March 6, 2010 -- The to-die-for dress. The killer body. The perfect poise.
How do they do it?
Well, they -- "they," of course, being the women of the Oscars -- have secrets. Secrets that allow them to glow like goddesses and strut like supermodels. And like the gowns that they'll wear on the red carpet Sunday night, not all of their secrets are pretty.
Check out below the top-five under-wraps facts about what happens when stars stop being polite and start getting ready.
1. They don't pay for their gowns. Not a cent. A dress that might retail for $50,000 to $100,000, the Sandra Bullocks, Anne Hathaways and Penelope Cruzes of the world often wear for free. "You lend the dress to them and hopefully they will be photographed and that's the payoff," said celebrity stylist Nick Verreos, who has dressed Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, competed on "Project Runway" and glammed up everyday women on "The Victory Project."
"For nominees especially, design houses will make that custom dress for them for free in exchange for knowing that they will say, 'Valentino' or 'YSL,' when they're interviewed on the red carpet. They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the dress but if it's a hit, that can mean a million dollars worth of advertising for the brand."
But don't get too jealous. Couture creations rarely end up in actresses' closets.
"The designer will usually take the dress back after the ceremony and keep it in their archive," Verreos said. "Years down the road, if their dresses are showcased in an exhibition, they can say, 'So and so wore this to the Oscars.'"
2. They spend Oscar morning doing push-ups. Signature strapless dresses may not cost money for Hollywood's leading ladies, but they don't come without a price.
"I always recommend 12 push-ups and 30-seconds to a minute of jump rope -- repeat three or four times," said celebrity trainer Kacy Duke, who has whipped Julianne Moore, Rachel Weiss, Iman, Gwen Stefani and more stars into shape. "It works the upper body and it gives you a really good sweat and a nice warm up before getting ready for the big day."
3. They suck in, all the time. Some people do it after a heavy meal, others do it before standing up to speak. But stars who have trainers on their backs (or fronts, as the case may be) actively suppress their belly all day.
"It's important to just keep that belly button in towards the spine," Duke said. "Pull the abs in, don't hold your breath. Live with it. If you're hailing a cab, if you're at the grocery store, whatever you're doing, keep that belly button in."
Not Their Grandmothers' Girdles
4. They wear girdles. Well, modern girdles; miracle works of spandex technology that suck everything in even when it seems like there's nothing more to suck in.
"Every woman needs an undergarment. I don't care how skinny you are, you need an undergarment," said celebrity stylist Jessica Paster, whose past clients included Jennifer Aniston, Charlize Theron, Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts.
Paster swears by Victoria's Secret's Slimtastic, which shrinks the body from high waist to thigh. "I put one on and it took three inches off my waist," Paster added. "Who doesn't want three inches off their waist?"
5. They don't always have style, they just pay stylish people. Although it could be argued that best red-carpet performance is as valid a category as best actress, knowing how to piece together an Oscar worthy outfit is not a requirement for Oscar attendees. Certain stars look good on the red carpet because they hire people to keep them from becoming fashion don'ts.
"It's odd how some actresses just don't get it sometimes, just don't have a clue," stylist Verreos said. "The fact is that the stylists and the teams that the designers put together manipulate the look of the actress. But I do sometimes wish for something crazy: Lara Flynn Boyle with her tutu ensemble, Cher in her Bob Mackie get up. Those kinds of spectacles can be fun."