This article first appeared in Harper's Bazaar Singapore, the leading fashion glossy on the best of style, beauty, design, travel and the arts. Go to harpersbazaar.com.sg and follow @harpersbazaarsg on Instagram; harpersbazaarsingapore on Facebook. The July 2022 issue is out on newsstands now.
SINGAPORE - With her elfin features and platinum bob, Pom Klementieff has the kind of looks you do not easily forget.
Couple that with her magnetic screen presence and a flair for high-wire action, and you have got yourself the new decade's most charismatic superheroine.
The 36-year-old actress of French-Russian and South Korean parentage started her career in French indie films before making her way to Hollywood.
In 2013, she scored a breakthrough in Spike Lee's Oldboy, but it was four years later that Klementieff hit the big time, when she joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe - the biggest franchise in entertainment.
She plays Mantis - first in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), then in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), and most recently, Thor: Love And Thunder (2022).
As the lovable but formidable alien with empathic abilities, Klementieff got to flex both her action and comedic chops, earning her a legion of fans along the way.
The actress continues to be on a roll. She has two more Marvel films in the pipeline - Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special, a television special slated for later this year, and next year's Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 - as well as two Mission: Impossible films due for release in 2023 and 2024.
Amid her frenetic schedule, Klementieff makes time for this interview and photo shoot.
Landing in London at 6am, she whizzes straight to the set, where she spends the entire day executing high kicks, splits, pull-ups and planks - all the while dressed in clouds of pink marabou and purple taffeta.
She is super chill and completely down-to-earth - no airs, no manager on set - and works the camera like a dream.
Here, she talks about fashion, film and her fighter spirit.
What is your relationship with fashion like?
I love having fun with the way I dress, but I love being functional as well, so I veer towards more comfortable things in real life.
But when I go to an event, I like to just create, take risks, do different things. It depends on the mood; it changes all the time.
What I wore to amfAR Gala Cannes 2022 (amfaR is The Foundation for Aids Research), my last big event, was probably the most revealing dress I've ever worn.
It was fun, but now that I've done that, I don't think I'm going to wear something so revealing for a while.
Because it was too sexy?
I don't usually go for a sexy vibe. I don't think it's the most interesting way of dressing.
Sexy is something you either have in you or don't. You can be fully covered, and still be and feel sexy. It's about the energy, an attitude.
I think it's more interesting if someone is sexy, but it's the energy that's sexy, instead of someone who is trying too hard and showing too much.
Of course, it's also fun to reveal sometimes in a beautiful, interesting way.
What is most fulfilling about what you do?
I love the freedom and the independence that come with acting. I love the perpetual evolution of the journey - it's like always going on an adventure.
The fulfilment also comes from working with people. When you get the chance to work with talented people and people you admire, that's really a gift - to be able to create beautiful things with people who inspire you.
What draws you to particular roles and stories?
The ability to create and challenge myself. It's nice because, now, I have a choice in what I want to take on.
That was not always the case, so hopefully, I get to do challenging and exciting things that are different from what I've done before.
It's always about learning new things, and making your life richer and experiences more universal. All these things open your mind and world, so you aren't just stuck in the same thing.
Is there a particular genre or role you would love to tackle?
I think I'm driven more by working with the greats - talented people I really admire.
I love doing action movies. I want to do more of those. But it's not just about action. There are good action movies and there are bad ones. I'd rather not do an action movie if it's bad.
Since I have a choice at the moment, I'd like to do completely different things - independent movies, working with directors from around the world, comedy, drama. I'm open to all kinds of possibilities and meetings and experiences.
What excites you about the industry today?
What excites me is all the possibilities for women and people who don't happen to be Caucasian. But it's also always a fight. I always ask for more and try to fight for that in an elegant way. Basically, you don't get it if you don't ask.
Have you always been a fighter?
Not at all. It's something you have to learn, as a woman especially. In my family, when I was little, we would never talk back or there would be certain things we don't talk about.
I think (it's important to talk about things). If you don't, nothing changes. But the change also has to come from you - not just from the people around you or you waiting for things to happen. It's a process. I don't think it happens overnight.
Was there a trigger that caused this shift in your mentality?
There are definitely triggers. You see people around you asking for things and you go, oh, maybe I should do that too. But it's also your own personal journey. I know I'm not the same person now as I was at 20.
I also know that everything is connected to my fight and martial arts training. It makes you stronger not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally.
It's not about getting abs and ripped. I mean, that's great too, to look good and to feel healthy, but it's also about making your mind stronger. When you have that, it bleeds into other parts of your life.
Are you a goal-setter or go-with-the-flow kind of person?
I think I'm a combination of both. I'm very image-driven, so it's more like I have a mood board in my head.
I want horses in my life, so I keep saving pictures of horses. I have skydiving videos because I want to skydive more, now that I've got my licence. My screen saver is a motorcycle because I want to ride one like that at some point.
I don't have to do them right away, but they're somewhere in my mind.
But I'm not so square where I go, oh, I must do this in five years because I might be dead in five years, you know? It's more about the journey there.
And sometimes, your desires change too. It's nice to be flexible and not be like, this is the plan and I'm not doing anything else. Life is complicated and beautiful - you have to be able to adapt.