Europe Online - Winter 1996

Just Milla, please
by Colin Cushing

Just a shade over 20, Milla could retire today and have done more with her life than most people three times her age. The more we watch the more we wonder how many more careers she will take on, having already conquered being an international supermodel, an actress, and a talented singer.

Milla! Don't get a cold!. Photo: Pandis
Born Milla Jovovich (she has since dropped her last name) on Dec. 17/75 in Kiev, Ukraine, Milla (pronounced "Mee-luh") and her parents moved to Sacramento when she was 5 years old, then to LA seven months later. Growing up in the US in the midsts of the Cold War was no easy task for an immigrant from the Soviet Union. "I took a lot of shit in school," she remembers. "The kids made fun of me because of my name and my background. They got freaked out that I wasn't American. I was called a Commie and a Russian spy. I was never, ever, ever accepted into the crowd. So I learned to be by myself, and to cherish the time spent in my own world."

Milla started modeling at age 11, and within two years had graced many magazine covers all over the world.
Not much to wear in Blue Lagoon II. Photo: Bildarchiv Engelmeier

After a few years of modeling she turned her attention to acting, debuting with a small role in Two Moon Junction and following it up with the made-for-TV movie The Night Train to Kathmandu. Her biggest single piece of exposure came in the lead role of Return to the Blue Lagoon which, much like The Blue Lagoon, was highly controversial due to the ample nudity of such a young actress. She landed roles in Kuffs and Chaplin; her acting was much improved and left audiences eager to see more of her. She and her fans were both disappointed with her "blink and miss her" role in Dazed and Confused, especially after her name and face was used generously in promoting the film.

Together with Christian Slater in Kuffs. Photo: Bildarchiv Engelmeier
The only redeeming quality of her role in Dazed and Confused was the scene in which she played acoustic guitar and sang a line from The Alien Song (for those who listen) from her forthcoming album, The Divine Comedy. Released nearly 2 years ago, The Divine Comedy drew rave reviews from critics but at Milla's request promotion was kept to a minimum.

"I want to really keep it low right now. Whatever happens with this album I think, is great, I think what's already happened with it is so much more than I expected, that anything after this is almost like a cherry on top. I just want to take it really slowly and not hit people over the head with Milla's new album just let people discover it for themselves."
As a result, The Divine Comedy is easily one of the best kept secrets of the 90's. Milla's strong, emotional voice is set to the rich melodies created by an unusual assortment of instruments that includes mandolins, flutes, guitars, and dulcimers.

Written when she was just 15, the lyrics are surprisingly mature and insightful. Topics range from sorrow and lost love in Gentleman Who Fell & You Did It All Before to an imaginative extra-terrestial visit in The Alien Song (for those who listen). The album's final track, In A Glade, is a traditional Ukrainian folk song and Milla accordingly sings it in her native tongue; the combination of the beautiful language with Milla's sensous voice is a real treat for any listener and has become a surprise fan favorite.

Not much to say. Photo: Pandis
Milla toured the US for the last half of '94, opening for acts like Toad the Wet Sprocket and Crash Test Dummies. Last year she tackled all 3 of her careers simultaneously. She modeled internationally for designers like Liza Bruce, Todd Oldham, Marc Jacobs, and Miu-Miu. She can also be seen in TV and print ads for Calvin Klein, The Gap, and more. She has been working with her band on the music and songs that will comprise her second album, due out this summer. She is currently in London filming Luc Besson's Le Cinquieme Element, starring Bruce Willis.

Cutout from ID Magazine

Photo: EMI
Milla's second album will soon capture the world's attention and there is likely to be an abundance of people who will still doubt the musical abilities of a model. Perhaps they should consider Milla's own take on life and proven formula for success when they listen to her album:

"Don't depend on the definitions man has already given you. Don't be scared to change your perception."