Take a space sex odyssey with sultry Cuban-American actress and singer Christina Milian as she discusses her body of work—and her body.
This feature originally appeared in Complex's February/March 2005 issue.
After you take away the orchestrated outfits, flawless makeup and strategic lighting, some stars look just like normal people. Christina Milian isn’t one of those. Even if you don’t know she has a hit single, “Dip It Low,” and a slew of feature films coming out this year, her star quality is apparent. Yes, part of it is the fact that she’s orbited at all times byher sister Elizabeth and her two yipping, diva lapdogs Baby and Missy. But most of the former Disney junior journalist’s shine comes from the sun reflecting off the gazillion diamonds that drip from every jewelry-supporting part of her body. Mike, the barista at the Studio City Starbucks where Christina meets Complex to talk, says it all—he utters a soft yet telling “Yo” as she pushes open the door.
What have you got going on here?
My best friend…boyfriend…gave these to me. Believe me, I’m too frugal to buy jewelry like this.
Who’s this friend?
His name is Nick Cannon. He’s a very close friend.
What happens inside you when a man gives you jewelry like this?
To me it’s more important that someone thought of me. I’ve never been big on gifts.
Come on, everyone’s big on gifts.
Well, of course. But even if it’s just candy I’m like, “Yeah! Whoo!” I’m not one of those girls who gets with somebody for the jewelry.
I’m an all-around entertainer. I have 13 years in the game.
Does it ever get old? Do you ever get a new ring and go, “Come on! Enough already.”
No. Because he mixes it up. He’ll buy me, like, a dozen cards as a present.
A dozen cars?!
No, cards! Not cars.
Oh. What’s up with the cars, though? Doesn’t he love you?
Yeah! What the hell?
You traveled a lot as a kid, right?
Yeah. My father’s in the military so we moved a lot. I was born in Jersey but grew up in Maryland until we moved to L.A. to pursue my acting career. Music came into it after that.
So you’re an actress turned singer turned actress?
Exactly. I’m an all-around entertainer. I was in musical theater when I first started, so there was always both acting and singing. But as far as getting a record deal, that took time. The majority of that time I was acting.
How old are you and how long have you been doing this?
I’m 23. I’ve been in show business for 13 years.
You have 13 years in the game?
Yeah. I have 13 years in the game.
Tell me about the movie Cheer Up.
It’s an action comedy with Tommy Lee Jones. There are these five cheerleaders who witness a murder and report it to the Texas Rangers. They’re put in witness protection, and Tommy Lee Jones has to come protect them. It comes out April 8.
You don’t want your man to get bored so you got to dip it low.
Did you do a lot of cheering?
We were in training for a month. We did stunts where they’d throw us in the air and catch us by one foot and all this crazy stuff. But it’s not a Bring It On type of movie. It’s more about the acting. I saw it already and it’s good.
You’re also in Be Cool, the sequel to Get Shorty, right?
Yes. That has John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel and The Rock.
What character do you play?
Her name is Linda Moon. She’s a singer who’s stuck in a really bad record deal. She’s signed to Vince Vaughn’s label. Vince plays this pimped out record label owner who’s really stupid. John Travolta’s character sees Linda perform, loves her, and tries to get herout of the record deal and make her famous.
Do you have songs in the movie?
Yes. I do a live performance with Aerosmith. You know, a lot of women find Steven Tyler sexy. I have a big crush on Steven Tyler! When I was younger I never paid attention to him, but when we did the scene I was like, “Ah! You are so sexy right now I could turn into a groupie!” His lips were on the same microphone as mine, and I was ready to just kiss him. I don’t know what it was, but I became a groupie.
Do other performers have that effect on you?
No one else I’ve worked with had that effect on me. I think you have to get to know someone. Although, there are people like Brad Pitt…He’s my dream lover.
What about John Travolta? I don’t know if you know this, but before you were born he was considered quite sexy.
Oh yes! For me, watching the movie Grease, I was like, “Oh my god! He’s so hot!”
So when you worked with him…
It was different. He’s still got those eyes and he’s very charismatic, but it’s different when you’ve worked with someone. Like, I love Brad Pitt, but I’m sure if I worked with him it would be different.
I know. That might not be true. I could be wrong about Brad.
Would you “Dip It Low” with him?
Yeah! That’s a sexy record. It’s about keeping it fresh for your man. You don’t want your man to get bored so you got to dip it low.
Physically, what does that involve?
Good thigh muscles. You gotta go all the way down to the floor.
I see. Can you spot people who’d be good at dipping it low?
I probably could. But you never know. Some people are a little freaky and you don’t know. There! He could dip it low. [Christina points at a doughy teen walking past the window in a black trench coat and an Ozzy T-shirt.]
I’m sure he’d be pleased to know you said that. That might make his life!
It’s nice to know someone’s checking you out.
My stomach is the sexiest part of my body. But of course, I'm trying to be a booty girl. I would like to have more ass. Whenever I work out I try to keep the bubble.
You obviously don’t mind being sexy.
No. It’s a part of me I want people to see. With my first single, “AM To PM,” I was just this cute 18-year-old. But “cute” didn’t get me older roles, and “cute” wasn’t selling records. I wanted people to see that I’d grown up so I did “Dip It Low.”
I guess there’s a bit of an Olsen Twins factor with you because you grew up in Hollywood.
Yeah. I started with Disney. I was someone people knew.
And then one day…
People said, “Oh. Christina grew up.”
Who was the first person to notice it?
Me. I definitely felt sexier as I was seeing my body change.
What’s the sexiest part of your body?
I would say my stomach when it’s in shape. Right now I just came off tour and have a little work to do. Of course, I’m trying to be a booty girl. I would like to have more ass.
I think we all would.
Whenever I work out, I try to keep the bubble. [Christina gives “the bubble” a firm little slap.]
Whoa. That almost made me pass out. You declined a role on the Mickey Mouse Club, which spawned Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. As they started making it big, did you think, Oh shit! What have I done?
Yeah. I used to wonder. But I said no because my grandma was sick and that would have taken me away to Florida. Family had to come first.
Who’s the most famous guy who ever hit on you?
It’s been mostly musicians. Nelly hit on me. I’m not trying to be cocky, but there’s only a small group of girls in the music business so every rapper wants to date them. A lot of rappers have hit on me. I wasn’t dating anyone at the time so Nelly was able to get my number.
Who’s the most famous guy you ever hit on?
I don’t hit on guys. I thought The Rock was hot but I never hit on him.
So you like big guys?
I used to. My father was a bodybuilder so growing up I had crushes on Arnold and…what’s his name? Freakin’ Rocky. Now those guys are too bulky for me. The Rock is about perfect, though.
Steven Tyler, John Travolta, The Rock…that’s pretty much everyone in Be Cool. Maybe just wearing a costume gets you hot.
You know? I do tend to buy a lot of that stuff.
Well, lingerie. Not like, Snow White.
No Sexy Santa’s helper?
No. I wear nice things for my man.
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Simonez Wolf. (HAIR) Randy Stodghill. (MAKEUP) Cheryl Garcia. (SET AND PROP DESIGN) Damaris Dragonas. COVER AND SECOND IMAGES: Jacket by Dr. Romanelli for Nike / bikini bottom by Lekeia Varlack / shoes by Charlene "Urban Couture." FIRST IMAGE: Swimsuit by Leekeia Varlack / dress by Jeremy Scott / shoes by Charlene "Urban Couture" / necklace and bracelet by Metal Pointu's. THIRD IMAGE: Top by Cache / bottom by Versus / shoes by Norma Kamali / earrings and ring by Lena Wald / cuffs by Santiago for Zaldy.