Whose Tummy Is It Anyway?

Forget Kevin Spacey. Forget all the potential Oscar nominations his flick might pick up when the nods are announced bright and early Tuesday morning. The real question is: Who’s stomach is that in the “American Beauty” poster?

Deciding to “take a closer look,” we went on a hunt for the owner of the mystery tummy. And without the support of honchos Spielberg, Katzenberg, Geffen and the accompanying publicity machine at DreamWorks, we discovered that it ain’t the movie’s ingenue, actress Mena Suvari, in that alluring close-up.

No, it’s the perfectly shaped navel, hand and flawless skin of Match Modeling Agency’s Chloe Hunter.

Who’s Chloe Hunter? While she’s not exactly Cindy Crawford yet, she’s definitely getting some good exposure in all those “For Your Consideration” Academy Award ads running in the trades. And, heck, she’s already been on the cover of Sport Magazine.

For the uninitiated, Hunter’s a true Southern California beauty, born Aug. 26, 1976, in the sun-bleached suburb of Thousand Oaks. Yes, she was a cheerleader. But she’s also a born entertainer, the lucky number seven amongst eight children. Mom’s a dance instructor. Dad’s a chiropractor.

Before flashing her mid-region, Hunter may have had visions of her future after being crowned “Miss Westlake Village” in 1992. As expected, the blonde bombshell was voted Newbury Park High School’s homecoming princess. But she was also a bit of a smart cookie, attending college on an academic scholarship while remaining on active duty as a university cheerleader.

Hunter’s professional resume includes five years of experience as a model and two as an aspiring thespian. While her acting chops aren’t on display in the acclaimed “Beauty,” she’s already appeared in a few television commercials and is currently making her feature debut in the Freddie Prinze Jr. pic “Down to You,” playing a character she knows rather well — the cheerleader.

A self-described “Nature Girl,” the model-actress lists her hobbies as hiking, snorkeling and other pro-tummy outdoor activities. The active traveler’s worked her physique around the globe in Asia and Europe.

Besides her budding acting and modeling careers, Hunter’s fast becoming an Internet staple. Check out the fashion Web site at www.caesarphoto.com, and you’ll find an official promo clip starring Hunter as a lone, windswept traveler, roaming a wasteland filled with TV sets broadcasting her lovely, naked eye.

The model even has her own official Web site (www.chloehunter.com). The site’s loaded (of course) with photos from her various modeling shoots (including ads for Malibu Sunwear and Clear Logix skin care). It also features a store hawking that all-important “interactive” CD-ROM.

Best of all is a postcard section that allows users to e-mail their friends one of three favored pics of the fair-haired American beauty.

Rest assured (despite those pesky publicists’ best efforts), her bellybutton gets its rightful due.

By the way, we did try to talk to the tummy of “American Beauty” for this story. Put a call into her people and all that. We just never heard back.

Snubbed by a tummy. Welcome to Hollywood.