She was born in Leningrad, former Soviet Union. Her parents moved with her from Russia to New York when she was 17 years old, and she continues to reside in New York.
While working as a hairdresser at a salon, she was discovered by Luc Besson, the co-writer of Transporter 3, in New York, when she crossed a street. He gave her acting lessons and cast her as the female lead in Transporter 3.
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