Meet Milena Smit: Almodóvar’s New Muse

Filmmakers are dying to work with Milena Smit––but who is she?

Milena Smit was working as a hotel receptionist when Spanish screenwriter David Victori came across her Instagram. Immediately, Victori knew that he’d found his new star, the girl would go on to play a character named Mila in his next film Cross the Line. Her performance, which iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar called “overwhelming,” earned Smit nominations for Best New Actress and Best Supporting Actress at the Goya Awards. Almodóvar couldn’t resist Smit, eventually casting her in his latest film Madres Paralelas (Parallel Mothers) opposite Penélope Cruz. The film illustrates the lives of two pregnant women who meet in a hospital room before giving birth, and develop an intimate bond that is explored throughout the picture.

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Even up against Cruz, a global movie star and longtime muse of Almodóvar, Smit’s performance confirms an innate and truly unique talent. Although fame, indeed, hit the new starlet overnight, Smit appears to be built for it, and continues to impress the industry’s most discerning figures despite her youth and, thus far, short experience. After photographing her at a studio in Madrid, V spoke with the budding film star about her beginnings, working with industry icons, and her hopes for the future.

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V MAGAZINE: What was your first role as an actress?

Milena Smit: My first role was Mila, a leading role together with Mario Casas in the film Cross the Line (No matarás). It was also the role that made me fall in love with this profession.

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V: What did you think of Pedro Almodóvar before you met him? And how was it the first time you met him?

MS: I thought that he was an absolute genius and that he’s passionate about the stories he creates. And of course, when I met him, I believed this about him even more. What I admire the most about him is the sensitivity he has as a an artist.

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V: What was it like to work with Penélope Cruz?

MS: A unique experience. She’s the partner everybody would like to have. I have learned so much about her, and I feel so fortunate to have her in my life, and the personal relationship we have created.

V: What else can you say about the cast and crew of Parallel Mothers?

MS: We created a beautiful family between all the departments and all the actors. We were very united during the shooting. We all did our best to make this film incredible. Aitana Sánchez-Gijón and Rossy de Palma were like two mothers. I felt very protected and taken care of.

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V: How do you relate to your character in the film? How are you similar and how are you different?

MS: I always say this: my character Ana represents a part of me that I haven’t been lucky enough to live because the circumstances of my life demanded me to be more mature, or to not enjoy a sweet and innocent adolescence. This allowed me to re-encounter that part of myself. I owe Ana a lot.

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V: How do you define success for yourself as an actress and a human?

MS: For me, success is about being present in what you’re doing at each moment. Understanding that each situation you are living through has something to teach you. But success means getting home and having people I love and that love me unconditionally, without expectations.

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V: What are your hopes for 2022?

MS: To keep enjoying what I do.

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V: What was it like shooting these photos with V Magazine?

MS: A real pleasure. I think it was a very different kind of shoot, and there was a beautiful energy on set. I love modeling because for me it’s an expression of my body and it’s like a performance, you know? That’s why I’ve never considered it as a job, I’ve never wanted to make a living out of it, although I’ve had many opportunities, I really didn’t want to contaminate the meaning it has for me because I’ve always seen it from a much more artistic perspective. It’s not a character, you know? It’s only myself and my feelings and what I need to express.


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V: What first drew you to acting?

MS: I have never sought this position or this opportunity, and I have never had a specific vocation to which I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life, so it is as if somehow fate has put me on the path to become the person I am being right now, and especially all the experiences that I’ve lived, that I’m learning right now, mainly with this profession.

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V: What did you learn from some of the big names you worked with on this last film?

MS: I mean, it doesn’t really matter that you are working compulsively every month of the year and every day of the year if you don’t have a period of rest in which you can settle all the experiences you are living and stop your head for a moment, right? So, I’ve lived like that too after shooting Parallel Mothers, and I think it’s like the smartest and most interesting thing I’ve learned from them—like really telling me, “You have to stop, rest, and give yourself space too. Don’t just work and work and work and work,” because I’m a little bit obsessed with work.

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