Milla Jovovich (born December 17, 1975) is a model, actress, musician, and fashion designer. Over her career, she has appeared in a number of science fiction and action themed films, for which music channel VH1 has referred to her as the "reigning queen of kick-butt". Jovovich began modeling at age 10, when she was discovered by photographer Carlos Reynosa. Later Gene Lemuel convinced Herb Ritts to shoot her for the cover of Lei magazine. Richard Avedon featured her in Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World" advertisements, and she continued her career with other campaigns for L'Oréal cosmetics, Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Donna Karan, and Versace. In 1988, she had her first professional acting role in the television film The Night Train to Kathmandu, and later that year, she appeared in her first feature film, Two Moon Junction. Following more small television appearances such as the "Fair Exchange" (1989) and a 1989 role as a French girl (she was 14 at the time) on a Married... with Children episode and film roles, she gained notoriety with the romance film Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991). She appeared in 1993's Dazed and Confused alongside Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey.
Jovovich then acted alongside Bruce Willis in the science fiction film The Fifth Element (1997), and later played the title role in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999). In 2002, she starred in the video game adaptation Resident Evil, which spawned three sequels: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) and Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010). In addition to her modeling and acting career, Jovovich released a music album, The Divine Comedy in 1994. She continues to release demos for other songs on her official website and contributes to film soundtracks; Jovovich has yet to release another album. In 2003, she and model Carmen Hawk created the clothing line Jovovich-Hawk, which ceased operations in early 2008. In its third season prior to its demise, the pieces could be found at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, Harvey Nichols, and over 50 stores around the world. Jovovich also has her own production company, Creature Entertainment. Milla was born in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union, the daughter of Bogdan Bogdanović Jovović, a Serbian pediatrician, and Galina Mikhaylovna Loginova, a Russian stage actress.
Milla's paternal family's estate was in Zlopek near Peć in the northwestern part of Metohija Valley, Serbia. Her paternal great-grandfather, Bogić Camić Jovović, was a flag-bearer of the Vasojevići clan and an officer in the guard of King Nicholas I of Montenegro; his wife's name was Milica, after whom Milla was named. Her paternal grandfather, Bogdan Jovović, was a commander in the Pristina military area, and later investigated finances in the military areas of Skopje and Sarajevo, where he uncovered massive gold embezzlement. He was punished for refusing to convict a friend of the crime. Later, the government briefly imprisoned him in Goli otok for refusing to testify. When he feared that he could be arrested again, he escaped to Albania and later moved to Kiev. A different version of the story claims that he was the one who took the gold. Milla's father, Bogich, later joined Bogdan in Kiev, where he and his sister graduated in medicine. In 2000, her grandfather, Bogdan Jovović, died in Kiev. Her mother was born in Tuapse (now in Russia) but moved in her childhood to Dnipropetrovsk (now in Ukraine). In 1980, when Milla was five years old, her family left the Soviet Union for political reasons and moved to London. They subsequently lived in Sacramento, California before settling in Los Angeles seven months later; Milla's parents divorced soon after.
In 1988, as a result of her father's relationship with a woman from Argentina, Milla's half-brother Marco Jovovich, was born. Milla's mother attempted to support the family with acting jobs, but found little success, and eventually resorted to cleaning houses to earn money. Both her father and mother provided house cleaning services for director Brian De Palma. Milla's father was incarcerated for participating in an illegal operation concerning medical insurance; he was given a 20-year sentence in 1994, but was released in 1999 after serving five years in an American prison. According to Milla, "Prison was good for him. He's become a much better person. It gave him a chance to stop and think." Milla attended public schools shortly after arriving in the United States, and became fluent in English in three months. During school, many of the students had teased her because she had immigrated from the Soviet Union during the Cold War: "I was called a commie and a Russian spy. I was never, ever, ever accepted into the crowd." At age 12 in seventh grade, Milla left school to focus on modeling. She has stated that she was rebellious during her early teens, engaging in drug use, shopping mall vandalism, and credit-card fraud.
At the age of nine, she began going to modeling audition. At ten years old she signed with Model and Photographer Carlos Reynosa as part of Prima Modeling agency. She was later shot by photographer and poet Gene Lemuel. He shot some test photos and later showed them to Herb Ritts in LA. The next day Ritts booked her for the cover of Lei, an Italian magazine. After Jovovich booked Lei she was signed by Prima Modeling Agency then Richard Avedon hired her for Mademoiselle. Avedon was head of marketing at Revlon at the time, and chose Jovovich to appear with models Alexa Singer and Sandra Zatezalo in Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World" advertisements. In 1988, she made her first professional model contract. Jovovich was among other models who gained controversy for becoming involved in the industry at a young age.In an article published in 2002, she was said to be Miuccia Prada's muse and in an article published in 2003, Harpers & Queen magazine claimed Jovovich was Gianni Versace's "favourite supermodel". In 2004, Jovovich topped Forbes magazine's "Richest Supermodels of the World" list, earning a reported $10.5 million. In 2006, Jovovich was picked up by Spanish clothing line Mango as their new spokesmodel and is currently featured in their ad campaigns; she can also be seen in advertisements for Etro. She has noted that "Modeling was never a priority".
Jovovich had begun working on a music album as early as 1988, when she was signed by SBK Records after the company heard a demo she recorded. In August 1990, she asserted in an interview that the then-forthcoming album would be "a mix between Kate Bush, Sinéad O'Connor, This Mortal Coil, and the Cocteau Twins". After it was initially presented by SBK strictly as a pop album, Jovovich protested, insisting on using her personal poetry for lyrics and recording her own instrumental material. Jovovich and fellow model Carmen Hawk launched a line of clothing called Jovovich-Hawk in 2003. The pair opened a showroom in New York City's Greenwich Village on September 13, 2005, and the line lasted for four years. All of the dresses for Jovovich-Hawk line were designed by herself and her partner Carmen Hawk, in The atelier is based in Los Angeles, but pieces could be found at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, Harvey Nichols, and over 50 stores around the world. Vogue has praised the line for its "girl-about-town cult status most designers spend years trying to achieve." In November 2006, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and US Vogue nominated Jovovich-Hawk for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. Jovovich-Hawk was nominated as a finalist, although Doo-Ri Chung took the top prize. In 2007, Jovovich and Hawk designed the costume for Jovovich's character in Resident Evil: Extinction. The shorts Alice, her character, wears are a variation on the 'Alice Star' Shorts from the Spring 2007 collection. In late 2007, Jovovich-Hawk signed a deal to design a diffusion collection for Target's Go International campaign, following in the footsteps of Luella, Paul & Joe and Proenza Schouler. In late 2008, Jovovich and Hawk mutually agreed to end the business due to increased demands on their time. Jovovich explained, "I'm an artist. I'm not someone who can deal with shipping rates and taxes."
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