Mena Suvari







Date of Birth
13 February 1979, Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Birth Name
Mena Alexandra Suvari
Height
5' 4" (1.63 m)
Mini Biography
Mena Alexandra Suvari was born in Newport, Rhode Island. Her first name comes from her British aunt, named after the Mena House Oberoi (at the base of the pyramids in Egypt); her last name is Estonian. Mena started modeling for Wilhelmina at the age of 12 and her acting career began when she did a Rice-A-Roni commercial at the age of 13. Mena is perhaps best known for her breakout role in the Academy-Award winning film American Beauty (1999), for which she received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress by The British Academy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast. Suvari also won a Movieline Award for Breakthrough Performance for her genuine and confident portrayal of "Angela Hayes", the object of Kevin Spacey's desire in the iconic film directed by Sam Mendes. Mena followed that with a turn in the celebrated comedy American Pie (1999) (for which she won another Movieline Award for Best Ensemble Cast) with additional film credits that include Nicolas Cage's directorial debut, Sonny (2002), opposite James Franco, Jonas Åkerlund's Spun (2002), Amy Heckerling's Loser (2000), Sugar & Spice (2001), American Pie 2 (2001), The Musketeer (2001), Gregg Araki's Nowhere (1997), Factory Girl (2006), Rumor Has It... (2005), Domino (2005), Beauty Shop (2005) and the feature Trauma (2004/I), opposite Colin Firth. Mena re-teamed with American Beauty (1999) writer Alan Ball for a recurring role on the acclaimed "HBO" series "Six Feet Under" (2001). Having modeled in her teens, she was tapped to be the face of the global campaign for "Lancôme" and was shot by the late Richard Avedon for Harry Winston's 2005 winter advertising campaign. Most recently, Mena garnered some of the best reviews of her career in the independent films Stuck (2007), based on a true story, and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (2008), opposite Sienna Miller and Peter Sarsgaard. Suvari is a long-time supporter and activist for the esteemed African relief organization Amref, the African Medical Research Foundation.
Spouse
Simone Sestito (26 June 2010 - present)
Robert Brinkmann (4 March 2000 - 10 May 2005) (divorced)
Trivia
Graduated from Providence High School in Burbank, California class of 1997.
Her first name came from an Egyptian godmother.
Is a natural blonde.
Last name "Suvari", pronounced "soo-VAHR-ee", is Estonian.
First name "Mena", pronounced "MEE-nah".
Has 3 older brothers, 1 of them in the US army.
Mother is a nurse; father is a psychiatrist.
Mena was raised in a Rhode Island home that was built in 1870 and which she and her brothers believed was haunted. They saw several apparitions over the years, all of which she believed were friendly.
People Weekly magazine titled an article about her "All-American Girl" (1999).
Declared as the most "patriotic" artist of 2000 by Entertainment Weekly magazine, making allusion to her 3 consecutive movies with the word "American" on their titles: American Pie (1999), American Beauty (1999) and American Virgin (1999). In 2001, she added American Pie 2 (2001) to that list.
Her mother is of Greek descent.
Mena and her ex-husband Robert Brinkmann have taken considerable flak because of their age difference - 18 years. Robert is a cinematographer.
Did her own singing in American Pie (1999).
Auditioned for the role of Mary Jane in Spider-Man (2002).
Her father is Estonian.
Her older brother A.J., formerly an Intelligence Analyst in the U.S. Army, is currently a real estate agent in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Filed for divorce from cinematographer Robert Brinkmann after five years of marriage. The actress cited irreconcilable differences (10 May 2005).
Attended workshops at TVI Actors Studio.
Named #69 on the Maxim magazine "Hot 100 of 2005" list.
Ranked #73 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list.
Ranked #52 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2008 list.
Announced her engagement to Simone Sestito, having been in a relationship with him since September 2007, after he proposed to her on holiday in Jamaica (16 July 2008).
Is half Estonian and half Greek.
Had early aspirations of becoming an archaeologist.
Has a tattoo on her back of a lion's head over the words, "Word Sound Power" which is the title of a Christafari album; so is the lion's head ("Lion of Zion" is the production company.)
Personal Quotes
It's nice when people want your autograph, but it's a little strange because I never expected it. I still kind of think, 'Oh, who am I?'
I'm 26 years old. I don't need to be playing 16 anymore. Mentally and emotionally, I'm in such a different place than those roles.
One of the things you learn being in the public eye is that you have the ability to raise awareness about serious issues, and, in the process, really help people. I've chosen to get the word out to women, especially young women, that tobacco is not glamorous - it's addictive and smoking takes a serious toll on your health.
[Talking about working with Stuart Gordon on 2007's Stuck (2007)] The greatest thing about working with Stuart is that I love what he loves - stories like this. I really enjoy the dark side, and his work is so macabre. But as a director, he's very calm, yet he has this great energy. Initially, it was tough to dissect this character, but Stuart has given me ample freedom to ask questions and experiment with my performance.