In Fashion September 1988

Milla-Dollar Baby
by Kimberley Leston

It's time to grow up for the screen's newest Joan of Arc, Milla Jovovich

European designers may not have launched the cuddly toy fashion craze for Milla Jovovich, but even without these trendy teddies, she'd be unbear-ably cute. Ropes of waistlength hair, Lolita limbs, a mouth made for pouting - so what's new? If Milla were 18 years old, she'd be just another pretty face. But everybody loves a baby and Milla's mama knows it. Milla is the most sought-after model in America. She is also 12 years old.

So what did she do at school today? "We're dissecting frogs," she says.

Tomorrow she begins six months of intensive modeling in Europe. "I like modeling," states Milla. "I like going on airplanes and staying in nice hotels." But while her grown-up life is certainly entertaining, Milla retains a surprisingly normal attitude about her time off camera. She likes to hang out at shopping malls with her pals and she says, "It's strange to see myself on the cover of a magazine - I mean, I wouldn't walk around with all that powder and makeup on - I'm just a regular kid." Milla's mother is listening in on her daughter's conversation to make sure she behaves like one.

Back in Kiev, where Milla was born, Mrs. Jovovich was a Shakespearean actress. She left Russia in 1981 to settle in Los Angeles with Milla's father, a doctor. But opportunities for ex-Sovie stage stars are slim even that close to Hollywood. Things should be different for Milla.

In a mere six months, she's been immortalized in countless fashion magazines, as well as in Newsweek and Time. And when Milla doesn't feel like turning it on for the camera, Mama speaks Russian and Milla does as she's told. "My friends don't understand," she says. "They laugh at me, but I think they're jealous. They wish it was them on all the covers instead."

How long will she be a model? "As long as it takes, as long as - as long as my mom and my agent think so." Just long enough to make a Milla a celebrity - which shouldn't take forever. Her agent is spending a lot of time these days reading film scripts.

Milla doesn't have much to say about the two films she's already made, but then Two Moon Junction and Night Train to Kathmandu didn't star her dream date, Jack Nicholson. There's a dream date at school, too, but Milla's not telling who. "I don't have a boyfriend, unfortunately. The boys at school don't like me," she sighs. "I don't know why. Maybe they think I'm ugly."