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Must-see in Ukraine > A million dollars for “the fifth element”: charming native of Kiev Milla Yovovich

Milla Yovovich

Inessa BLYUM, journalist
Specially for “Prime Excursion Bureau”

Her full name is written in different ways in various sources. Or rather names, to be more exact. Militsa Bogdanovna (or Borgievna) in Russian and Ukrainian tradition, Militsa Natasha in Montenegrin tradition of her father, nice girl Milla and the Hollywood rescuer of the humanity — all these definitions are true for the native of Kiev Milla Yovovich.

From the city of Kiev…”

Her fame and image are divided between Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine and Russia — each of these countries includes the long-legged heroine of “Resident Evil” and “The Fifth Element” into the pantheon of its natives. Southern Slavic blood is mixed with eastern Slavic in Milla`s descent. That gave birth to one of the most sexual characteristics in Hollywood: 174 cm. high, 81-61-96, brown hair, blue eyes and a left-hander at that.

Milla was born in Kiev in December 1975. She is a daughter of the famous Soviet actress Galina Loginova and Montenegrin (Yugoslavian at that moment) pediatrician Borga (Bogdan) Yovovich. Little Militsa didn`t have to live behind “the iron curtain” for a long time. In 1979 the girl with her parents moved first to London, then to the USA. Having got out of “the iron curtain”, Loginova and Yovovich expected to find quick happiness in Anglo — Saxon countries, but it came in a weird way — in 1980th they had to serve in the house of the producer Brian de Palma. But every cloud has a silver lining: Milla was first shot there — de Palma liked to record his parties, so the charming servant`s daughter got used to the noisy startling world of cinema bohemia from the very childhood.

Like many other Hollywood stars, in her childhood Milla had to overcome many difficulties and offences. It is high time a movie was made about her and her development. Her “Soviet” origin caused permanent mockery and humiliations from her peers. Milla studied in the USA in the epoch of a regular round of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was officially proclaimed the “Empire of Evil”. So she was given nicknames “a spy” and “a communist” at school. She also suffered because of other girls` envy for her early formed look. That is why Milla wasn`t a frequent visitor at school. She preferred to get education only in the fields, that were of interest to her. Galina Loginova, Milla`s mother, played an important part in her destiny. She put all her unrealized ambitions into her long-legged daughter.

Mother`s pretty Milla

Galina Loginova, who became famous due to several Soviet films and serials, couldn`t continue her career in the USA because of her accent. Having realized this sad fact, she put all her efforts into promotion of her daughter. In fact, Milla is her mother`s daughter, the product of her mother`s efforts, which were aimed at raising a future star. Galina spent all her money at music, dance and drama classes for her child and it brought the first results when Milla was 11. In 1986 Milla was shot for the cover of the Italian magazine “Lei” and started her model career. Milla`s a acceleration made her look older. The appearance of the Slavic nymphet was used by magazines to full extend. In 1989 Mila showed up on covers of 15 magazines and even became the heroine of a scandal — after finding out the age of the young model, the editor of one of them hurried to remove the photo from the cover. This action caused several months of discussions in American talk-shows about reasonableness of involvement of minors in show business.

Rising of the “Moon” and the “Fifth Element”

While they argued in talk-shows, Milla kept making herself familiar with show business. She first acted in a film at the age of 13 — it was the famous erotic melodrama “Two moon junction”, produced in 1988. Naturally, Milla didn`t star there — she played a younger sister of the main heroine (Sherilyn Fenn). Though, it was a good start for the young beauty. Milla was noticed. For the first time she was the whole show in 1991, when the 16-year-old actress acted in the exotic adventure of a castaway “Return to the Blue Bay”, where she appeared naked in some frames. After this film producers and stage directors made a note of Milla — a potential star arose. Meanwhile, the girl didn`t waste her time and decided to settle her private life quickly after getting acquainted with the actor Shawn Andrews at the shooting site of the movie “High and confused”. The couple was secretly married in Las Vegas, but several weeks later Milla`s mother insisted on dissolution of marriage. According to Californian laws, if newly-married were under 18, the final decision was to be made by their parents. After catching it from her mother, Milla realized that it was time to tear herself from her care. She left for Europe for two years, where the girl tried her strength as a musician. She went on stage with her own group “Plastic has memory” and recorded the album “Devine Comedy” in folk and soft-rock style. Yovovich included several Russian and a Ukrainian song — “On the lawn” — into that album.

1996 started and became revolutionary for Milla. In the year of her majority she acted in the movie of the famous French producer Luc Besson “The Fifth Element”. The role of a marvelous alien, dressed in exotic clothes from Jean Paul Gaultier didn`t just open the door to the world of professional cinema for Milla, but also gave her the second (and the first “real”) husband — Maitre Besson himself.

The French period

But this alliance with Besson didn`t last long. However, he managed to make one more movie with his young wife in the main role — “Jeanne d`Arc”. And although both these creations of the enamored French (especially “Jeanne” were criticized and his muse was awarded the “Golden Raspberry” Prize (“nice” beginning for a career in the cinema), those years of marriage with Besson meant a lot for Milla. First of all, she got acquainted with French cinema — definitely, one of the best European cinematographs. In 1990th it was strenuously Americanized due to Besson`s efforts too. But it still preserved the charm of the national school. In the second place, Milla became a famous personality of show business not only in America, but mostly in Europe. France became her second professional Motherland. Milla took part in the promotion campaign “The most unforgettable women of the world”. She signed contracts with Hugo Boss, Guess, Kelvin Klein; her fee reached three thousand dollars a day. In 1998 Milla became “the face” of the brand L`oreal and was acknowledged the most well-paid model, working for this brand. Later, together with the model Carmen Hawk Milla appeared  the creator of clothes line Yovovich — Hawk.

Hooligan and intellectual of Hollywood

In 2000 Milla acted in a new movie together with Mel Gibson. It was the movie of Vim Venders “A million dollar hotel”. The film, produced according to the stage direction of the famous musician Bono, got the main prize of the festival “The Golden Bear” then. After that four serious of the action movie “Resident Evil” followed. According to Milla, in that movie she played a completely new role — “a girl in a miniskirt, who runs about tunnels and shoots everything that moves”. In fact, the role of a fighter traditionally suits Milla from the time of “The fifth element” and “Jeanne d`Arc”. After that she tried herself in the thriller “Ultraviolet”, in the action movie “The 45th calibre”, in the thriller “The fourth kind”. In the second half of 2000 personal life of the actress came to normal due to her consent to work as an exterminatress of vampires. In 2007 she gave birth to her daughter Eve Gabo from the producer of “Resident Evil” Paul Anderson and in 2009 the couple got married.

Mila has the reputation of an intellectual among Hollywood stars. Maybe, it is her way to maintain the image of a person with mysterious Slavic soul. Mila has a bright mind: she composes music, she is acquainted with European and Russian music and literature and she is almost an “expert” in the post-soviet area since she knows all peculiarities of local mentality better than anyone else. Milla is very proud of her Slavic origin. She believes it gave her temper, beauty and persistence. “I owe the strength of will that I feel inside to my origin” — Milla always answers, talking about her origin.

Return to the “sources”

During the last decade Milla could be often seen on her native territory. She takes part in shootings in Russia and Ukraine, visits various events. In August 2005 she visited her home-town Kiev and the international children`s camp “Artek” which celebrated its 80th anniversary then. In 2010 she starred in the movie “Whims” together with Russian actors K. Khabenskiy and I. Urgant. After that she visited the road show in Moscow. In 2001 Milla took part in the concert, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the football club “Shahter” in Donetsk.

Mila has dim recollections about Ukrainian capital of her childhood — she was a child, when she left. She remembers going to a kindergarten, the dog she played with, her “shopping tours” for meat with her mother. That is why Milla opened the city anew during her visit. “Kiev is very beautiful, I didn’t even think it was that beautiful. I would get involved in shootings here willingly” — she says in 2005. Then she “mastered” the traditional capital excursion program: St. Andrew`s Descend, the Museum of Folk Architecture in Pirogovo, Bulgakov museum. She bought Ukrainian vishyvankas, a shawl and even… a Budenny cap. But she refused to eat Ukrainian lard to preserve her figure.

Charming Milla from Kiev hasn`t won the Oscar Prize yet. But she will definitely get her golden statuette. It can be expected in the nearest decade due to her will, temper and commitment. Another thing is important: due to her origin, knowledge of languages and openness to everything new, Milla implements the mission, similar to top priorities of her plucky heroines. She really brings nations and cultures together, making the former space behind “the iron curtain” close and understandable in America. And she makes us proud of our deserved success on the world cinema Olympus. Milla has brought fame to cinematograph of several countries. No doubt, long cinema carrier is waiting for her and, who knows, maybe she will star in Ukrainian movies some day…

August 2011