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The Ukranian girl discovered on Moscow`s metro who grew up to become the sexiest Bond Girl yet

13-Jan-2008 • Quantum Of Solace

She is being billed as the toughest and most glamorous Bond girl to date. But Olga Kurylenko's route to stardom has been anything but easy. Behind the wide brown eyes in these exclusive pictures from her childhood is a tale of hard times - reports the Daily Mail.

Growing up in the poverty of the Soviet Union, she suffered a broken home and had to wear patched-up clothes.

But all that changed with a chance encounter on Moscow's underground metro system.

The 28-year-old Ukrainian was unveiled last week as the actress who will play Camille in the as yet unnamed 22nd Bond film.

But it was in Russia that her star potential was first noticed.

Aged just 13, she was on holiday in Moscow with her mother Marina Alyabusheva when she was spotted by a model scout getting off a metro train.

Mrs Alyabusheva, 50, said: "I was very surprised and kept asking this woman whether she had some hidden agenda.

"I was amazed a complete stranger could scout for models like this. She told us that Olga was too young but she would contact us again in a year or so."

Olga later returned to Moscow for training but by the age of 17 she was ready to leave for Paris to start her career.

Now her name will sit alongside some of 007's most famous conquests, including Ursula Andress, Halle Berry and Britt Ekland.

Olga is as glamorous as any of her predecessors and has not been afraid to show off her body in magazines and the movies she has already made.

Yet she has revealed little of the anguish she suffered as a child.

She grew up in a cramped Soviet "communal flat", in the Ukrainian seaside town of Berdyansk, with four small rooms shared by six adults from her extended family and several children.

Berdyansk is a resort on the Azov Sea famed for its mineral water springs and mud baths. But when Olga was growing up it was rundown with Soviet-era plants closing due to bankruptcy.

Her family struggled. While Marina went out to try to earn money, her mother Raisa helped to bring up Olga.

"I divorced her father Konstanin soon after her birth. I didn't think he was the the right man to be a good father and husband," said Marina, a teacher turned professor of art.

"And after the divorce, he forgot about her. He didn't see her from the age of two until she was 13. But maybe I was wrong to divorce him because Olga told me much later how much she had so missed him."

As the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, salaries were hit by rampant inflation and times were hard.

"Olga hated wearing old clothes and begged me for new sweaters, but we couldn't afford it. We had to darn the holes. It was tough."

Clothes have played a significant part in Olga's career ever since.

After flying off to Paris, she learned French in just six months. She was soon on the cover of magazines such as Elle and Vogue, and became the face of Lejaby lingerie.

At 20, she married French photographer Cedric van Mol, who was nine years older.

"They had been friends before but it was a marriage without love," said her mother.

They were divorced after two years, but Olga qualified for a French passport, allowing her to travel freely in the West without visas.

Then her acting career began to take off.

Her cinematic roles have been notably steamy.

In her latest film, The Serpent, she takes part in a drug-fuelled bondage scene.

But Marina says she is not embarrassedby her daughter's nude work. 'I always appreciate the beauty of the human body.'

Olga has married again, to a mobile phone accessory entrepreneur Damian Gabrielle. Now her mother believes her role as Camille could make her a major star.

"I talk to her every day and she is very excited,' she said.

"I hope this is just a start."

Thanks to `Lipservice` for the alert.

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