Mila Kunis is known for her role as Jackie on “That ‘70s Show” as well as several movies, but did you know that she was born in Ukraine and immigrated to the United States which makes her one of many culturally fluid celebrities here in the United States today?
The video above is from a 2008 episode of Ellen Degeneres’ talk show. Kunis talks about her childhood and the emotions that came with her family immigrating to the United States. She was only seven years old but her family reminds her that she cried for days after leaving her homeland of Ukraine.
Kunis’ culturally fluid early life
Kunis was born in Chernovtsy, Ukraine on August 14, 1983, to her parents Mark and Elvira Kunis, according to Biography.com. At the early age of seven, Kunis, her parents and her brother emigrated from Ukraine to Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.A.
With only $250 in her parents’ pockets the family had a rough start in the United States. Both left their professional careers in Ukraine in order to give their children a better life in a new and foreign country.
The move from Ukraine to the United States was very difficult for Kunis. Being immersed into U.S. schooling where all students spoke English was challenging for her. She spoke fluent Russian and had never learned to speak, read or write English. She felt completely overwhelmed and cried herself to sleep for weeks as she said in the Ellen Degeneres Show interview.
During an October 2008 interview with The Los Angeles Times, she states:
“I didn’t understand the culture, I didn’t understand the people. I didn’t understand the language. My first sentence of my essay to get into college was like, ‘Imagine being blind and deaf at age seven.’ And that’s kind of what it felt like moving to the States. But I got over it pretty fast.”
Many children in the same shoes as Kunis feel the same emotions when they leave their home country. Kunis would be considered an Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK). She was a Third Culture Kid (TCK) during her developmental years because she traveled between Ukraine and the United States often.
Adapting to a culturally fluid life
Kunis may have had a hard time adapting into being a TCK but once she did, she embraced the cultural fluidity she gained. The knowledge of both her Ukrainian heritage and her experiences within the United States makes her incredibly culturally fluid. It also makes her fall under the umbrella term of being cross cultural and more specifically a TCK/ATCK.