The ethnicity of our favorite celebrities is often very difficult to pin down, especially if they have an unusual name and exotic look. That was the case with Mila Kunis – until she decided to share the results of her DNA test with the world.
Mila Kunis revealed that she’s around 98% Ashkenazi Jewish, according to her 23&Me DNA test. The Black Swan star was born in the Soviet Union, on the territory of today’s Ukraine, and speaks Russian fluently.
Stick around to learn more about Kunis’ Soviet roots and dedication to her Jewish faith.
Mila Kunis’ Soviet Heritage
Mila Kunis’s full name is Milena Markovna Kunis, and it’s a constant reminder of her Soviet ancestry. She was born in the Soviet Union, in the small town of Chernivtsi, which belongs to the territory of today’s Ukraine.
Her parents Mark and Elvira had good jobs and financial security while living in the Soviet Union, but didn’t feel it’s the best place to raise their children. Back in 1991, they decided to pack their bags and leave the only home they knew, with only $250.
Mila was just seven at the time and barely knew any English when her parents enrolled her at Rosewood Elementary School in Los Angeles. The actress admitted that she has no recollection of her second grade because she cried every day and struggled to fit in into her new life.
The move to the US was equally challenging for her parents. Her father Mark went from being a mechanical engineer to driving a taxi, while her mother Elvira accepted a job at a grocery store after years of working as a physics teacher.
They didn’t have time to go back and earn their degrees, since supporting their kids wasn’t an easy task – especially once Mila started attending acting classes. They came with a hefty price tag but proved to be a worthy investment when she scored a role in a Barbie commercial after her first audition.
Mila Kunis went back to Ukraine for the first time while filming The Spy Who Dumped Me in 2017. She traveled from Budapest to her home town with her parents and husband Ashton Kutcher, who encouraged her to embark on this journey.
Kunis discussed this trip with Net-a-Porter and said she felt nothing towards her old home town. She described the experience as “trippy” and revealed she wasn’t even allowed to visit her childhood home:
“We went to our [old] house and I knocked on the door because we really wanted to look inside. And [the owner] was like, ‘No!’ I said, ‘I used to live here when I was little, my parents are here…’ She wouldn’t even open the door. The whole experience was very humbling.”
Mila Kunis’ Jewish Faith
Mila Kunis and her family moved to the US on a religious-refugee visa. She was raised Jewish and cited antisemitism in the former Soviet Union as one of the main reasons why her parents decided to start a new life elsewhere.
“My whole family was in the Holocaust. My grandparents passed and not many survived. After the Holocaust, in Russia, you were not allowed to be religious. So my parents raised me to know I was Jewish. You know who you are inside,” Kunis told The Sun.
During an appearance on WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, the Golden Globe-nominated actress revealed that she did a DNA test on 23andMe. Once her result came back, she found out she’s 97%-98% Ashkenazi Jewish.
Kunis is staying true to her roots by teaching her children Russian and celebrating Shabbat every Friday. She discussed her family tradition on Dax Shepard’s podcast and said it’s their way of taking a moment to acknowledge one another.
She’s also trying to keep her children humble by not going overboard with Christmas gifts. After coming under fire for her “no gift” policy, Kunis explained her kids won’t stay empty-handed on Christmas – she just doesn’t want to overwhelm them with more than one gift.