Mean (US) Fall/Winter 2004

Zombie Asskicker
Fashion Designer
Movie Star

by Jessica Hundley, photographs by Sheryl Nields

Milla Jovovich has small tits. This is something she points out not far into our conversation, flashing a charming grin and gesturing toward her chest. The statement is an obvious ploy, a cheery bit of self depreciation meant to convince me that Milla is not a supermodel-singer-songwriter-fashion-entrepreneur-movie-star, but, in fact, just another small-titted gal who got lucky.

I don't believe this for a minute. I don't believe this because one -- her tits are not small, but, like mine, are what I like to call "a perfect handful". And two -- she's fucking gorgeous and Russian and wearing this really cool kind of bolero-looking coat that she's designed herself and well, I could add a three and a four and five, but I think you get my point.

Our tit talk is happening at a secluded table in the Polo Lounge garden. The Polo Lounge is one of those Beverly Hill institutions resonant with Hollywood myth, the kind of place where deals are done and stars are made and dreams are fulfilled, or occasionally shattered.

"I love this place," says Jovovich, looking around with a territorial pride. "I come here all the time. It has all the good ghosts and that Fifties vibe, you know, that time where everyone had four martini lunches and then stumbled back to the office."

In honor of those halcyon days of socially condoned alcoholism, Milla and I are getting progressively sloshed on a drink of her own design (she's a fucking drink inventor too, for chrissakes), a pale, pink frothy concoction she's dubbed "The Jolly Rancher."

"It's the bane of every man's existence," Milla says, raising a glass, "the fruity cocktail!"

Jovovich has just returned from the Far East where she has spent pretty much the last year of her life filming Ultraviolet, where she plays a futuristic badass, a genetically modified vampire with preternatural intelligence and a heart of solid gold.

"It was intense," she says of the experience. "We were in China, which is a whole other world, and it was just surreal being in this crazy place and then going to work every day and doing what I was doing, which is weird to begin with."

With Ultraviolet, The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil series, Jovovich has made a name for herself playing various fantastical heroines, ladies that can karate chop, wu shu, tae kwon do and sucker punch.

"I don't know what it is," she says, shaking her head, "but I keep being asked to do movies like this and I can't say no, they're just too much fun. What's really great is that a lot of women love these kinds of movies. They love being able to see this strong, muscular lady kick some ass on the screen, but at the same time be a woman, be vulnerable and sensitive and nurturing and concerned. I like the idea of playing these totally amazing muscular types who can beat the hell out of the undead, but also still have a soft side."

In between saving the world from evil incarnate and embodying human perfection, Milla has taken the time to record several albums, pose for hundreds of magazine covers and start her own clothing line, Jovovich-Hawk, with costume designer Carmen Hawk.

"It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time," she says of Jovovich-Hawk, "and I think if you're lucky enough to be in a position where you can do what you want to do, it's kind of your responsibility to do it. Most people aren't in that position. There are a lot of people who don't have the money or the time or whatever to do what they really love. So with the clothing I said, 'Screw it, I'm doing it like I want to. I don't want to do anything commercialized. I want to make beautiful clothes that make women look beautiful.'"

Jovovich has also traveled the world, married a couple of her directors and invented the Jolly Rancher, which as far as I'm concerned is one tasty drink.

"Look over there," Jovovich says suddenly in a stage whisper, "it's Keanu Reeves."

And sure enough, it is Keanu, sitting by the bar and wearing a full tuxedo. Milla smiles and we toast to Keanu and to the Polo Lounge and to the blue hairs guzzling their afternoon martinis and the burst of fuchsia bougainvillea that cups our table, mirroring the vibrant pink of our Jolly Ranchers.

"This place is good, right?" Jovovich is looking at me with big eyes, waiting for approval.

It's damn good. And I'm feeling good too. I'll say this -- there's certainly worse things than hanging with Milla Jovovich in a legendary Tinseltown joint, getting giddy in the L.A. afternoon sun. And can I tell you something? This chick is on the level.

I know, I know, you think that's the Jolly Rancher talking, but goddamn, I mean it. Okay, get this: she was born in Russia, right? And then, in the midst of the Cold War, long before Gorby and his birthmark ushered in Glasnost, back when it was all nuclear tension and vodka and boycotting the Olympics, she and her family got themselves out of there and into the States. Her mother, a Russian movie star and her father, a med student, ended up cleaning houses.

The thing about Milla is that she may have landed her first modeling gig and first film before most kids get their driver's license, but somehow she can still sit at the Polo Lounge and convince me that her modesty is not false and that her aim is true.

"I don't know. I'm not trying to prove anything," she says thoughtfully. "I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody by doing what I do, by making my music or my clothes or these movies. Basically I'm just trying to prove something to myself. I need to be creative in whatever way is available to me. But I also know it's important to realize who you are and where you are and not get too caught up in things. I've made some fun movies and some music that I like and some clothes I think are cool. I'm trying to make the right choices and grow. I know that sounds like a line but it isn't."