Mila Kunis, who was born in Ukraine, has said that she used to tell people she was Russian.
The Friends with Benefits star was born in the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi. In 1991, when she was seven, her family fled from Soviet Ukraine to the United States.
In a new interview with Maria Shriver for Conversations Above the Noise, Kunis said: “People were like, ‘Oh, you’re so Eastern European.’ I was like, ‘I’m so LA! What do you mean?’ Like, my whole life I was like, ‘I am LA through and through.’”
Kunis said that because she identified so strongly as an American, for a long time, being Ukrainian felt “irrelevant” to her, despite having close friends in the country and visiting it with her husband, the actor Ashton Kutcher.
She said that whenever people would ask her where she was from, she’d say she was Russian for “a multitude of reasons”.
Kunis continued: “One of them being when I came to the States and I would tell people I’m from Ukraine, the first question I’d get was, ‘Where is Ukraine?’ And then I’d have to explain Ukraine and where it is on the map, and I was like, ‘Ugh, that’s exhausting.’”
She soon realized that if she said she was from Russia, people would know where she meant. “I was like, great, I’ll just tell people from Russia,” she said.
Kunis said everything changed for her when Russia invaded Ukraine last month. “This happens and I can’t express or explain what came over me, but all of a sudden I was like, ‘Oh my God, I feel like a part of my heart just got ripped out,’” she said. “It was the weirdest feeling.”
She said she will no longer be telling people she’s from Russia. “Hell no, I’m from Ukraine!” she said.
Kunis and Kutcher have raised over £13m to aid victims of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Last week, the couple announced that they will match donations of up to $3m (£2.5m) to help supply humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees.
In a video appeal, Kunis said there was “no place in this world for this kind of unjust attack on humanity”.
read The Independent‘s live updates on the conflict here.
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