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''Tomb Raider'' made flesh

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Lara Croft, the heroine of Eidos’ best-selling Tomb Raider vidgame series, may be an object of fantasy, but the pistol-packing diva makes real-life stars out of the women who portray her at promotional events around the globe. The Croft contract is up for the latest Lara, Britain’s Nell McAndrews, 25, who’ll doff the character’s biker shorts for the first — and last — time in the August Playboy. We couldn’t help but wonder: What’s it like to be Lara?

So how difficult is it to wear a skintight latex costume all day long?
I must have lost a good few pounds every day. If ever I sat on any seats to do a signing I’d leave a big wet spot. It was very embarrassing. At one of these signings someone actually suggested we auction the seat, which I thought was gross, but you know somebody would have bought it.

Did the fans ever scare you?
It was obvious that [some of them] actually believed that the character was real. Sometimes they’d want to pick me up, then they’d realize how heavy I was and their knees would buckle. And you’d get women who’d come up to you and say: ”You’ve ruined my life. My husband does nothing but play the videogame.”

Well, at least you got pretty good at playing the game…
I’ve not completed the game. I’ve only done little bits of it.

Okay. Any tips for the next real-life Lara?
Just use lots of talcum powder.

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