Sofia Boutella

Sofia Boutella

Having Heated Up the Dance Floor For the Likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson, the Grooving-Acting-Trilingual Triple Threat Is Finally Grabbing the Spotlight in Hollywood

Having Heated Up the Dance Floor For the Likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson, the Grooving-Acting-Trilingual Triple Threat Is Finally Grabbing the Spotlight in Hollywood

Photography: Chad Pitman

Styling: Maryam Malakpour

Text: Kate Branch

You’ve probably never heard of the Algeria-born, Paris-bred actress Sofia Boutella, but you’ve most certainly seen her dance. The 32-year-old trained ballerina and Olympic-level rhythmic gymnast first shimmied onto the world stage in commercials for Nike (with whom she still collaborates). Soon after, Madonna took notice and invited her to be a backup dancer on her “Confessions” and “Sticky and Sweet” tours, in the video for “Hung Up,” and her 2012 Super Bowl spectacular.

“She challenges the people she works with,” says Boutella of her mentor and V89 cover star. “She asked me if I had ever danced in heels before, and when I said no, she gave me a pair that were hers and said, ‘There is a beginning for everything.’” These days Boutella—who studied acting as well, at Stella Adler—is kicking ass in strappy stilettos on the silver screen, in Matthew Vaughn’s forthcoming British action flick, Kingsman: The Secret Service. About a thug turned secret agent, played by  newcomer Taron Edgerton, the film costars heavyweights Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sir Michael Caine, while Boutella plays a double amputee on carbon fiber running blades who also happens to be a killing machine. “I told the stylist [Arianne Phillips] that I really wanted to wear the thinnest, highest heels she could find, because I needed to feel how my character would feel walking on a very tiny surface.”

With two independent films on the horizon, war-themed Monsters: Dark Continent as well as Jet Trash, the story of two lost girls who attract trouble in India, Boutella’s crossover appeal clearly has staying power. “I truly believe the discipline I have honed as a dancer will bring me more opportunities as an actor,” she says. “When I was dancing, whether it was the music or the story, the question was Why am I doing this piece, and why am I dancing? It is exactly the same when you are acting. You have a very close relationship with your body movement. You have to find the physicality of your character.” Surely, the Material Girl wouldn’t disagree.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is in theaters October 24.

Credits: Makeup Kirin Bhatty (Starworks Artists)  Hair Dennis Gots (Jed Root)  Manicure Whitney Gibson (Nailing Hollywood)  Photo assistants Brad Liber and Alex Gay  Stylist assistant Catlin Myers  Production Miranda Neri (Jed Root)  Location Aesthesia Studios, Los Angeles  Catering LA Spice

UP NEXT

Sandy Linter: The Beautifier