Halloween night (when this interview takes place) is a good time to interview Milena Smit (27 years old). “I'm quite the witch. I do not walk under scaffolding or walk under roofed surfaces. And if I have to do it, I cross my fingers like that.” Milena puts her thumb under the rest of her hand and squeezes hard.
“I often pray and cleanse my house with rosemary and scrub the floor with salt water.” The actress tells all this very seriously. She little joke with the evil eye. She is interested in occult sciences and she has learned that a British university is going to open a degree in something similar to Magic and Witchcraft.
He doesn't rule out starting to study at this point. But tonight Milena does not celebrate: “Let's say that I like to respect the dead and I prefer not to move certain energies,” she explains. Additionally, she is in bed recovering from surgery to correct scoliosis that affects seven vertebrae in her spine. Her photo shoot has left her distraught, so the interview is via Zoom, she is lying on some very white pillows, wearing a tank top when Madrid is already starting to ask for winter clothes to wear around the house.
Despite all the rituals, Milena says she is “not religious at all.” “I need faith, not religion,” she summarizes. In the last five years her life has been a series of surprises. At 20 she imagined that at 25 everything would have already happened to her, but it was just at 23 when she started to get excited about things.
In the last four years she has been nominated twice for the Goya Awards, she has been an Almodóvar girl (Parallel Mothers, 2021), she has become friends with Penélope Cruz, she has been a Netflix star (The Snow Girl, 2023, was top 1 global platform). She is suddenly stopped at airports around the world, greeted by children and also by grandmothers. She has met Madonna and Lady Gaga and has signed contracts with luxury brands such as Cartier, YSL Beauty and Saint Laurent. Another dimension of life. Another texture.
Milena wasn't even trying to be an actress. She left home at 17 because she didn't want to continue studying. “I left with all the consequences,” she says. That meant working at anything to pay her way. She was a receptionist, teleoperator, waitress, babysitter, subway attendant... anything to get by.
Then I was a rebellious teenager, who continually lied about trivial things and also about some more important ones. “It was unbearable, leaving home meant going through very hard trials, I am grateful to now have a much healthier relationship with my parents,” she says. Her father, Robert Smit, a Dutchman, was a real estate developer, and her mother, Inma Márquez, a philologist, had a language academy and a store.
“I had no vocation, in my free time I invented shootings with my friends. “I would fill a suitcase with clothes, take my photos and then post them on Instagram.” Milena assures that there was no purpose or ambition. “It was a hobby.” What happened was that one day a casting director, Alejandro Gil, browsing through Instagram, discovered those photos.
Gil had been looking for an actress for the character of Mila in You Will Not Kill, David Victori's thriller, for several months, and he wrote to her, then he wanted to see her and finally scheduled her for a casting. “I didn't know what it was, I had never done one, I didn't have any method to learn a text, I didn't know how to do it,” Milena remembers.
Victori gave her three references: darkness, magnetism, sensuality, and with that Milena built a character that triumphed the first time. It was 2020, the year everything changed. For the world it was the year of the pandemic, for Milena, the year of that casting. She later called her Pedro Almodóvar and in 2021 she premiered Madres paralleles, her second feature film, which took her to the Venice Festival and made her an international star.
Suddenly she became the phenomenon Milena Smit. “Fame depersonalizes you, and I began to lose track of time. I would come home, unpack one suitcase to pack another, I was never anywhere for long and my anxiety levels skyrocketed.” The sign came in 2021. A panic attack. She had to stop, she couldn't enjoy everything that was happening.
Milena, who has always gone to therapy and has worked on her anguish and her tendency to anxiety and depression, has become a speaker for mental health.
Speak loud and clear. He says that you have to observe yourself and at the first signs that the body sends, stop. “I have learned to recognize them and before exploding I ask: I need a break. And even though they can't give it to me at that moment, just saying it frees me, and it's also a warning to the rest of the team, they already know that I can be a little irascible."
After Almodóvar was a girl, he was a Netflix girl with The Snow Girl and Tin
When you have exhausting seasons the only thing you want is to be home. “Lock me up and please don't let anyone come. But of course, when you spend a lot of time away and come back, everyone wants to see you.” On the positive side of the scale is the luxury of freely choosing jobs and projects. “It is difficult to decide, especially to say no, you always have the doubt of whether you are making a mistake. “I am very loyal, and once I have committed to something there is no turning back, even if they offer me the great project of my career.”
Milena is intuitive, she has a good eye for people she doesn't like. The problem she has is with the people she likes, that's where she makes a mistake. “They have doubled me several times with those.” When she began her career, she created a circle of so-called friends, of which almost none remain.
“I am very demanding about friendship and loyalty. If I suddenly smell hidden intentions, interests or strange things, well, I'm mad. Almost no one remains from that first stage,” she acknowledges. However, a curious thing has happened to her, and she, who does not believe in coincidences, considers it a blessing. “Other old friends have appeared, from the time when I was nobody, they have returned to my life as a gift, and I am really enjoying that.”
She also has a good time with her boyfriend, Diego San Juan, who has accompanied her in the hospital bed and throughout the postoperative period. “An angel,” Milena wrote on her Instagram account, where on her 27th birthday she shared the before and after x-rays of the surgery, and wrote: “This year I have been braver than never".