Olga Kurylenko Biography


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Birth Name: Olga Kurylenko
Born: 11/14/1979
Birth Place: Soviet Union


Born Olga Kostyantynivna Kurylenko in Berdyansk, Ukraine on Nov. 14, 1979, she was the daughter of a Russian mother and an Ukranian father who split when Kurylenko was just three years old. She was raised by her mother, Marina Alyabysheva, who worked punishing hours as an art teacher to support her daughter and mother. This meager income was barely enough to keep Kurylenko fed and clothed, and the family suffered through the dire poverty that afflicted the region during the 1980s. However, her mother was dedicated to giving her daughter a quality education, scraping enough together to send her to music school and five years of ballet classes as well as art and language studies.

Kurylenko's 13th birthday proved to be a momentous one in both her personal and professional life. That year, she contacted her father for the first time since he left her mother. She also traveled to Moscow with her mother, where they met a talent scout for a modeling agency in a subway. The woman was struck by Kurylenko's appearance and offered her a job as a model. Alyabysheva was initially skeptical, but eventually allowed her daughter to take up training as a model in Russia. Three years later, Kurylenko relocated to Paris, where the 16-year-old picked up French in just six months and signed with the prestigious Madison Agency. Within two years time, the teenager's face was seen in print advertisements for countless fashion and cosmetic companies, as well as, more importantly, on the covers of magazines ranging from Glamour and Marie Claire to FHM. She was eventually named the official face of Bebe clothing, Helena Rubinstein cosmetics, and Lejay lingerie, among other high profile clients.

At the age of 20, Kurylenko married her close friend, fashion photographer Cedric Van Mol, but the union ended just three years later. Another short marriage to mobile phone entrepreneur Damian Gabrielle was equally short-lived. While sorting out the drama of her personal life, Kurylenko decided to give acting a try. Fashion was put on the back burner while she explored roles in feature films. Her debut came in 2005 with the offbeat French drama "L'Annulaire" ("The Ring Finger"), in which she was top-billed as a factory worker whose near-loss of her finger brings her into the orbit of a strange man who preserves lost extremities as objects of art. The film made considerable use of Kurylenko's extraordinary face and body, and she was praised by several critics for her work.

Most of Kurylenko's subsequent film roles were based on her physical beauty, which she filled out with relative ease. She was a vampiress who preys on a naïve American backpacker (Elijah Wood) in a segment of the French portmanteau film "Paris, je t'aime" (2006), and played seductive types in the French thriller "The Serpent" (2006) and the miniseries "Suspectes" (2007). That same year, she made her American feature debut as the attractive arm candy for a professional assassin (Timothy Olyphant) in "Hitman" (2007), which was based on the popular video game series of the same name. Unfortunately, the film received a punishing reception from critics, and went largely unseen by the general public.

Undaunted by the experience, she tackled another video-game-turned-movie with "Max Payne" (2008), which cast her as a Slavic beauty whose murder brings together her sister (Mila Kunis), a trained killer, with vengeful ex-cop Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg). She also appeared in an independent science fiction drama called "Tyranny" (2008) before launching into the project that would bring the greatest exposure to her acting career.

In 2008, Kurylenko was cast as Camille, a Russian-Bolivian agent who assists James Bond (Daniel Craig) in his plan to avenge the murder of his wife Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in "Quantum of Solace," the sequel to 2006's "Casino Royale." Kurylenko underwent extensive training for the film, from instruction in handling weapons and stunt work to studying the Bond film franchise as a whole - something she was unable to do in her native Ukraine.




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