Russia…a cold, dark land of snow, vodka, and an incomprehensible alphabet.
That’s what Carrie Parker, the figure skater heroine of my debut novel “Pairing Off,” available now from Carina Press, expects when she moves to Moscow to train with her new skating partner, Anton Belikov. Carrie’s thrilled to discover that handsome, hunky Anton isn’t just an accomplished skater, he’s pretty good at a few things off the ice too.
Here are six sexy American celebs whose roots are in Russia, or the USSR.
Leonardo DiCaprio— His name reflects his dad’s Italian heritage, but Leonardo’s maternal grandmother was born in Russia. Known for his versatility, this talented actor stole hearts in “Titanic,” as Romeo in “Romeo+Juliet,” and played a closeted J. Edgar Hoover. Coming soon, his Russian roots go onscreen, when he portrays “Mad Monk” Grigori Rasputin in an upcoming biopic. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Siebbi)
Ansel Elgort— Ansel’s father, a fashion photographer whose work has appeared in Vogue magazine, is of Russian-Jewish heritage. The star of “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars” made a big splash in 2014, starring opposite Shailene Woodley not once but twice. This year he and Shailene are together again in the Divergent sequel, “Insurgent,” coming out in March. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Media Mingle TV)
Harrison Ford– Though they don’t get much more all-American than swashbuckling archeologist Indiana Jones, the actor who plays him is the grandson of a Jewish couple who came to America from Belarus, which was once part of the Russian Empire. This December, he’ll reprise his most famous role, as Han Solo, in Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Mireille Ampihac)
Armie Hammer- Another actor known for his all-American roles, we’ve seen handsome Armie as The Lone Ranger and as The Social Network’s Winkelvoss twins. According to Wikipedia, his paternal great grandfather, tycoon and philanthropist Armand Hammer, was of Russian Jewish descent, as was his paternal great grandmother, an actress, who was also the daughter of a tsarist general. This year, Armie gets his Russian on playing Ilya Kuryakin, in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” scheduled for August release. (wikicommons photo by micadew)
Mila Kunis– She was born in Ukraine, which was once part of the USSR, as Milena Kunis, and speaks fluent Russian (Spanish, too). She made her debut as the vain and ditzy Jackie on “That ‘70s Show,” and is currently engaged to her former co-star Ashton Kutcher. She’s appeared in several films including “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and 2010’s “The Black Swan” which costarred her close friend, and fellow actress of Russian descent… (wikicommon photo by Gage Skidmore)
Natalie Portman– Israeli-born Natalie’s maternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants and her paternal great grandmother was born in Romania and was a spy for British Intelligence during World War II. Natalie’s known for gutsy roles too, and this year we’ll see her in “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” which she also directs. (Flicker commons photo by Josh Jensen).
Carina press author Elizabeth Harmon has worked in community journalism and as a freelance magazine writer. Her work has appeared in Romance Writers’ Report, she’s blogged about romance and writing for RomanceBeat.com, Read A Romance Month, as well as posting on other authors’ sites and her own. Visit her online at www.romancewriter-girl.com