About the Model
Milla Jovovich (pronounced “mee-luh” “yo-vo-vitch”) was born in the capital Kyiv (Kiev) of Ukraine to father Bogdanovitch Jovovich (a Serbian doctor) and mother Galina Loginova Jovovich (Russian actress). In 1981, Milla and her family left the Soviet Union and moved to London, England and then to Sacramento, California, ultimately settling in Los Angeles. She was an only child, and was raised by her mother. Milla also had a close connection with her grandmother Tatiana.
Milla didn’t have the easiest childhood. Moving from Ukraine, then the USSR, in the Cold War. In the U.S she was called a “communist spy” (and more personal things) by her classmates so Milla kept to herself.
When she was 8, she took piano lessons. Then at 10, she began to play the guitar. By the time she was 11 years of age, Richard Avedon chose Milla to be one of Revlon’s “Most Unforgettable Women in the World”. This quickly put Milla in the international spotlight amidst the “these girls are too young to be models!” controversy.
Milla’s first cover was for the October 1987 edition of Italian magazine Lei. Since then Milla has been on countless more magazine covers and walked on many fashion show catwalks. She’s always maintained that modeling doesn’t really thrill her; rather she’s in it for the money. Milla’s modeling pays extremely well and thus grants her the freedom to only do the movies she wants to or to take time off from modeling & acting to work on her music.
From Allure June 1999: “Modeling was never a priority. I was always taking acting classes.” She believes that most successful models have made it because they never wanted to be models in the first place. “With acting, you have to work and practice. With modeling, it’s the opposite. You shouldn’t care. You should just act blasé and go to parties.” (For more comments on her modeling career, see the article from Oneworld 1997.)
One of Milla’s most famous outfits was the dress she wore at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 – possibly the only outfit more revealing than the “Ace bandage” costume she wore in The Fifth Element.
In 2002, Milla was a judge for Enkamania, a “design-scouting/brand awareness-raising project that has sparked the interest of some of fashion’s biggest names” (including Donna Karan, Jean Paul Gaultier, Peter Lindbergh, and others). She also starred in the winner’s European campaign, photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Spring 2003.
Milla has been featured in ad campaigns for several brands, including Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Damiani, Donna Karan, Gap, Versace, Mango, Etro and several others. Milla has been an international spokesmodel for L’Oréal cosmetics since 1998. In addition to L’Oréal, Milla has appeared in campaigns for Paris department stores, Samsonite, Derimod, Gap, Roberto Cavalli, and Donna Karan Cashmere Mist in recent years.
Milla and Carmen Hawk launched their Jovovich-Hawk clothing line in 2003. Jovovich-Hawk opened a showroom in New York City’s Greenwich Village in September 2005. Jovovich-Hawk also launched a collection for Target in 2008. Jovovich-Hawk ended in 2008.
Milla looks extraordinary with her “out of this world” beauty, perfect skin, her height, and being slim, exotic blue/green eyes, and her high cheekbones that give away she is of Russian-Yugoslavian heritage. Milla’s eyes and eye color has always been what people first notice. But which color does she have? Her true color is blue. But it depends on how light comes and influences her eyes and varies the color from light blue to olive-green.
The movie offers came quickly. It was her mother who wanted Milla to be in the movie business. She was determined that Milla should continue her own (the mother’s) film career which ended when they moved to America. And in 1988, she played in few scenes in Two Moon Junction. Milla played the little-sister to Sherilyn Fenn. She was also cast in 1988’s Night Train to Kathmandu, a Disney production.
In 1990, only 14 years old, Milla created turmoil again. Some pictures, taken by Herb Ritts, as a pre-puberty Lolita, were used in a commercial campaign for Guess Jeans. But around all the stir, Milla’s mother turned it into a positive thing. In 1991, Milla got her first main role in Return to Blue Lagoon. This was a role Brooke Shields had done 20 years earlier. Milla got quickly famous as the Slavic Brooke Shields. And in some scenes from the film, we can see Milla as beautiful as beautiful can be. In 1992, she moved to London at 16 years old. And she had a little role in Attenboroughs Chaplin, as Charlie Chaplin’s first wife. In the same year, she also played in Kuffs (1992) with Christian Slater. Milla’s movie career was taking off.
In 1993, she was cast in the comedy Dazed and Confused. Milla had only two lines, and sang some lines from her own song The Alien Song. After an annulled marriage to Shawn Andrews, a young actor with whom she had worked, Milla had to take a break. By 1994, she put away her modeling career. Only 18 years old, but after six or seven years constantly working, Milla was tired of it. She had blossomed early and now she wanted to do something else.
Today Milla doesn’t put much importance to her past as a model on the catwalk. She was aware of the madness in the business, and she always tried to pick up the positive things and headed off all the other. In May 1994, Milla released her first album, The Divine Comedy. And Milla got surprisingly good reviews. It’s a soulful album which didn’t catch on commercially. For those who bothered to listen, it did separate her from the superficial supermodel mainstream. And after the release, she toured for six months. After some time in London, she moved back to US, and restarted her modeling career. “Only for earning money”, she said herself.
In 1996, she was cast as Leeloo. The French director Luc Besson had seen over 2000 girls and women for the main role in his next big budget movie, The Fifth Element. And when his decision felt on Milla Jovovich, he got many negative comments. The critics questioned, “Should this child model who was barely known from a jeans commercial and the Return to Blue Lagoon movie get this plum role?”
But Besson knew what he was doing. He worked with Milla and pushed her far with long and exhausting drama lessons. He put her through hard tests and gave her a karate crash course. Milla said later, “I worked like hell. No band sessions, no clubs, no marijuana, nothing. It was eight hard months with work.” After the world premiere in Cannes Film Festival in 1997, Milla knew the work had paid off. In The Fifth Element, Milla was cast as The Perfect Being, the bio-engineered Leeloo Minai Lekatariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat, or more simply Leeloo. And Milla truly made the movie. Not Bruce Willis. Not Gary Oldman. Not Ruby in up-and-coming Chris Tucker’s character. Milla Jovovich shows a different view. Her superbly balanced portrayal of the sexy, fragile, human, clever and strong Leeloo, gives the story a new dimension about love against the evil.
The character she played was the example for herself. “It put the pressure on me to change my life a little bit, because Leeloo is everything that I want to be. And I’m not saying that in a superficial way. She’s my idol. She uses 100 percent of her brain. She represents a human being that uses the total power of her mind and that’s what makes her perfect.”
After The Fifth Element, Milla’s film career hasn’t been more brighter. In 1998, after some heavy rumors, her romance with Luc Besson (born 1959) became solid when they were engaged. Soon after, Milla was cast in Luc Besson’s next epic movie, Joan of Arc (1999). And of course Milla is starring the main role as the French heroine from Orleans. Milla and Luc Besson were married in Las Vegas in December 14, 1998. The story goes that Milla asked Luc. And later they bought a castle in Normandy, France. With two hundred hectare of land, a little wood and a pond.
1998 was a busy year for Milla. We could also see Milla Jovovich as a temptress in Lenny Kravitz music video, If You Can’t Say No (1998). Her “so-called” second album, The Peopletree Session, was released in August. She has done some commercials. When asked if she’ll ever give up modeling completely, Milla said, “I guess if I could demand $7 million a movie like Cameron Diaz does…” She also portrays a prostitute in Spike Lee’s He Got Game (1998) starring Denzel Washington. Milla’s only on-screen a few scenes where she’s beaten up. Milla was also a lead in the movies, Bono written and Wim Wenders directed The Million Dollar Hotel (1999). And in Iain Softley’s The Boathouse (1999).
In April 1999, Milla filed for divorce from Luc. And later she was spotted with actor Jeremy Davies. In late summer 1999, Milla played live for seven shows in California and August 15, she played in the Viper Room. In September, Milla and her bandPlastic Has Memory played live in New York.
Joan of Arc was planned to be released in US in November. For the role (earlier well-played by both Jean Seberg and Ingrid Bergmann), Milla had to learn to ride a horse with 50 pounds of armor on her shoulders. And she endured nine months of knee-deep mud and Hollywood-made rainstorms. Her hair was cut, “I had the same hair all the men had in the movie,” she explained. “This is the shortest my hair has ever been, and the shortest it will ever be”. About the role, Milla also said: “It’s a fun piece for an actress to play. There’s not many really amazing parts for women out there so it’s fun to actually have one where she is the hero. It was … just the most incredible experience of my life probably. I wore like 50 pounds of armor every day and rode a horse with a sword. Ha harch!”
Milla has appeared in hundreds of magazines and on dozens of covers. She has been featured in ad campaigns for several brands, including Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Damiani, Donna Karan, Gap, Versace, Mango, Etro and several others.
Milla has been an international spokesmodel for L’Oréal cosmetics since 1998. In addition to L’Oréal, Milla has been in campaigns for Paris department stores, Samsonite, Derimod, Gap, and Mariella Burani recently. It’s 2010 and Milla Jovovich is modeling still, acting and playing music, happily married and a wonderful mom. Things can’t get much better.
RESIDENT EVIL, brakes out of the gate bringing Milla Jovovich icon status with fans with of Evil Residents:
1# Resident Evil 2002
2# Resident Evil: Apocalypse 2004
3# Resident Evil: Extinction 2007
4# Resident Evil: Afterlife 2010
5# And NOW! Coming September 2012, Resident Evil: Retribution 2012
( See ComicCon San Diego interview and also the movie trailer below )
2012 • Coming from the Resident Evil Franchise: Resident Evil: Retribution
Milla Jovovich the Philanthropy:
• Milla is an ambassador for amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) and also supports several other charities, including OCRF (Ovarian Cancer Research Fund), The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Wildlands Project, and UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
• Marc Jacobs/Milla Skin Cancer Awareness T-shirt Campaign (to benefit the NYU Cancer Institute:
• 2009: Milla attended the Montblanc Signature for Good opening event for the official unveiling of her portrait along with 11 other actresses on February 20, 2009 in Los Angeles, CA. Milla posed as Esmeralda from Victor Hugo’s classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame to raise funds for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Milla’s print was sold for $20,000 USD in September 2009!
• Milla was one of the featured artists in a global campaign titled “tck tck tck: Time for Climate Justice” addressing climate change headed by Bob Geldof. The campaign features a collaborative single recording a reworded version of Midnight Oil’s 1987 protest song “Beds are Burning”. The single, available as a free download from iTunes is designed to both to raise awareness and act as a “giant digital petition” by those who download it.
• 2010: Milla was photographed by Helena Christensen for the Tommy Hilfiger Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. Milla: “As a devote supporter of charitable causes, I really am grateful to be the ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger’s initiative to support Breast Health International. To be a part of such an inspirational initiative is an incredible honor, and I hope that through our partnership we can help make a difference in the thousands of lives touched by the horrible disease.”
• 2010: Milla decorated a t-shirt designed by Isabel Marant for acution to benefit Crafts for a Cause.
• 2012: Representing the US AIDS research foundation amfAR, Milla will join former US president Bill Clinton and others for this year’s 20th edition of the Life Ball in Vienna, Austria on May 19, 2012 to benefit AIDS charities. Milla will also be performing her new single, “Electric Sky”.
• Milla is part of Got Your 6, “a campaign led by the entertainment industry that will help create a new conversation in America, one where veterans and military families are perceived as both leaders and civic assets.” For more information please visit gotyour6.org.