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Why Finding a Stylist Was Like Finding a Boyfriend for Zoë Saldana

03/26/2012 at 10:30 AM ET

Zoe Saldana Stylist
Jeff Vespa/Getty

For Zoë Saldana, finding the perfect stylist was like falling in love: it took a lot of searching to find ‘the one.’

“I think it took me years,” the actress told PEOPLE of finally finding longtime stylist Petra Flannery. “I would meet with [different stylists] and work with some of them, and I just never really understood until I found the synchronicity that I was looking for … As soon as Petra and I met, we had such an amazing chemistry.”

Saldana depends on Flannery to keep her on top of best-dressed lists — while making sure her fashion choices honor her personal sense of style, too.

“[Stylists] are such an important element to the composition of an artist’s image,” Saldana said recently during a luncheon hosted by The Hollywood Reporter and Jimmy Choo celebrating the magazine’s list of the 25 most powerful celebrity stylists (Flannery was among them).

“You can’t really walk out your door sometimes if you don’t have somebody that tells you [what looks good],” Saldana continued. “When you have somebody that worries about that or makes sure that they’re representing you, making you look good, you can only focus on what you really love to do, which is just to be an artist.”

But the bond between Flannery and Saldana is much stronger than that of stylist and client: the women are also close friends.

“You spend more time with a stylist and a publicist than sometimes you do with your own agent or manager,” the actress added. “So that said, you want to make sure that you really get along with them. I need to be friends with the people that I work with.”

The women share equal credit for Saldana’s eclectic look. “To us, it’s all about the artistry and what the designer went through, knowing the background of what inspired the designer throughout the collection, and Petra’s usually the one that provides that insight,” Saldana shared. “I’m cuckoo for a storyteller, so that’s how you get me.”

According to both women, the process of creating Saldana’s fashion moments is “always an adventure” — in the best possible way.

“I love everything about dressing Zoë,” Flannery said. “Zoë can wear things that a lot of people can’t wear, and she pulls it off and looks beautiful all the time. We like taking those risks. We go for it … And Zoë has the confidence behind it all to wear things.”

The actress agreed. “We’re just like, ‘Anything goes!’”

–Jessica Wedemeyer

VOTE ON STARS’ MOST FASHIONABLE MOMENTS IN ‘LAST NIGHT’S LOOK: HIT OR MISS?’

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