Mila Kunis can remember a time before she got too specific about where she was born. The 38-year-old “That ’70s Show” alum discussed that moment, among other things, during an interview with Maria Shriver for her digital series “Conversations Above The Noise.”
“It’s been irrelevant to me that I come from Ukraine. It never mattered,” Kunis revealed during the interview.
“So much so that I’ve always said I’m Russian. I’ve always been, ‘I’m from Russia’ for a multitude of reasons. 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 she also considered herself American first and foremost since her family emigrated to the United States in 1991, when the actress was a small child.
“I very much have always felt like an American. People were like, ‘Oh, you’re so Eastern European.’ I was like, ‘I’m so L.A. What do you mean?’ My whole life I was like L.A. through and through. Then this happens…I’ve been there, but have always considered myself very much an American.”
But the actress recalls how “everything changed” after Russia invaded her homeland in late February.
“I can’t express or explain what came over me, but all of a sudden, I genuinely was like, ‘Oh, my God, I feel like a part of my heart just got ripped out.’ It was the weirdest feeling,” Kunis continued. “It doesn’t take away from who I am as a person, but it just adds an entire different layer.”
Kunis added that standing with Ukrainian people shouldn’t come at the expense of condemning Russians. “I don’t think that we need to consider the people of Russia an enemy. I do really want to emphasize that,” Kunis explained.
“I don’t think that that’s being said enough in the press. I think that there’s now, ‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us’ mentality. I don’t want people to conflate the two problems that are happening. I don’t think it’s the people of Russia. I don’t want there to be a thing of ‘all Russians are horrible human beings.’ I don’t want that to be the rhetoric. I do encourage people to look at it from the perspective of, ‘It’s the people in power, not the people themselves,’” she added.
The “Family Guy” actress marveled at how Ukrainians were handling the conflict, sleeping in bomb shelters but then going about life by taking “whatever they have to protect themselves in the city, and they go to their office to continue working.”
“I’m not pleasantly surprised, but I’m awestricken by this group of people. They’re fighting with their own makeshift weapons,” Kunis said. “It is inspiring.”
Kunis remembers meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky long before the war and even before the COVID-19 pandemic that changed the world. She said she and her husband, fellow actor Ashton Kutcher, had a “beautiful conversation” with the entertainment star-turned-political leader. She also said how he wanted to “empower the people” of Ukraine.
And besides just revealing her thoughts during podcast interviews, Kunis and Kutcher have pledged to match up to $3 million of their own money as part of a GoFundMe campaign to aid citizens of Ukraine during wartime. As of March 14, the couple has raised over $21 million of their $30 million goal.
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