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Cupcakes With Mila


“I never want to be on the cover of US Weekly.”

Mila Kunis
By E.C. Gladstone

Mila Kunis is moving. She’s had enough of West Hollywood–the traffic, the attitudes, the celebutantes who have ruined her nail salon and her gym, and most of all, the paparazzi, who sit outside her house waiting for…what? A trip to the dry cleaners? Walking the dog? Her boyfriend taking out the trash?

“Makes me so angry,” she says with a barely-throaty rasp. “So many people care about your personal life over your talent. I don’t live to be famous, I don’t live to be recognized. I never want to be on the cover of US Weekly. I truly am telling you: I despise this aspect.

“There used to be mystery, mystique,” about the lives of filmland folks, she rants. Now, “There’s a war going on, and we’re still [asking] ‘What did Britney Spears have for breakfast?’”

Anyway, this is kind of a big deal. Mila moving, I mean. Because the tough little cookie (who you know from That 70s Show, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and now hopefully Max Payne) is practically a West Hollywood native, having lived here 17 of her 25 years, ever since emigrating with her family from the Ukraine.

Wearing a vintage Bowie shirt and tourniquet-tight jeans, Kunis is meeting me at Cake & Art, a WeHo staple of sorts, which—aside from having some of the best cupcakes in this cupcake-obsessed town—specializes in XXX-rated party pastry. Though she suffered a bout with food poisoning the night before (“sorry if I’m a little quiet,” she says!), Mila could not resist the appeal of her own personal lesson in cake frosting from Kody, the manager–who also happens to be one of the country’s pre-eminent Britney Spears impersonators. This is the world that f-bomb loving Mila is totally comfortable in. “Absofuckinlutely!” says MK, con mucho gusto.

But we’re not quite done with the rant. “According to ‘those’ magazines, I’ve been married, I’ve been divorced and I’ve been pregnant,” she says with a bitter laugh. None of the above, in fact. It is true, however, that along with her dogs Shorty and Audrey, her other housemate is longtime boyfriend Macaulay Culkin.

“We don’t talk about it,” to the press, Kunis insists. “We’ve been together going on seven years. Because we don’t talk about it.” Nor will you often see them walking red carpets together. “Its already more high profile than I want it to be,” Mila moans, insisting they have a “good healthy relationship,” and telling me warmly that they met “in New York on a beautiful, beautiful Spring day” before closing the subject.

Well, almost. Kunis admits Culkin shares her unhealthy obsession with videogames, particularly World of Warcraft, which they had to swear off earlier this year because their circle of friends realized it was actually taking over their lives! “There’s no such thing as ‘just five minutes,’” she laugh/cries. “It got to a point where I was so excited to get home, not to see my family, but to play WOW.” Nevertheless, she’s looking forward to Spore (probably addicted already by the time you read this) and still enjoys Mario Party.

Ironically, she isn’t much a fan of the Max Payne game, but enjoyed learning to shoot real weapons in order to play an assassin in the movie, and wrestle Mark Wahlberg. That isn’t to say she trains vigorously for every role. Between bites of chocolate-on-chocolate cupcake, Kunis chuckles about guzzling mai tais and something called a “monkey’s lunch” on the beach while Forgetting Sarah Marshall co-star Kristin Bell worked her body out to pefection during the Oahu filming. “The first two weeks, for sure, whenever she did yoga I was right there. And then I was like ‘eh, I get it.’”

What concerned her more was rising to the challenge of improv comedy in a Judd Apatow film, much like her next film, Mike Judge’s Extract, with Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck. “I play a kleptomaniac psychopath, a pathological liar. And… hilarity ensues.”

Despite her candid demeanor (“I’m pretty much an open book.”), Mila can be a little evasive, even argumentative. When its pointed out that she doesn’t smile a lot in photos—obviously touching a nerve—she argues to the contrary, complains about people who fake a smile all the time, makes a point of grinning widely in the pic we take together, then finally admits she has a cracked, discolored front tooth. (Her other imperfection, a disease in her right eye that occasionally discolors the iris, is kept under control by steroids)

“I have nothing fake about me,” she insists. “Not one single thing. I will never. I don’t have a boob job, I don’t have extensions, I don’t have fake lashes. Do I wish I had bigger tits and an ass? Absolutely! If it makes you feel better about yourself on the inside, I see nothing wrong with it. But I am 100% happy with what God gave me.”

Still, Kunis has declared a moratorium on Maxim-type photo spreads. Not in protest of her slipping down the ‘Hot 100’ lists (“Seriously, where do you think I went wrong in my career?” she cracks) but just because “It’s time to move on. My dad’s like, ‘okay, we get it, put some clothes on.’”

Mila says people already look at her differently at 25. But arguably they are just doing math in their heads, trying to figure out how she could have eight seasons of That 70s Show already under her belt. As has been oft reported, Kunis fibbed about her age when auditioning, managing to score the role of 14-year-old Jackie when she was actually only 14 herself.

“It was eight years of my life that sculpted me,” she says, admitting the end was bittersweet. “There was so many things I went through on thst show as a girl,” she says, although she insists she never watched an episode after the first season, and hasn’t since. “Are you fuckin’ crazy? No. I don’t need to see myself going through puberty.” On the other hand, her parents–who live across the street (!) and still have blue collar jobs at Rite Aid and behind a taxicab wheel–practically TIVO it daily and have a shrine erected.

She is obviously close to them, and to her older brother Mike, an entrepreneur with a biochemistry background. In fact, one of Mila’s happiest times was traveling to Korea with him, where—apparently—no one has seen That 70s Show. “I took the subway, I went to the mall, I went shopping, I was running around by myself and I was safe. It was so incredibly freeing.” She also loves Disneyland, enjoys “getting pampered” at spas as often as possible, and waxes lyrical about a recent trip to Key West. “It’s really fuckin’ cute, the water was beautiful, and they had really great crab, great fish. I loved it.”

She’s also excited for Halloween, which will find her and Kulkin … not going out! But in a good way: “We do murder mystery dinners every year. It’s really fun. We get a group of 14-20 people, give people their characters beforehand, everyone dresses in costumes. Last year I was Morticia Addams. I still have the dress.”

Not long ago, she would’ve been happy doing just about anything but acting. At 19, she says, “I wanted nothing to do with this industry. Hated every aspect of it. I was going to go to college. I wanted to be a teacher.” Actually, Kunis did attend classes at Loyola Marymount for a time.  Then, “I realized I enjoyed doing what I do, minus all the other bullshit that came along with it.

“When you’re young you want to please people,” she explains. “You want to please people you don’t know, so that the stranger on the street says ‘good job!’ because that’s what matters. And at a certain point you’ve got to realize that’s not what matters. What matters is you being happy with what you did.”

Today, she’s perfectly comfortable saying  “I’m not‘industry,’ I’m not gonna make an album, I’m not going to come out with a fuckin’ clothing line, it’s not who I am, and people are fully aware of it.”

On the other hand, the immigrant is fully aware that she’s living “the American dream, right?” At least, that is, when asked about the irony of someone who learned English as a second language—supposedly from watching The Price Is Right—now being a well-compensated voice actor as Meg on Family Guy.

Where will she go from here? Says Mila, as she hops back in her black Lexus, “I don’t fuckin’ know, I’ll let you know when I get there.”

One thing is for sure: it will definitely be in a different zip code.


copyright 2008 ECG

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