Her riveting role in the Oscar-winning movie American Beauty made Mena Suvari one of the biggest new names of the year
Being a Hollywood celebrity has its benefits—money, prestige, access and, of course, fame. Yeah, it looks like 24/7 fun, but there’s a lot more to it than just showing up to the “it” party wearing your favourite open-toe Gucci. And for Mena Suvari, the young star of American Beauty, American Pie and Carrie II, it’s just another day at the office.
It took a lot of hard work and perseverance to get where she is today. Since she started acting around the Los Angeles circuit in 1994, the 21 year-old native of Rhode Island has gone from the occasional sit-com appearance to Hollywood’s most wanted-list. Mena takes her acting quite seriously and has never felt more confident in the action-packed world of shooting films in far away places, canceling trips at the last moment and having little personal time.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen to me in a month or two… my life is so spontaneous,” she said while on the Toronto set of her upcoming film Loser, in which she plays alongside American Pie alumnus Jason Biggs. Still young in her career, this is already Mena’s ninth movie. “I still consider myself very lucky because there’s a lot of people for whom it took five years to even get a commercial.”
It didn’t just take luck to rise up as this year’s hottest actress. Instead of hoping for that big break at an early age, she created a balance between high school and acting, and always made sure she had something to fall back on academically if acting didn’t work out. While she was attending eighth grade, she moved out to Los Angeles to work for the elite international modeling agency, Wilhelmina. At 15 years old, she got her first taste of the small screen with a part in a RICE-A-RONI commercial.
Although she started in the little leagues performing small parts on television and doing commercials for Pizza Hut, she has since been promoted to committing suicide in The Rage: Carrie 2, acting as a cheerleader in her summer film Sugar and Spice and playing a struggling college student in Loser.
Mena has portrayed many different types of characters. She says, “I try to choose roles that are different. I try to look for variety, diversity, the emotions of the characters, their everyday life, and the trials they go through. I’ve never played a period piece, that would be nice to do, but you know, I’m pretty much open to try anything.”
Now that she’s graduated onto the big screen, she isn’t afraid to hear criticism from others. Mena feels it is important to get feedback in order to evolve as an actress and as a person, “I think that sometimes you can correct something earlier in life by listening to what somebody else is telling you instead of taking ten years and learning it on your own.”
Photos of Mena Suvari
A rare school yearbook photo of Mena
Kevin Spacey has a poolside chat with co-star Mena in American Beauty
Sitting down on the job…
Those darn poppy seeds!
Always to be associated with red rose petals.