a novel by JOHN GRABOWSKI

Mila and the Marine

“Ten-hut!”

By now you’ve probably heard it. The very lovely Mila Kunis has accepted a video request by a U.S. Marine for a date. I think the PopWatch headline says it best: Officially the Coolest Celebrity on the Planet.

Here’s the brief story: a marine serving in Afghanistan created a video that went viral on YouTube. In it he asks Mila Kunis if she’ll go to the Marine Ball with him. The invite was brought to her attention on some TV appearance. And she accepted.

Really nice of her, you have to admit. That guy will have quite a story to tell to his grandchildren. But, when you think about it, although she’s not likely to be in danger for her life since he’s taking her to a very public event and half the world knows it, you realize that she can always easily cop out later: Oops, didn’t realize when I said yes that I have an obligation that weekend doing a magazine shoot in Milan, or something. So really, it’s not quite the astonishing move it appears at first to be.

Still, there are so many stars I cannot imagine doing this. So Ms. Kunis’ move is indeed very cool. (It’s also great PR for a career that seems to be soaring higher every day.) She seems very grounded and at ease with fame. As she herself said in an interview: “I had a normal upbringing and went to public school. If I ever, even for a second, started getting a big head, I was brought back to reality pretty quickly. My parents are why I’m pretty grounded.”

There are so many young stars today who could use parents like Mila’s.

From this we can deduce it is apparently possible, though surely not easy, to lead a relatively normal life and be famous. Elizabeth Hurley’s (in)famous quote, “In the end, famous people only ever end up hanging out with other famous people or in private places because it’s just too exhausting to be stared at and bothered the whole time,” is apparently not true for at least some famous celebs. (She took a lot of heat for saying this. In all fairness, she did then add, “Some of my happiest memories are sitting in a pavement cafe, having some coffee, watching the world go round – and those days are just gone now.”)

Surely it’s not easy for Mila. In another conversation, when she was dating Macaulay Culkin, she said she was determined to keep their privacy no matter how much work it took, even if it turned out ultimately to be destructive to their careers. And I’m sure if she becomes really big, a super A-lister, it will be a lot more tricky to preserve that regular life, harder to avoid the swelled head, and any future marines probably will not get a date with her to their ball.

As it is, Mila, who also attends sci-fi conventions and likes to play World of Warcraft or whatever it’s called, is pretty darned cool and relaxed in her own skin. She’s not pretentious, is just having fun, and so far it seems to be working for her and her career. Which in this age of angst and rehab and temper-tantrums, is so refreshing to see. Now, if only she’d quit smoking…..

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