Vanity Fair September 1999

By Walter Kirn

Is Milla Jovovich human? Born 23 years ago in the Ukraine, the daughter of an actress and a doctor, the cat-eyed, pillow-lipped, neo-pagan beauty started modeling at age 11 and gained notoriety at 15 playing an archetypal nature girl with conveniently breast-covering long hair in Return to the Blue Lagoon. To play the role of "the Perfect Being" in 1997's The Fifth Element she wore a skimpy Jean Paul Gaultier costume that made her look like a partially unwrapped mummy. Now, in her latest movie, Joan of Arc, she plays the legendary martyred mystic who became the patron saint of France. "She was such a mover and a shaker," Jovovich enthuses. "She reminds me of -- what's that animal? A Tasmanian devil."

One man whom Jovovich clearly impressed with her aura of near divinity was Luc Besson, her former husband, who directed her both in The Fifth Element and in Joan of Arc. But Besson and Jovovich are separated now. And for all the demigods in her resume, Jovovich coyly insists on her own mortality, pointing out that even supermodels "wake up with pimples in strange areas". When asked how it felt to be burned at the stake dressed as Saint Joan, she answers humbly: "I got smoke all over me and stuff, but it was nothing compared to what she actually went through."

True. Too true.