Mena Suvari's topless scene with Kevin Spacey in

American Beauty might turn out to be the last chance moviegoers will ever get to see the actress au naturel.

"I wouldn't necessarily do it again, but for that scene, it seemed to work," the 21-year-old actress tells Cosmopolitan. "I didn't want to be seen as that kind of actress, but for this, it was more than just an 'Oh, I'm taking my top off' shot. It was a revelation of who the character really was.

"And also, because Thora Birch, Annette Bening, Wes Bentley and Kevin had some nudity, too, I felt like I wasn't the only one," she adds. Maybe that explains why Suvari looked so comfortable rolling about in rose petals during the movie's fantasy sequences. Says American Beauty co-producer Bruce Cohen: "She was incredibly professional and a really good sport when it came to the all-important positioning of the rose petals."

Suvari, whose character seduces an older man in American Beauty, in real life recently married a man 16 years her senior. She and her new hubby, cinematographer Robert Brinkmann (The Cable Guy, The Truth About Cats & Dogs), quietly eloped last September in a hush-hush Big Sur, CA, ceremony.

"It doesn't matter to me how old somebody is," says Suvari, whose father is 24 years older than her mom. "What matters is who they are."