20 Questions with Christina Milian
Photographed by BRIAN CHRISTOPHER
Styled by RACHEL LYONS
Christina Milian has held the title of an actress, singer, and songwriter since claiming a record deal at just the age of 19 in 2001. She has released top charted singles, claimed her first lead role as an actress in 2006, and has remained in the headlines ever since. She was born in New Jersey and now resides in Los Angeles living with her longtime boyfriend, oldest daughter Violet, and newest son – Isaiah Pokora. Christina has recently starred in her first romantic comedy on Netflix titled, “Falling in Love” and became a Savage x Fenty ambassador just months after giving birth to her son Isaiah. In this Modeliste exclusive interview, Christina leaves us feeling empowered and inspired by her profound words while speaking on her early career as an actress, family, and advice for young entrepreneurs.
Where are you from?
I was born in New Jersey and raised in Waldorf Maryland. And then from 13 on I lived in California.
What inspired you to become an actress?
As a kid, I was very imaginative and creative. I grew up in the era of Michael Jackson and Madonna, Julia Roberts, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, and they all really inspired me to want to be on television and perform. My family realized at a young age that I had talent. I began booking commercials and auditioned with local talent agencies. My mom noticed my potential and we moved to LA to pursue my career. It was all I ever wanted and I’m happy my family helped me make it happen.
What’s the most challenging role you’ve ever played?
My role as Linda Moon in the movie Before. Honestly, it wasn’t so much challenging as it was being star struck! I couldn’t believe I had the opportunity to work with such big stars and be the center of a movie. It was more of an awakening that my dreams can come true in a big way
How did you begin your career as a singer and songwriter?
When I was a kid, I was in musical theater and I always dreamed of being a singer – I had dreams of being on stage. When I moved to Los Angeles, people would approach me all the time and ask me to sing for them, if I would be in a girl group, or if I was interested in a record deal. I spent a lot of time making Demos and singing on Demos for producers, and it eventually led me to making my own music. I started writing because none of the music that people were writing felt relatable to me. I wanted to write music that I related to from when I was in school, and about topics that I was dealing with and figured those my age were dealing with as well. When I signed with Def Jam, it was a dream come true because my whole book of CDs consisted mainly of Island Def Jam artists. I was their first pop artist, and I was so excited to be in that position doing what I love.
What has been the most challenging and rewarding part of your career?
The most rewarding part of my career has been being able to play lead roles and show young black Latina girls that they can do this, too. To show them that they can dream big and, if they work hard, they can make anything happen. The fact that I can inspire others by doing what I love is very rewarding to me. I was that little girl looking up to other people as well. The challenging part is now that I have a growing family, I approach things (traveling, being away etc.) differently, but I don’t mind the challenge.
As an entrepreneur with a successful Beignet, jewelry, and wine company, what advice can you give to someone who aspires to create a business of their own?
Be prepared to dedicate your life to the business(es) you are passionate about. Nothing comes easy. It takes a lot of work, time, and patience. But once you begin to build momentum and see your business(es) start to flourish, there is no better feeling. Don’t ever be afraid to fail because your failures are lessons learned that make you better. There will be a lot of failure and it’s not personal – you just have to keep trying.
You have used your platform to speak about the beauty of being a working mom. How do you find ways to balance time between work and family?
My family is my priority, and right now, as challenging of a time as it is, I feel so grateful to be able to spend every moment with them. I make every moment worthwhile on my downtime, and as of these last few years, whenever I’m filming or I’m away working, my family comes out to visit me and spends time with me so I can feel that sense of normalcy and family around me.
You recently starred in your first romantic comedy on Netflix called, Falling Inn Love, how was working on a romantic comedy different from your previous roles?
It was so much fun working on this film. I’m always grateful to be a part of projects that make the world feel good through entertainment. I’ve done other romantic comedies before like Love Don’t Cost a Thing and even Bring It On: Fight To The Finish has a sense of romantic comedy to it. I’d say working with the director, Roger Campbell, was my favorite part of this film because he wrote and directed Cruel Intentions. It was one of my favorite movies in the late 90s, and I always wanted to be in a movie like that. Now, this movie is nothing like that, but the director is pretty freaking cool! And being in New Zealand was such a great experience.
Are there any other career paths you plan on exploring in the future?
One day I would love to write a script and direct a movie. Fingers crossed.
What would you like to be most remembered for?
I would like to be remembered for being hard working, kind to everyone, a great mom and someone who used their platform for good.
What inspires you?
My children. Everything I do is for them.
What is a rule of life you live by?
Do good and good will come back to you.
Congratulations on your second child, Isaiah Pokora! How are you adjusting to life as a new mom during a pandemic?
Thank you so much. As crazy as this time has been, it’s been a blessing in disguise for me to be able to fully be with my family and enjoy every moment with them. Both Matt and I keep saying how lucky we are – especially since the baby was born. We tend to have to run to work immediately, so it’s been nice to have a reason to not work and be focused on home life.
You recently came out with a new show called, What Happens At Home by Kin, what can our readers expect to see?
This has been such a fun project. During this difficult time when everyone is at home with more time on their hands, I wanted to be a part of the content that people utilize to keep themselves (and their kids) busy. You can expect a lot of silly, funny and crafty moments with my family.
What is your morning and nighttime beauty routine?
Honestly? I’m all over the place! I have all types of moisturizers that I try out depending on the weather and how my face feels. I think the most important thing is to drink water all day – it really makes a difference for your mind, body, soul and face!
Favorite moment in your career?
I’ve always loved my first lead role in Love Don’t Cost a Thing as Paris Morgan. I think it inspired a lot of Afro-Latinas that we could make it in entertainment.
Out of every character you’ve ever played, which one relates most to the person you are in real life?
Linda Moon. She came from nothing and made something of her life by living out her dreams and performing.
In what ways do you use your platform for the greater good?
It’s important for me to use my platform to spread awareness about the charities and causes I’m passionate about, and to help fight racial injustices and support other women in a variety of ways.
If you weren’t famous what do you think you’d be up to right now?
That’s a good question. Maybe something in sports if I had really focused on track and field. I think I would’ve been successful in that area because that was always an option for me growing up. When I got busy with acting and with music, I had to make a choice.
What would you like to say to your fans?
Thank you for the continuous love and support after all these years. My fans inspire me to keep going and to continue to push myself to the next level.