Some faces inspire dreams of another world. With a new movie coming out, actor and model Milla Jovovich does just that, gleaming every step of the way.
Through the small screen of a video call to Milla Jovovich in Los Angeles, the actor and model’s piercing blue, almond-shaped eyes are as intense and mesmerizing as ever. Whether she’s battling otherworldly creatures in her upcoming fantasy adventure film, Monster Hunter, or at home, sipping tea, curled up with her family close by, she is quite literally a well-oiled machine. “They would call me Grease Monkey,” laughs Jovovich in reference to her penchant for her skin’s slick patina. “I used to put lip gloss around my eyes.” It’s a moniker the self-proclaimed beauty product junkie has fondly embraced. “I love to feel shiny,” she says. “At night, I put on all my oils and creams and no one can touch me.” Time has been kind to Jovovich, who, at 45, is once again basking in motherhood, having given birth to her third daughter, Osian, last year. She’s positively glowing and entirely affable.
It’s hard to picture Jovovich looking anything less than the bombastic warrior woman the world has become accustomed to her playing onscreen. Her latest starring role as Captain Artemis is no different, as she leads an elite team in an epic battle against monsters. It’s the eighth movie she’s worked on with her writer, director, and producer husband Paul Anderson, with whom she first collaborated on the wildly successful Resident Evil franchise. “I think he realized that if you want to spend time with me, you have to work with me,” she smiles.
While her career continues to go from strength to strength, she admits to having lived through some very dark times. Before the arrival of Osian, Jovovich experienced a miscarriage at five months pregnant. “After that, I fell off the edge of the world,” she shares. “I needed to heal. I didn’t want to pretend that I was OK.” As she lived with her pain, Jovovich describes how, in due time, she went down a “good” rabbit hole. “I had had this amazing green in Italy – like chicory – and I wondered if I could grow it here,” she says, referring to her Los Angeles home’s backyard. She started studying everything from plants to dirt and ended up digging her own vegetable garden, which she cultivates to feed her family. “Beauty is sleep, exercise, and good food,” she states plainly.
If Jovovich pored over books to learn the ins and outs of growing legumes, she is perhaps even more well-read on the subject of beauty. She motions to a glass platter in her room, where she has more than a dozen or so oils, serums, and creams positioned like soldiers at attention. On the tray are products from The Ordinary, Retrouvé, Shani Darden, and Tata Harper. There are pH-balanced cleansers by Dermalogica and Alpha-H, as well as vitamin C serums by iS Clinical and BioBare that she vouches help combat sun damage – and indeed, her skin appears void of redness, freckles, and any hint of tan. There are oils galore: Uma Oils, Herbivore Botanicals, and Manjish Glow Elixir By The Ayurveda Experience, which she claims transformed her skin. She readily shares her beauty tips and products on social media with her 3.6 million Instagram followers – including the benefit of not sleeping on one’s face – alongside fitness tips, like her training regime for her latest film alongside Natalie Mallue, an elite US Army Ranger.
Jovovich is curious and thorough and so it’s no surprise that she raves about what mere mortals would attest to being nothing short of grueling physical experiences. Discipline and determination are her modus operandi and have been ingrained in her from an early age. Milica Natasha Jovovich was born in Kyiv, in the former Soviet Union, on a subzero December day. Her mother, Galina, was a movie star in her home country, and was the young Milla’s first beauty ideal for her spectacular glamour and natural pizzazz. When her family emigrated in 1980, finally landing in Los Angeles, her mother taught her everything she knew, and is cited as being instrumental in building her daughter’s career. Jovovich started modeling at 12, and in due course was photographed by all the late greats, including Herb Ritts, Richard Avedon, and Peter Lindbergh. Her first foray into film was a role in The Night Train to Kathmandu. In 1991, at 15, she starred in Return to the Blue Lagoon. In 1997, she would play what is considered to be her breakthrough role: orange-haired alien Leeloo, mesmerizing in a couture bandage suit by Jean Paul Gaultier in the science fiction action film The Fifth Element by French director Luc Besson, who would go on to be her husband, if only temporarily.
However, for the one-time world’s highest-paid model (in 2004), it was her collaboration with and marriage to Anderson that would prove to offer her continued commercial success and also a thriving family with three girls. Today, she refers to herself as a stage mom to her 13-year-old eldest daughter Ever Gabo Anderson. She glows with pride as she shares that Ever will star in Disney’s upcoming live-action Peter Pan in the role of Wendy, as well as playing the young title character in Marvel’s Black Widow. Like her mother, Ever is discovering the reach of her girl power with strong action roles, learning martial arts, and exploring her freedom of expression through beauty with rainbow-colored locks.
Jovovich recalls how, over time, she has experienced the transformational capacities of hair and makeup. “Something that I didn’t initially think looked good became attractive, even beautiful,” she comments. “That’s the beauty of makeup; it has the power to shift perceptions and reinvent stereotypes.” If today her guilty pleasures are potent serums that help time stand still, as is evident on these pages, Jovovich continues to transport us to other worlds. Throughout this unprecedented time where most are confined to their couches, oh, how visual fantasy delights and everlasting superheroes like Jovovich seduce.