Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot is a French former actress and fashion model who later became an animal rights activist. She embarked on an acting career during the 1950s and before long became one of the best known sex symbols of that era. Blessed with radiant beauty, poise and grace, she was the epitome of femininity and gained a reputation for her free-flowing sensuality that made her famous not just in France but on an international level. She was introduced to dance as a young girl and developed a passion for it. Encouraged by her artistically inclined mother, she attended ballet classes by Russian choreographer Boris Knyazev and excelled at it. She also began modeling as a teenager and appeared on the cover of France's ‘Elle’ magazine at the age of 15. A chance encounter with the young film director, Roger Vadim ensured that she got the opportunity to enter filmdom as well. She made her acting debut in a comedy film and soon endeared herself to the audiences. Eventually she gained a reputation as a sex symbol because of her sensuous beauty and became one of the best known actresses of the 1950s and 1960s. Following her retirement from the show business, she became an active animal rights activist and established the Foundation for the Protection of Distressed Animals.