BAZAAR Exclusive: Olga Kurylenko, The 21st Century Heroine

Olga Kurylenko is the Hollywood actress who’s about as un-Hollywood as one can get.  

Photographed by Rachell Smith. Styled by Alexandra Fullerton.

Dress (worn as top), Giorgio Armani.

Olga Kurylenko strides into the middle of the room and holds out an outstretched arm to introduce herself —“Hello, I’m Olga”— to the ten-strong team setting up for the shoot ahead. She’s arrived alone; an unusual move for such a star to quietly pad into our West London location house—manor, actually—without any entourage. And so it seems, without anyone noticing. The picture of relaxed health—porcelain skin, sharp cheekbones, and piercing green eyes—she arrives wearing pastel-pink ballet shoes and a navy celestial-patterned Tara Jarmon dress, grey Loewe handbag in one hand, iPod in the other. It’s all very low-key.

At 37, Kurylenko is the most famous Ukrainian actress in Hollywood acting alongside every leading man you could image, from Tom Cruise to Daniel Craig, cementing herself in silver screen history as a Bond Girl. Born in Berdyansk, Ukraine, Kurylenko was raised by her mother, Marina, and grandmother, Raisa, in a small four-room flat. That’s a long way from the opulent space we find ourselves in today, complete with crimson brocade furniture, humongous sash windows draped with bronze fabric, and the pièce de résistance, a golden grand piano. It’s the perfect setting for this New Extravagance Issue cover shoot, yet as I discover, the woman in front of us is anything but. 

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I ask her if being raised by two strong female role models has impacted her decisions to play strong female leads. “I don’t think it was conscious,” she muses. “I was just naturally drawn to those scripts; I’d never say no to a weak character. Every woman is strong, yet without weakness, can we really be strong?”

Diamanté earrings, Giorgio Armani.

We muse on this for a while before I ask her who’s the strongest woman she knows. “My mother. She’s done certain things to keep her family safe, she’s survived the war without a man, she took care of everything and made it all happen.” Just then, a photography assistant interrupts to ask if she’d like a coffee from Starbucks. Kurylenko asks for a cappuccino, and then says she’ll drink it cold later; she doesn’t want to interrupt our interview.

I want to know about her skin—is it to the credit of an A-list facialist such as Dr. Lancer or Dr. Gross, both of whom other Hollywood actresses swear by? “I’m so low-maintenance,” she says almost apologetically. “I barely do facials. They’re lovely, but if I want to put my son to bed, I need to use my time wisely, so I use a great at-home facial mask from [celebrity facialist] Su-Man. I put it on at home and walk around the house doing chores.” So far, so un-Hollywood. “I like skincare such as Dr. Hauschka and Liz Earle, and I love La Mer’s Crème de la Mer serum—it’s like magic in a bottle,” she divulges. “I also have this amazing Latvian girl come to my house to do my nails. She’s incredible.”

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