Elle (France) June 2003

She is Very Milla
By Louise Finlay, Photos by Dominique Issermann

Model, actress, musician, Milla Jovovich knows how to do everything, how to wear everything, and she succeeds at everything. Free, insolent, modern, weíve chosen her to embody the spirit of this 3,000th issue.

A perfect day at Beverly Hills. The sun is shining and Milla Jovovich arrives early to our interview. ďPeople say that Iím always late, but thatís a mythĒ, she declares merrily. Radiant, Milla laughs all the time. And for a reason: right now, everything is smiling at her. Ambassador of LíOreal Paris, she is also the face of Night, the new perfume by Emporio Armani, while her latest film, Resident Evil, has done extremely well at the box office and a sublime engagement ring given by her future husband, the English director Paul W. S. Anderson, shines on her finger. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt bearing ďThe Rolling Stones 1974 tourĒ slogan and an Armani jacket, of course, our cover girl number ď3,000Ē combines all the styles and simultaneously holds multiple talents. She reflects everything we love in Elle: intelligence, elegance and independence. A top model at IMG agency, musician, actress at 28 years of age, Luc Bessonís former wife lives 100% per hour and has no intention of slowing down.

ELLE: Milla, you are the cover girl of the 3,000th issue of Elle. In your opinion, why were you requested so?
MILLA JOVOVICH. I imagine that it has to do with my appearance and my personality as portrayed by the media, because my private life has been the subject of much jabbering. Perhaps this slightly scandalous side of me people find entertaining! Before, being a model, it was just a job, and I was making fun of it. But today, I take my career more seriously. The fact that a reader may buy an Armani item because sheíd seen it on me in a magazine is very important to me. So much so that I intend to launch my own label.

ELLE: Your new challenge is to become a clothing designer?
MILLA: I hope so, because Iíve already wasted a fortune on fabrics! Iíve always loved fashion and wished to create what I donít find in the boutiques. Besides, with a friend weíve released about fifteen prototypes-of chic and structured dresses but with a fun and sexy aspect. In any case, I donít at all want to resemble some of these young designers who ask hallucinating prices for rags that are so in fashion now, that six months later, they are old-fashioned! I love vintage boutiques, I love to customize my clothes. And then, with my friends, we regularly exchange togs. Itís a lot more fun!

ELLE: Where does this passion for fashion come from?
MILLA: From my mum. I remember, when we were still living in the Soviet Union, Mum would rush by like the wind in our apartment, covered with fur, or even running from one movie scene to the next, because she was a movie star there. Even if it was 40ļF outside, she always wore a miniskirt. For me, she was the most beautiful of all women.

ELLE: Is it true that your mum cuts your hair?
MILLA: Yes. Before, I used to go to friends hairdressers who, more often than not, would ruin everything, but I wouldnít dare say anything. Iíd wait to get home before bursting into tears. Whereas, if my mum stuffs it up, at least I can swear!

ELLE: Do you pay a lot of attention to your body?
MILLA: Not really, but I do a martial arts course four times a week. Overall, I try to lead a healthy life. Other than cigarettes, coffee, white nights... (Laughs.) During the day I force myself to at least eat some salads rather than rubbish, and a steak in the evening. In fact, I eat to basically satisfy my hunger. I hardly have the time to appreciate a meal, and Iím everything, but a gourmet.

ELLE: You never go out to restaurants?
MILLA: No, I hate that. Although, for professional reasons, Iím obliged to sacrifice myself to social customs. So, when Iím not working, I eat at my place.

ELLE: You never go out for fun?
MILLA: Iíve recently bought a house in Beverly Hills and I feel really good there. Itís going to seem idiotic to say this, but I think that at a given moment we all need a place to ourselves where we can refuge ourselves and cut ourselves off from the world. My mum doesnít support my locking up, she says to me: ďYour house is a bunker!Ē

ELLE: You share your life with Paul W.S. Anderson, the director of your latest movie, Resident Evil. Have you set a wedding date?
MILLA: We didnít even have time to invite people to our engagement ceremony, and thatís in a few days. If I donít hurry up thereíll only be Paul, my mum, some Russian friends who will lend us their boat for the party, and me. Super!

ELLE: This will be your third marriage. Does Paul have qualities that you havenít found in others?
MILLA: Weíve been together for two years, and believe me, Iím not really easy to live with! There needs to be unlimited patience and unconditional love. Men Iíve known before him loved my independent spirit and were proud of my success, to the point that theyíd become jealous of the time I devote to my career. Paul, he is a rock. If I need to work till three oíclock in the morning, he says ďOK, no problemĒ. And that is cool.

ELLE: Have you found in him the father of your future children?
MILLA: Yes. At the age of 16 I was already dreaming of having a baby because I felt myself to be an adult, but my mum forbid it. Right now, I feel like a teenager and I want to have fun for one or two more years before starting a family. In any case, Iím starting the filming of Resident Evil 2 soon and the protagonist of an action movie can not be pregnant!

ELLE: Youíve always known success, first as a model and more recently as an actress...
MILLA: Thatís not true, Iíve always had to fight for everything. I was still a kid when I gave up modeling and moved to London to devote myself to music. At the time, I had a band. Two years later, broke, I was forced to return to New York to go back to modeling and earn my living. But, when Iíd call my agent, she replied to me: ďYou are now an old-fashioned model, you have a ďhas-beenĒ look.Ē In fact, I could not even manage to get castings. Can you imagine what itís like when youíre told that youíre over at the age of 18? Having said that, the actorís job is even more destabilizing.

ELLE: Why?
MILLA: When you suffer a refusal as a top model, you can always say to yourself: ďItís not serious, I simply donít have the right look for this photo shoot.Ē A casting for cinema, thatís different. You prepare yourself for weeks, you give everything, and you lay your guts onto the table during the five minutes you are given. So then, when youíre rejected, that kills. Moreover, if I didnít have more strings in my bow, I would have had several nervous breakdowns already. The worst is when one ends up ďprostitutingĒ oneself in a poor film because there are no other proposals and one is desperate.

ELLE: However, Resident Evil was a big hit at the box office.
MILLA: Yes, but itís only after this movie that Iím starting to make a small place for myself in Hollywood. And then, Iíve stopped investing myself so much on an emotional level. From now on, I approach the cinema as a business woman. I intend to be in more action movies because, apart from Angelina Jolie, no other actress stands out in this genre.

ELLE: You are originally from the Ukraine in the former USSR. Do you often visit Russia?
MILLA: Never. I went to Moscow to present Joan of Arc and The Fifth Element, but Russia is a country very far from me. Itís cold there, the mafia is everywhere and Iím not even going to talk about the government...Every year they invite me to the film festival in Moscow, but Iíve never gone, not enough time.

ELLE: We have the impression that you never stop.
MILLA: If Iím not overloaded, I become depressed because I feel like Iím doing nothing with my life. Last year I lost a friend, a guitarist from my band. He was only 21 years old. Since then, I think a lot about death and about all the things I want to do before disappearing. So I never rest. Finally, itís simple: either Iíll go crazy in the two coming years, or Iíll break the house. (Laughs). Weíll see!