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Emmy Rossum's Dominatrix Photoshoot: 'You Just Have to Channel Your Inner 50 Shades of Grey'

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Michael Loccisano/Getty

Emmy Rossum has portrayed plenty of different roles in her young career (most recently as part of the seriously dysfunctional family in Shameless), but even she was thrown for a loop by the most recent one she was asked to play: “Dominatrix.” The star stripped down (and suited up) for a seriously bold photoshoot for Complex magazine.

“I was like, ‘What is going on right now?'” she told PEOPLE at ELLE‘s Women In Television Celebration in L.A. “[The photographer] was like, ‘Pose in this dominatrix gear with these huge machines!’ and I was like, ‘Oh, God! This isn’t me at all!'”

It may not have matched her sense of style, or even her sensibilities, but Rossum managed to pull it off, thanks primarily to a Jamesian mindset (less Henry James, more E.L. James). “I think you just have to channel a character,” the actress says with a laugh. “You just have to use it as an acting exercise and channel your inner 50 Shades of Grey.”

PHOTOS: See what your favorite stars are wearing on the red carpet!

She did her best Anastasia Steele, but with one goal in mind: “I was thinking, ‘The sooner I just do what he says, the sooner I can just put my jeans back on.’ Sometimes there’s just no fighting it. Get through it, the pictures will be good and I’ll feel fine about it later.”

So will she be returning to leather and latex in her downtime? Don’t count on it. The actress’s favored fashion couldn’t be further from her Complex photoshoot. “[My style is] modern, but still feminine,” she says, pointing to her J. Mendel dress, pictured. “I favor things like this dress, which is a bit Marilyn Monroe, Seven Year Itch … but I try to keep it modern with a messy updo and a colored lip. I just have fun.”

What did you think of Rossum’s photoshoot? Is it fun to see stars go out of character? Tell us your thoughts below!

–Reagan Alexander