"Imagine being blind and deaf at age seven," said Mila Kunis, describing her arrival in the US from her native Ukraine. Two decades later the scared little girl who cried every day because she didn't understand a word of English, had the keys to Hollywood.
She likes when asked, why acting, to cite happenstance, "because it was fun and I could get out of school".
Of course, that's only a half truth.
Determination and a giant-sized talent encompassing goofy comedy (Forgetting Sarah Marshall
with Russell Brand
) and drama (The Book of Eli
opposite Denzel Washington
) played their part.
Genetic blessings – a cupid bow mouth, low husky voice and two limitless pools of amber moonlighting as eyes – didn't hurt either.
Her single mindedness was another inheritance from her parents, whom she said left "amazing jobs" in the USSR, because they saw no future there for Mila, who was born on August 14, 1983, and her older brother Michael.
The Kunis family arrived on American soil in 1991 with just $250.
It was Elvira, a physics teacher, and Mark, a mechanical engineer, who enrolled Mila, then nine, in an after school acting class that led to a part in That '70s Show
The part was meant for someone 18, but the plucky little immigrant lied. By the time the producers discovered she was four years younger they didn't care.
After eight seasons on the sitcom, she was ready for more adult fare, and landed a role as Natalie Portman's manipulative rival in Black Swan
Preparation for the 2010 pyschological thriller about the world of top flight ballet stars included 1,200-calorie a day crash diet and four hours of dance class.
The success of the movie, which was nominated for five Oscars, meant interest in the gutsy, fearless beauty was high.
Her personal life, including eight years with Macaulay Culkin, and a relationship with Ashton Kutcher
, only intensified curiosity. She began dating Ashton, another That '70s Show
alumnus, following the breakdown of his marriage to Demi Moore
By now, one half of young Tinseltown's most photogenic pairing, Mila was tripping over 'the sexiest woman in the world' titles. In 2014, the pair announced their engagement and the actress gave birth to their daughter Wyatt in September that year.
The screen beauty refuses to buy into the hype surrounding her looks and celebrity status, saying: “You’ve got to base your career on something other than being FHM
’s top 100 number one girl.
"Your looks are going to die out, and then what’s going to be left?”