why are movie insiders leaping for this former ballerina?

Juliette Marquis: why are movie insiders leaping for this former ballerina?

Jarret McNeill

Early on in This Girl’s Life, a XXX-flavored drama that recently premiered on Showtime, newcomer Juliette Marquis begins talking to the camera, taking off her clothes, and feigning sexual congress with a stranger. A run-of-the-mill screen debut it’s not, but as Moon, an accomplished but ambivalent porn star in search of herself, Marquis proves herself adept at the art of the unforgettable first impression.

After studying ballet as a child in her native Ukraine, Marquis moved to Chicago at age 8 and took up modeling at 14, making her way to Paris and, while accompanying actor friends to their auditions, the Dramatic Arts Institute. “Until then I didn’t have any direction for what I wanted to do,” she explains. “I’ve always loved to be onstage, but I hadn’t yet found a satisfying way to incorporate that into my life.”

After heading to New York City, where she and her friends wrote and staged plays with names like Rembrandt’s Eyes and Strange Disease in rented spaces for $5 a pop, Marquis moved to Los Angeles in 2002. She soon landed the lead in This Girl’s Life, opposite seasoned actors James Woods, Rosario Dawson, and Michael Rapaport, despite her lack of professional experience. “[The director] brought me back to audition seven times,” she recalls, “just to be sure he wanted to take a chance on me.”

For her next act, Marquis leaves behind the bedroom for the ice-hockey rink as a butch, tattooed goalie in the comedy Chicks With Sticks. “It just seemed as opposite from Moon as you could be,” she laughs, hinting that she’s still not through making big impressions.

Jarret McNeill is Interview’s assistant editor.

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