This is a 1960 Lydia Lane article. Enjoy!
When MG.M gave the coveted romantic lead in “Ben-Hur” to Haya Harareet, she was unknown to us, but in Israel she was their leading actress. The photograph I had seen of her scarcely resembled the poised, slim beauty in a chic Dior gown whom I saw at a premiere recently. A few days later, when I mentioned this to Miss Hararett, she confessed, “I have had to study fashion and make-up. In my country we are not conscious of these things: In school and during my two years basic training in the army, I did not wear lipstick. So when I went to Europe, it never occurred to me that I would be judged by my appearance.” Haya was chosen to play the lead in an English picture made in Tel Aviv, and with the money she went to tendon to live. Her budget for lodging, food and entertainment was $75 a month. “I wanted to see as much of the theater as I could, so I found a tiny room that cost only $4.50 a month. I cut my hair short, so that it would be easy to take care of. I wore clothes that were warm but not fashionable because I used to stand in line early in the morning to get cheap scats in the front row of the balcony. ‘ “It was quite a triumph to return to London four years later as the star of ‘Ben-Hur’,” she said with a smile.
“My bathroom at the Claridges Hotel was much larger than my old bedroom in the boarding house.” , “To what do you attribute your success?” I asked. “Of course there is always fate, but I think there is more hard work and good judgment in good luck than most people realize. . ‘ “When I. first came’to Hollywood, I was puzzled by all this talk of being psychoanalyzed and about the increased number of mentally ill persons and I wondered what causes it. “In my country, life is hard. We think of it as a battle, and from an early age we are prepared to face conflicts. It seems to me that one needs to be trained to cope with problems ‘ and to realize that we grow by overcoming them.” Miss Harareet’s English is excellent and I learned that in their schools it is -a required the course. She also speaks four other languages. She was living in Paris when the news came asking her to fly to Rome for another “Ben-Hur” test. “This came as a great surprise,” she confessed, “as I had given up all hope of getting the role and I had let myself get overweight. I wasn’t fat, but I knew I had to lose to look well on the screen. “I had three days of rehearsals in Rome, and during that time I went on a starvation diet and dropped six pounds.”
“You must have a lot of discipline,” I remarked. . “About some things,” she admitted, “but grooming isn’t one of them. In my country, young girls do not wear make-up and I was used to seeing myself without it. Even in London I didn’t use any, but one day I came into the commissary in Rome to lunch with my director, he went into a huddle with the publicity man. Although they were afraid of offending me, they exaJained that with no lipstick and my hair in curlers, people wouldn’t understand that I always looked like this. They would feel that 1 didn’t care enough to make myself attractive for them and perhaps they’d, be offended. There was only tfme for me to tie up my head in a scarf and put on some lipstick, but after lunch I went to the make-up department and asked them to teach me how to use cosmetics. And after the picture was completed, I went to Paris and bought a complete new wardrobe,” she concluded.