Mila Kunis in W Mag: “I was never raised to think that I was pretty”

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These are photos from Mila Kunis’s W Magazine cover shoot, photographed by Craig McDean for the March issue. I haven’t been loving W Magazine lately, but this is a solid shoot with a deserving cover model. Mila is on her way to promoting Friends With Benefits, that crappy-looking movie that is strikingly similar to Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman’s No Strings Attached. Wait… scratch that, Friends With Benefits doesn’t come out until July. I guess Mila got the cover of W Magazine just because.

Anyway, the early interview excerpts are lovely – Mila talks about the first time she saw a black person, deciding to become an actress as a career, and how one of her first gigs was a guest spot on Baywatch:

Lynn Hirschberg: In Black Swan, you play the wild-child devil girl. You’re both seductive and scary. Had you danced before you took the part?
Mila Kunis: I had never danced in my life. I trained for four months, seven days a week, five hours a day. I had one day off on my birthday. I lost 20 pounds. I tore a ligament. I dislocated my shoulder. I have two scars on my back. And it was worth every minute. But I will never dance again. I’m a strong believer in mind over matter, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant until this production. I was like, Well—I wear heels; I can do this. I was wrong: Christian Louboutins are uncomfortable, but I screamed the first time I put on a pointe shoe.

You have previously been known for comedy. Do you think it’s difficult for women to be considered both beautiful and funny in Hollywood?
I was never raised to think that I was pretty. It’s not that I was raised to think I was unattractive, but it was just never something that was pointed out to me by my family. They would point out personality traits—“Our daughter is really quirky”—versus what I look like, because inevitably, looks go, so it makes no difference.

Your family is Ukrainian. How old were you when you moved to America?
I was seven and a half when we moved to the States. We came straight to Los Angeles.

What was the first thing you remember seeing of America?
A black man. It was at the American embassy [in Moscow], and all I had known were Caucasian people with blond hair, brunette hair, and sometimes red hair. You’re never really taught about anything else. I think I was frightened. And the beautiful thing was, the man spoke Russian. He explained to me that there are people in this world who are of different color. Being seven and a half, I asked him, “Does that mean there are purple people in this world?”

Shortly after arriving in L.A., you began acting. Did you always long to be an actress?
No. I started acting when I was nine as a hobby because it was fun, and it allowed me to get out of school. The first thing I did was a Barbie commercial, and I got to keep the Barbie. That’s all a kid wants. From nine to 14, I did close to 15 commercials, and I guest starred on just about every television show. I was on Baywatch twice. The second time, I played a blind girl who’s lost in the forest next to the beach and needs to be saved. It was absurd: There’s a fire, I get saved, and then I go boogie-boarding. I remember thinking, Well, if I’m blind, how am I boogie-boarding? No one ever gave me an answer.

Was there a moment when you decided to be more discerning and selective in your roles?
I didn’t really think of acting as a career. I’m the first person in my family to not be a college graduate. I always associate careers with college diplomas. When I was 22, my contract with That ’70s Show ended, and I had to make a conscious decision about what I wanted to do with my life. During the show, I had attempted to go to college, but I realized that the traffic in L.A. made it too difficult for me to go to school at 6 a.m. and be back at work at 10 a.m. I asked my parents if it was okay if I dropped out. They said okay, you can defer until after your contract with That ’70s Show ends. And then it ended. I realized for the first time that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. So I had to make acting a career—to make smart choices instead of choices made for fun.

When you watch your performance in Black Swan, do you find it strange—as if it was another life, another person?
Before I started, I couldn’t even lift my arm properly. I literally had no posture, so, yeah, the first time I saw the movie, my jaw dropped. I was like, Oh, my God—I don’t suck. And it’s great that the performance has been captured on film, because I will never put on those pointe shoes again.

[From W Magazine via The Fashion Spot]

She’s so cute. Compare this interview with Ashton Kutcher’s BBC interview and you’ll see that not all That 70s Show actors are built from the same stuff. Where Mila comes across as consistently humble, pragmatic and low-key, Ashton seems more and more like an egomaniacal jag. I wonder what Topher Grace is up to?

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Photos courtesy of The Fashion Spot.

 

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52 Responses to “Mila Kunis in W Mag: “I was never raised to think that I was pretty””

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  1. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    Don’t you love how kids are so straight up honest about things they don’t know? Ha..purple people. That was really, really cute :)

    Also, I appreciate that she was HONEST about that instead of saying something like, “From the moment I was born I was colorblind.” ha. Leave it to Mila to actually be honest about that.

    She is so refreshing to watch AND to read. Yay for Mila!

  2. Rita says:

    @Gradstudent

    Children are so wonderful. The other day I read a comment by a mother whose 5 year old daughter frantically searched the house for her doll but to no avail. Finally she put her hands on her hips and yelled, “Show your face you coward!!”. LOL, a five year old.

    Back on thread: Beautiful eyes.

  3. mln76 says:

    “Does that mean there are purple people in this world?”

    So cute.

  4. Addie says:

    I have always thought that a pairing of Mila and Leonardo Dicaprio would give Angie and Brad a run for their money in the looks department

  5. Heather says:

    Wow. I love this interview.

    It has officially turned me into a fan.

  6. jaye E says:

    @Rita…okay, that made me literally laugh out loud. Kids that age are hilarious.

  7. kiko says:

    @rita funniest story of the day!!

  8. tapioca says:

    “because inevitably, looks go, so it makes no difference”.

    Damn you Mila – I love you, I really do, but you wouldn’t be on the cover of W, or have been cast in Black Swan or Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Gia or That 70s Show if you weren’t beautiful, so it ABSOLUTELY makes a difference! And Justin Timberlake wouldn’t be trying to bang you either…

  9. Trace says:

    Really appreciate her honesty and humility. She is beautiful.

  10. Sara says:

    She’s so cute and easy to like.

  11. Crash2GO2 says:

    Wow, if I had had that exposure to ballet (read ‘been paid to do it 5 hours a day 7 days a week for 4 months’) I would keep it up at least for fitness. It does wonderful things for your posture and I love the ballet dancer’s musculature.

    Now I actually want to see the movie!

  12. DD says:

    I miss Topher Grace. He’s a special cute. Topher and Mila were my 70s favorites, oh and the guy with the curly hair too.

  13. Nanea says:

    I still don’t get why Mila wasn’t nominated for an Oscar.

    I’ve always had a girl crush, reading this didn’t get me closer to being cured!

  14. Raven Sparrow says:

    Crash2GO2 – Black Swan is a very good movie. I loved it. All the actors are amazing in it. I’m not a big fan of N Portman but in this movie she is excellent IMO. And all the ballet is breathtaking.

    Breathtaking in the sense that if you’ve seen the real Swan Lake and watch this movie knowning that they had to learn this all in a few months and they managed to make it look like that.

  15. Isa says:

    I love her. She is so cute!
    Her interviews are always interesting. I remember how she said her parents lied to her about moving to LA. I would’ve been so upset.

    The purple people story is so cute! Kids are so funny.

    I think it’s interesting that she wasn’t raised to think that she was pretty, but she played the character of Jackie so perfectly. Jackie was soooooo conceited. Even though she didn’t hear it from her family surely she heard it from others? I mean strangers and casting directors..etc? Some of my earliest memories are from strangers commenting on my looks.

  16. Dominique says:

    Love how articulate she is. As a photographer,her big eyes would be a dream to photograph! And I love her eyebrows. I’m so happy she’s seeing success in Hollywood.

  17. Racheal says:

    Love her. She’s who little girls should aspire to be like instead of w.t. Miley Cyrus.

  18. Blaster says:

    Haha, maybe it’s a foreign thing but my parents were the exact same way. My parents always called me smart or capable. But never pretty. And swap out the black man for a white guy and you have my story too!

    I’m from Nigeria and seeing my first white guy at Heathrow at eight years old? Scared the hell outta me.

  19. Bodhi says:

    OMG kids crack me up! Apparently when I was little I asked my mom how breastfeeding worked & when she told me I asked if I could get diet Coke instead.

    She is such a lovely person. I’m super bummed that she & Mac Culkin broke up, but as long as they are happy, so be it.

    Edit: Thats really funny, Blaster! :P

  20. JuJuBee says:

    Mila is definitely on my list of girl crushes. Lovely and real. I hope she never goes down the Hollyweird path.

  21. wonderwoman21 says:

    @Addie OMG that’s brilliant! I want to see Mila and Leo together now

  22. VV says:

    I love her :) She’s beautiful but has substance too which is great to read when so many other celebrity interviews suck.

    I absolutely love that ring in the first picture too with the flower.

  23. alma says:

    i am a huge fan of her! she’s the perfect package. but they over photoshoped the pictures! her hand looks fake :(

  24. lrmsd says:

    um, colorblind is when you don’t care about race or see it…
    of course we see ppl look different than one another…
    when i lived in africa, i ran across some kids in rural areas, who were freaked out about seeing a white person…and also about cameras-parents didn’t want their pics taken b/c it’s the devil…that sort of thing.

    so yea, when you come across something you don’t know, it’s freaky. but it really had nothing to do with the fact that he was ‘black’ with all the connotations we give that and to race.
    he could’ve had polka dot skin, or green hair, and she would’ve been freaked. it has to do with looking different. race is neutral in this case-not the loaded mess we live with in society.

  25. Gwenevere says:

    She looks so beautiful in these pictures! I love her interviews. She comes across as such a normal girl, someone who appreciates where she is and the opportunities she has. That said, YES looks DO make a difference, Mila. Don’t kid yourself.

  26. Katie says:

    Topher Grace is promoting a movie that’s about to come out. Some kind of 80s style comedy I believe.

    Love Mila.

  27. bluhare says:

    Bodhi: Diet coke! That’s hysterical.

    I remember my first sighting of Americans . . . it was in Scotland and we were coming home from school on the bus. Picture us, Scottish school children in grey school uniforms and satchels, and these two bleached blonde women in the top front seat . . . marvelling at the scenery. All I remember was them shouting (or what seemed like shouting to us) “Hey, baby, this is terrific!”.

    Then a few years later we moved here.

  28. I Choose Me says:

    She’s fab. I love her dark, soulful, dominating eyes and down to earth, forthright personality.

  29. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    @lrmsd
    I was being facetious…
    Mila told a great story about how she had never seen a black man before until she was in the Moscow embassy, and how she had NO idea that other people were different than what she grew up with. It was a great, interesting, and honest story.

    However, many other celebrities might not have been as honest and may have taken the whole “I don’t see a difference in ANYONE we are ALL the same. Even right after I came out of the womb.”

    So it was not a comment to be taken seriously about race.

  30. MissyA says:

    I love me some Mila Kunis – but she will always be my beloved Jackie Burkhart. (Probably because I dated a Burkhardt. . . in Wisconsin!)

    Her stories are always so candid and sweet. Seems like her folks did something right with her.

  31. Ms_Fu says:

    Reminds me of a story a fellow volunteer once told me about her grandson. She had gone to Idaho to visit the three-year old and, while in the grocery store, he saw a black woman for the very first time. He said, “Grandma, look at the chocolate lady!” Hilarious!

  32. Evelyn says:

    She seems like such a sweetheart! I bet she’s lovely in person.

  33. Newbie says:

    Man. I don’t trust anything I see in Hollywood, but I have to say I am really really liking her. @Dominique: you’re a photog too? What sort of photography do you like to do?

  34. candy says:

    Like this young actress but the smokers voice is rough and grating. (i.e. Demi Moore) Sometimes being too down-to-earth, especially in Hollywood, can land one in hot water. Get rid of the cigs, babe.

  35. taylor says:

    It’s funny how differently people respond to her voice. (and not just because of Family Guy). I love her voice…always have. But I do agree I wish she would stop smoking.

  36. Camille says:

    God I love this girl. Gorgeous and a fantastic personality to boot. One of the few *truly* likeable actresses working today IMHO.

    I love, love, love that photo of her with the rose, although all of the photos are lovely.

  37. dj says:

    She really does give an interesting interview and I can’t say I remember thinking that about many celebrity/actors. Plus, she is gorgeous and hilariously honest. Please remain humble Mila.

  38. Gabriela says:

    She’s so awfully pretty. And she’s gotten so pretty all of the sudden!

  39. olivia says:

    my parents were the same way. they never told me i was beautiful, but they never said i was ugly or anything. they emphasized education. however, i always got comments from other people how i was pretty and whatnot. but even when i was little, i always thought that they were just being nice because i thought who would be rude enough to say something bad about a kid, so of course they would say you’re pretty. lol. so even as a child, i never let any compliments go to my head.

  40. Stephanie says:

    The bottom picture: gorgeous!! Why wasn’t she cast as Catwoman? Someone remind me. Please.

  41. LittleDeadGirl says:

    I was never that keen on the 70s show so I was a bit meh about her but the more I read about her the more I have respect. I love how she expresses herself and how honest she is about her experiences. Girl crush!

  42. Jennifer Leigh says:

    One of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten from my boyfriend of 5+ years is that I kind of look like Mila Kunis when we watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. LOL, I was SO flattered. I think she is one of the most–if not THE most–beautiful actresses today.

    Love her.

  43. Isa says:

    She’s had the same voice since she was on that 70′s show and she started when she was what? 14?
    Perhaps she was smoking then, but I think it’s natural. Although the cigs probably don’t help.
    I’m just always amazed that I hear no trace of an accent.

  44. taylor says:

    Since she moved to the US when she was only 7 1/2 and was still so young it’s pretty natural to have no accent. Had she moved when she was 20 I am sure you would hear an accent.

  45. Kim says:

    Love her! Beautiful inside and out and so not affected! She has a long career ahead of her.