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‘It’s empowering and thrilling; all of a sudden they’re handing me a machine gun.’ Eyes lighting up, she wields an imaginary weapon and shoots the air. We built forts, we hiked, we went camping and they wanted us to be independent,’ she says.‘You realise how dangerous and powerful they can be. ’Brooklyn, a self-confessed tomboy, and her younger brother Jordan were raised in Matthews, a town near Charlotte, by Tessa, a nurse, and Stephen, who programmes pacemakers. ‘It’s how children grew up in the 1940s and 50s: outside all the time, playing in the dirt, riding your bike around.She has appeared in music videos for Jimmy Buffett and the band 3 Doors Down.She is also an avid North Carolina Tar Heels basketball and Carolina Panthers fan.From the cute choppy hair and the bright white smile to the Valentino kitten heels, Brooklyn Decker, it has to be said, is also a whole lot more California than Carolina.Married to tennis superstar Andy Roddick, Brooklyn was perhaps previously best known for sitting courtside, cheering on her husband at tournaments around the world.She was having fun with it, being bold.’ Infusing the film with realism, director Peter Berg cast non-actor US Army Colonel Gregory Gadson, who lost both legs in Iraq, in a key supporting role.‘Greg was incredibly inspirational. In one scene he was supposed to be hiking in the mud; obviously the task was much more difficult on prosthetics than it would be for me, but the crew and I were more concerned about it than he was.

Then I started getting a couple of TV shows and finally my first movie,’ says Brooklyn, referring to the comedy Just Go With It, in which she starred alongside Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston (moviegoers may remember the ‘bikini-off’ scene where Jennifer infamously held her own against the 24-year-old Brooklyn).

In 2007, she had a recurring feature on the CNN/SI website called "She Says, Z Says," along with Paul Zimmerman, discussing NFL football games of the week.

Decker appeared in the 2007 made-for-television Lipshitz Saves the World.

Praised by critics for her ‘natural allure’, she’ll soon be seen starring opposite Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Kitsch and Liam Neeson in Battleship, the splashiest 0-million sci-fi blockbuster of the year.

Her success, she says, comes down to a mixture of luck, hard graft and resilience in the face of repeated rejections.

‘To start with people would dismiss me, simply because I was a model.

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