London: Mila Kunis, who has been voted the hottest woman in the world owing to her knock-out figure, huge dark eyes and pouting lips, has revealed that she had a tough time before she lit up the big screen in Hollywood. The 28-year-old actress was born in the Ukraine and had to hide the fact she was Jewish when she was growing up for fear of persecution.
“My whole family was in the Holocaust. My grandparents passed and not many survived,” a leading daily has quoted her as saying.
“After the Holocaust, in Russia you were not allowed to be religious. So my parents raised me to know I was Jewish. You know who you are inside,” she said.
Her grandparents managed to escape the Second World War slaughter — but other relatives did not. During the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine up to 900,000 Jews were murdered. Even today, there is still prejudice against Jews and the far Right movement is strong.
“When I was in school you would still see anti-Semitic signs. One of my friends who grew up in Russia, she was in second grade. She came home one day crying. Her mother asked why and she said on the back of her seat there was a swastika. This is a country that obviously does not want you,” she said.
When the actress was seven her parents Mark, a mechanical engineer, and mum Elvira, a physics teacher, decided to move to the US with Mila and her brother Michael. When she got to America, the actress could not speak English and her first year at school was a huge struggle.
“I cried every day. I didn’t understand the culture. I didn’t understand the people,” she said.
Her dad got a job driving a cab and her mum worked in a pharmacy. In order to improve Mila’s English they sent her to acting classes when she was nine. From there she got a manager. She was determined to succeed against all the odds. When she went for a role in TV series ‘That ’70s Show’ she was told all applicants had to be at least 18.
The problem was she was just 14. So she told the casting team she was “going to be 18 on her birthday” — without saying which birthday. She got the part of spoilt rich girl Jackie Burkhart in the show — and it launched her career. It was also where she met co-star Ashton Kutcher.