonald to find out who’s killing some of the world’s biggest celebrities (most gruesomely Justin Bieber). Cruz, now 41, says comedy’s a natural fit for someone who loves a good laugh.

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How would you define Valentina Valencia?
She is incredibly beautiful — a sensual Latin fashion police who exudes sexuality, but it's all business with her. She simply wants to find out who is killing these artists. The strangest thing is that I received the proposal when I was in South Africa buying diapers. I shouted with excitement because I belong to that group of fans who have seen “Zoolander” more than 10 times.

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Did you fall in love with Valentina?
I like this character because she has many colors and many facets. She is smart and efficient, but there is also something out of balance in her. From the beginning, I had to find how to exactly express this oddity and show that she was also quite strange in parallel with Derek.

You’re used to red carpets, but was it difficult entering the world of models?
The only tricky part was modeling in front of a crowd — that makes me nervous. So on red carpets I usually think I'm in character. It is easier to walk that way.

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If you're not acting, what do you do in your spare time?
Being a mother is a full-time job that I love, but you would be surprised if I revealed that I have other skills. I'm a closet hairdresser; haircutting relaxes me.

What do you enjoy most about life?
Laughing, laughing and laughing. Being with family, friends and good conversation. I do not drink alcohol, but I love food. I love to laugh until tears come out. Usually people see me in dramas, but I really enjoy comedy.

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