September 11, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

”I love the diversity of America. I love the plain, normal sense of humor Americans have. It is not wicked, like in some countries. And I also love how new America is. You know, the culture thing in Europe is nice, but sometimes it doesn’t allow the artist to move freely. America is much more free.” — Antonio Banderas, Spanish-born star of The Mask of Zorro, on E! Online

”I had some friends who were beauty contestants and they take it very seriously, VERY seriously, and they are groomed from an early age. And it’s a very distorted reality, you know…. [Y]ou could take a town full of three million girls and there would be two million nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand of them more talented than the girl that’s in the pageant.” — Kirstie Alley on playing a beauty-pageant mom in the upcoming Dairy Queens, on Entertainment Tonight Online

”They gave me a little trophy [after a day of filming a fun scene]…because we had a guy who had my zipper rigged with fishing wire and he was behind me trying to pull it down to make it look like it was about to fall.” — Dance With Me‘s Vanessa Williams on the rigors of acting, on ET Online

”The biggest problem I had was when you go to school to learn English, they teach you the perfect way: ‘How do you do?’ and ‘How are you?’ Then you go out on the street, and you think you speak English, and you hear, ‘Hey, mama, yo, mama, yo, whassup?’… I was looking for ‘Yo, mama, yo’ [in the dictionary] and it was not there.” — French Canadian Celine Dion on her adoptive language, on E! Online

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