Getting shot in the head when she was 12 has been a secret blessing for MULHOLLAND DRIVE star Laura Harring, because the incident helped her face her fears.

The stunning actress was caught in crossfire in a San Antonio, Texas, park, and only lived because the bullet which hit her missed her skull by less than a millimetre.

But the scars left by the episode faded - along with her debilitating fears of confined spaces, the dark and loud noises.

She says, "It took me years to get over the trauma of being shot in the head. I jumped if a car passed me, and I was extremely frightened by loud noises, dark places and guns.

"I've heard that the Chinese believe if you come close to death but do not pass away, you are meant for some great good fortune. Mine is the ability to conquer fear.

"I used to be so claustrophobic that I wouldn't even get in an elevator. I was afraid of heights, but got over that last year just in time to fly on the high wire more than 60 feet up in the air for a role as an undercover CIRQUE DU SOLEIL performer in a TV movie.

"And I'm no longer afraid of the dark - in fact I love it."

15/10/2003 02:29