Olga Kurylenko has been working as a model in Paris for over a decade. She has appeared in magazines like Marie Claire, Vogue, and Elle, and has done advertising campaigns for Bebe, Helena Rubinstein, L’Etincelle, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, and Clarins cosmetics.
Olga Kurylenko is also well-known for her work as a lingerie model. She has worn skimpy lace and silk for lingerie brands like Yamamay, Evelyn, Lejaby, and Bisou Bisou.
Despite Olga Kurylenko’s height (5’9.5″) and slim figure (34.5 bust-23.5 waist-35 hips) she has rarely walked the ramp. Apart from disrobing down to her underwear for lingerie brands, Olga has also gone completely starkers in her modeling career.
Olga Kurylenko personal relationships
Some of Olga Kurylenko’s attitude towards nudity stems from her upbringing. “My mother is an artist and she taught me that the body is something beautiful. I’d see her painting naked models growing up. She is also a teacher, she taught my class at school and when she showed us nude sculptures, everybody in the class laughed and I was the only one who didn’t, because she always taught me there was nothing to laugh at.”
Olga enjoys a close relationship with her mother Marina, who separated from Olga’s father when she was little. Kurylenko met her father when she was 13 and describes the meeting, “It was, you know, nice… We just… spoke. I mean, you know, I know he is my dad. But he didn’t bring me up. He’s like an acquaintance to me.”
Olga Kurylenko’s father is Ukrainian and mother Russian. She was born in the Ukrainian town of Berdyansk on November 14, 1979. Olga was brought up by her mother (in Moscow) and grandmother (in Berdyansk)….while traveling with her mother in Moscow Olga was spotted by a modeling scout at age 13. Luckily for her, this was also the period when the Ukraine became an independent country and Russia embraced capitalism, opening up the modeling scene. However Kurylenko was always chaperoned by her mother to castings.
Even today mother and daughter text each other daily and talk at least once a week and, thanks to Olga’s success as a model and actress, she has bought her mother gifts that have included a house and a car. “She deserves it because she did so much for me,” Kurylenko says. “I maybe missed money in my childhood, but I didn’t miss love, that’s for sure.”
The absence of a father figure may has made Olga Kurylenko fiercely independent. In 2000 she married a French fashion photographer Cedric Van Mol, but broke up with him in 2003. “He was a good friend so we never fought but you know how it is – at some point it just gets so comfortable – the person becomes more of your brother.”
Then in 2006 Olga hooked up with American businessman Damien Gabrielle and married him in a lavish wedding in Spain. “It was great,” Kurylenko remembers. “It was the best wedding in the world, actually. You know, I’m very happy to have done it because my first wedding was very small. I think it’s a very American thing to have a huge wedding and I’m thinking now, it’s great, I’ve done it – and it was the best party of my life!”
Kurylenko had actually been reluctant to go through with the wedding because of her previous experience. And predictably this second time wasn’t a charm either:”We just didn’t click at all. And he was very jealous and I can’t stand jealousy. So I had to go.”
Olg Kurylenko actress
Olga Kurylenko is not just a model, she also has a talent for acting. In fact this talent is good enough for Olga to make acting her main career now, which is what she had trained for in school before she became a model! “Once I started taking acting classes as a kid, it really changed me,” says Kurylenko, who is also trained in ballet and piano.
In 1996 Olga Kurylenko signed up with a French modeling agency and moved to Paris. However she says that it was acting that she really wanted to do: “I looked for acting classes in Paris just to do something different than modeling. And then one day I just thought okay, that’s enough, I have to start doing something. I went to the acting agency and I just told them I wanted to act and asked them if they would give me a chance and they did.”
But getting into acting was not so simple as that…..she continued to make a living through modeling. It was several years and many rejections before Olga managed to get a significant role in 2005 with the French movie L’Annulaire (The Ring Finger). The next year she was in Le Serpent and the year after that in the English movie Hitman. Olga also got roles in TV movies.
The common feature of these films was Kurylenko’s nudity, which she was doing since her modeling days. But she says she was never comfortable disrobing. “I would never go to the beach naked, because people would be staring at me,” Olga explains. “But….when they’re wanting you to pose in lingerie for €5,000, you know what? I’m eff-ing doing it! Because I was starving.”
Apart from being nude, Olga Kurylenko was noticed for her acting in all her films, even those which didn’t do well commercially. She received the certificate of excellence award at the 2006 Brooklyn International Film Festival for her performance in L’Annulaire. With Hitman she gained international recognition, and auditioned for the 22nd James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace in 2007. The producers were looking for a Latin girl, but rewrote the part of Camille to have some Russian background, because they liked Olga so much.
Olga says, “I had never taken part in any action scenes. So, I went to London, arrived there and met right away with the stunt coordinator.” She began doing weapons training and body flight training for aerial scenes (despite her fear of heights) and stunt work for fighting. “It’s been so physical, my body has never felt so sore. There have been times when I’ve literally hurt everywhere.”
While Quantum of Solace was still being made, Olga got an offer to do a small role in the Mark Wahlberg action flick Max Payne:
In Max Payne Olga played the sister of Mila Kunis, who incidentally is also from the Ukraine! And like Mila, Olga is also multi-lingual, speaking Russian, Ukrainian, French, and English. She is now planning to learn Spanish.
Olga will be seen next in the political thriller Tyranny and Kirot, another thriller where she has the lead, shot in Israel by Danny Lerner. Kirot is Hebrew for Walls, in which Olga is a prostitute turned hit woman who teams up with Ninet Tayeb, an Israeli pop star and TV performer making her movie debut.
Despite her recent fame and success, Olga has the long experience of struggling as a model and actress to keep her grounded. When first picked to be a Bond girl, Olga was described as an “unknown Ukrainian model”. So now Kurylenko says, “Today people are interested, tomorrow they aren’t. You can struggle for years and all that people say is Oh, all she does is crap and then with one role those same people are going Oh my God, you’re a genius. I have to keep working.”