It was 2013 when Mia Goth first turned Hollywood’s head. At just 19 she got her first role in the controversial Nymphomaniac Vol. II directed by legendary film maker Lars Von Triar, alongside a host of international stars. Her role involved simulating lots of sexual activity while intimidating older men – sometimes with a gun – and then defiling Charlotte Gainsbourg. Her perfectly heart-shaped pout is not dissimilar to that of Adèle Exarchopoulos [Blue is the Warmest Color], and indeed the two actors were born in the same year and share a sense of daring for their first choice of film. As the character P, the protegee of Jo (Charlotte Gainsbourg) to whom she is alternately sexual object, confidante and mistress, Mia Goth certainly made her mark as a unique actress in her genre: her fresh innocence gives her the allure of a doll and yet beneath that veneer there’s a mysterious and provocative side that happily veers into the disturbing.
There’s no point in looking her up on social media, Mia Goth flees selfies and openly denounces the cult of self-promotion. Age 24, this attitude sets her apart from the other rising stars of her generation. And yet there are plenty of pictures of Mia. Firstly, because she started her career as a model, and then because she met Shia LaBeouf, her partner on screen in Nymphomaniac – omnipresent on the web – and to whom she said ‘yes’ in Las Vegas in October 2016. From then on, the slightest movement she made was caught by the hoards of paparazzi trailing her, right up to their divorce two years later. Mia never looked happy in the tabloids. In 2015 she posed up a storm for Miu Miu with disarming candour. The ad campaign was deemed scandalous and censured in the UK for its images of young looking girls dressed up as women in sexually suggestive poses… she was 22 at the time. In reality there is nothing of the scowling teenager about Mia. She says she's like a granny, preferring real conversation to ‘vulgar selfies’, as she confided to i-D magazine in 2016. A pretty fearless granny…
It was her own grandmother, a Brazilian actress (Maria Gladys) who gave her the movie bug. Raised in a nomadic family, Mia Mello Gypsy Da Silva Goth grew up between Canada (with her father) and Rio (with her mother), before putting her bags down in London, where she’d been born. She had planned on going to stage school, but then she met Charlotte Gainsbourg, who she describes as the “best teacher”. Willing to do anything to fully embody her characters, Mia Goth slept in the street, didn’t wash for 5 weeks and followed a 900-calorie a day diet to play Mijla in The Survivalist, Stephen Fingleton’s apocalyptic drama where she lives off grid in a forest. While she fiercely protects her private life, Mia Goth is incredibly generous with her directors. It's through her dramatic characters who all have to struggle that she asserts herself, more than indulging in comfortable roles that could her earn her the big bucks.
A pronounced taste for the strange
“The darker, the better”, she told i-D in 2016. A dark force seems to guide the choices made by Mia Goth, who in 2017 played Hannah, an odd-ball patient locked up in a sinister Swiss institute in the movie A Cure for Wellness. A sublime performance that so impressed the director - Gore Verbinski (The Ring) – he forget to shout ‘cut’ at the end of the scene. If she embraces her characters with such passion, it’s probably because there is something a bit mysterious about Mia Goth. She who confesses to an aversion for the supernatural, is today reaching the stars, starring in Luca Guadagnino’s remake of the horror film Suspiria, alongside Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. And Mia just keeps on enriching her career with precious stones, acting only in nuggets from the independent film scene. Catch her on the big screen again this November in Claire Denis’ new anxiety-inducing film High Life, where she plays a slightly weird astronaut.