Bikini June 1994

Thoroughly Modern Milla
by Anita Sarko - Bikini Magazine - June/July '94

Milla Jovovich is a woman with a past she can't escape. The comely eighteen year old must suffer the daily torture and shame of the little reminders of her former selves that keep popping up at the most inopportune moments. Like that beautiful head shot gracing the current cover of "Harpers & Queen", a major Brit fashion mag. It's like... all over the magazine rack of the book store she and I are browsing through! How it mocks her relentlessly! And that poster promoting the movie, "Dazed and Contused", absolutely oozing with her likeness! She is totally humiliated by the audacity of the film's makers to use her face as bait, after the "if-you-sneeze-you'll-miss-her" bit she ended up with. Well, she does have a point there. Of course, the rest of the cast might not have minded such exposure. In fact, considering how few people actually saw the movie, she was probably better off as its poster girl.

It's not that Milla is an ingrate and doesn't feel blessed, it's just that the girl can't help it. Born in Kiev to a Russian actress and a Yugoslavian pediatrician, Milla is a slave to her Slavic roots. Along with Italians and Latinos, Slavs, as a race, are world class drama queens. A state of constant angst connotes passion, the greatest compliment these people can bestow on anyone or anything. I know her dilemma, being of 100% Russian ancestry myself. "Lightening up" isn't even a viable alternative, given the genetic programming. It's not that there isn't a sense of humor - Milla virtually sparkles with it, bopping about like an unselfconscious puppy, words and laughter tumbling out of her in a totally L.A. accent. Though not a citizen yet (She'll be getting her passport in mere months), she's been a California girl since she was five. She's been a model and actress since she was a very adult looking (when made up) eleven. She's had a song in her heart since she was twelve... actually, quite a few songs, but it was in the music industry that she finally met resistance. Of course, this only increased her resolve to make this her true career choice. Her need to make music is so all-encompassing that she simply can't be bothered with modeling and acting. In fact, she just wishes all references to her involvement in these fields would just go away.

[Brooke Shield's hair] This separates her from a certain other nymphet previously packaged the same way. When your first movie role is the lead in "Return to the Blue Lagoon", and your entry into modeling is through the lens of mega-snapper Herb Ritts for six pages and a cover of a French glossy, it takes a major effort not to be compared to Brooke Shields. Milla says that at the beginning of her career, Fundamentalist Christian groups were getting worked up into a lather over her perceived exploitation. While Milla's mother was "freaking out" over letters of protest proclaiming "She's gonna be screwed up by the time she's sixteen", the Devil-Child herself was cracking up, thrilled that she wasn't perceived as a goody-goody. All this over a PG13 film- When it come's to her predecessor, what really offends Milla most is the state of Brooke's hair. "If you have enough access to good hair dressers, get a quality haircut!... I don't mean to talk about people's hair, but it's weird, it's kinda like Brooke's just a normal person!" Milla laughs. "This whole time we thought that she was this beautiful, innocent thing above human anything! The next thing we're gonna find out is, she's not a virgin! I swear to God, it would break me!" Milla dissolves in stitches.

Unlike the Brooke-meister, Milla's determined to change her tune, literally, before her thighs get too large for those jeans or her presence gets too small for the screen, not that she's in any immediate danger. In spite of the baggy vintage clothe's she favors in real life, you can tell her body's amazing. The movie roles have continued to come in, Since along with the aforementioned "Dazed", there's been the recent "Chaplin" and "Kuffs". But it's musician's life for her she's decided, and when Milla's made up her mind, her agents and managers, as well as her mother have learned to fasten their seat belts. This is a girl who won't hear "No".

But now, it's Return to the Music Scene, Part II: In this sequel, Milla gets "enough of a grip on the guitar" to write her own songs. When she played her creations for the record company, this time they attempted to patronize her: "'That's great Milla!' Pat, pat, pat. But, we don't hear a hit, so concentrate on what you're doing and two or three albums down the road..." She told them to shove it. "This is the one thing I can do where I can express myself and it I don't get to express myself, then I'd rather just keep on being a model!"

This time, the record company had a sudden and miraculous change of heart. "Either they believed in me, or they just didn't want all the money that they spent to go to waste, she explains, with a laugh. She was given her freedom as well as a group of musicians and a producer who understood what she was all about. Well, almost. "On my next album, I don't think I'm gonna have a producer. I'm gonna be with my band and arrange it all, have it rehearsed and ready to go when we get into the studio."

The resultant album is quite wonderful. Imagine a non-quirky Kate Bush mixed with a deep throated Enya, encased in an Eastern European atmospheric swirl. The voice and the melodies are gorgeous. Her record company, EMI, is convinced as well, and is giving it a nice push. It's because of their generosity that she's able to make London her home now, since they're footing the bill. Of course, they expect a payback, eventually.

TROUSERS Milla's love life has taken a musical turn, as well. Her boyfriend is the bass player for the English group, Jamiroquai. "One of the reasons I'm most attracted to Stewart is he plays that bass so sexy!", she swoons. We both agree bass players are the best lover's. I find that drummers are too nervous. Milla considers guitar players too stuck up. "The bass player's inspiration is from the waist down," I point out. Milla squeals in agreement. "He's good in bed, too," she purrs. The fit of Stewart's trousers were a turn-on for Milla, as well. Contrary to what you must be thinking, it was because he wears them Loose. Forget reading palms, it's that sensuous draping that tells this girl all she needs to know: "It means they like jazz, rap and funk," she explain's. "I know we've got a lot in common." Introduced by a make-up artist who knew them both, the initial leg of the romance was conducted via fax machines. I remind her t hat according to the tabloids, Brooke and Andre Agassi did the same. We both agree this is a disturbing coincidence.

Actually, it was at the age that Milla is now that Ms. Shield's put her careers on hold to go to college. Milla has no such plans. She's found she's learned more on her own than through any formal education. Her mother introduced Milla to books at an early age and she's rarely been without one in her hand since. Her first book was a book on Greek mythology.

She graduated high school: "It doesn't mean I remember anything." And, why is that, Milla? "The last four years of school is such a blur because I lived with my best friend and we'd wake up in the morning, smoke about three bong loads, go get breakfast at Denny's, Smoke one more, go to school. Then, the whole day, you're just kind of like burnt out and sitting there. "I'm I just amazed she didn't get fat. "I'm still young," she reminds me. She drew pictures and sang songs into a tape recorder. Those songs can now be heard on the collection just released, "The Divine Comedy". She does give school points for teaching her discipline, it's just that it was all so boring. "I would love to make money, because I have a dream to open up a school for kids who really want to learn. I would have interviews for teachers [as] if it's to get a part in a film... the cream of the crop." She want's a school that's fun and interesting, where teachers know how to teach. This girl just keeps coming up with careers...

Before I leave her, I check out the books she's just purchased. They are: The Portable Voltaire; The Last Days of Socrates; The Philosophy of Kant; The Essays by Francis Bacon; The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony by Roberto Calasso. Thought all models, oops... former models, were dumb, right?

As we say, "Good-by", I run into a friend. I introduce him to Milla and he and I walk off. "She's in movies, isn't she." he asks? I tell him she is. He suddenly brighten's as it occurs to him where he'd seen her. "Was she that girl in 'The Creature From The Blue Lagoon'!"