It has been her physical assets -- her gorgeous face, soulfully sweet blue eyes, and tight body -- that have, so far, brought Mia the most renown. Photo spreads and interviews in Razor, Maxim, Gear, FHM, and Stuff in the past five years have put her on (or at least close to) the tips of guys' tongues.
And the fact that many of her roles have been sexual in nature -- even if they're often unconventional or twisted -- helps get our minds moving in the right direction.
If it can be considered an accomplishment, Kirshner might soon become the next "Most Downloaded Woman on the Internet" -- well, at least she deserves to be. Despite all her exposure though, she's still not exactly a household name. But her magazine spreads have revealed Mia as every bit the vision she has incarnated time and again since her breakout role nearly 10 years ago as a teen stripper in Exotica.
And men across the continent picked their jaws up off the cinema floor during her red-hot appearance in 2001's Not Another Teen Movie, in which she played a schoolgirl with bisexual tendencies (spoofing Sarah Michelle Gellar's role in Cruel Intentions).
Kirshner has made a career of playing opportunistic temptresses, as in Cadillac Girls, Saturn and Century Hotel. And her sex appeal has only been enhanced by the dubious sexuality of many of her characters. She played bisexual naughty girls in New Best Friend (2002) and several episodes of TV's 24, and will be seduced to the lesbian side in the new Showtime drama, The L Word, debuting in January 2004.
She has worked with many greats of the movie industry, and with her talent and beauty, she could jump to the A-list if she chooses more commercial projects.
Born in Toronto on January 25, 1976, Mia Kirshner was raised in Canada's largest city by her Bulgarian-born mother, Etti, an English teacher, and her German-born father, Sheldon, a journalist for The Canadian Jewish News. Her initial interest in following in her father's line of work was redirected toward acting after watching Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.
Kirshner's first onscreen appearance came as an extra in The Freshman (1990), starring Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando, an experience that she found quite grueling. Undeterred, she appeared that same year on the small screen for a full season of Dracula: The Series, and racked up several other Canadian and American television credits before segueing into film.
From the beginning, Kirshner's dark beauty led her toward roles ranging from disturbed to diabolically enticing. After portraying a rebellious teenager intent on seducing her mother's boyfriend in Cadillac Girls (1993), two provocative roles under Canadian directors established her reputation: the dominatrix in Denys Arcand's Love & Human Remains (1993), and the youthful stripper with a surprising past in Atom Egoyan's highly-lauded Exotica (1994).
Although her onscreen career was underway, she continued her education by attending Montreal's McGill University to study 19th Century Russian Literature with a minor in film. All the while, the modest actress kept her film career to herself and avoided answering questions about her future.
But the ravishing thespian's work in Exotica attracted the attention of American casting agents, who promptly got her supporting roles in Murder in the First and the Southern coming-of-age tale, The Grass Harp (both 1995). She subsequently won a lead role in The Crow: City of Angels (1996), in which she took advantage of her Goth looks to portray a tattoo artist sporting an angel-wing tattoo across her back that drove male viewers loco.
When Kirshner showed up for her Mad City audition in 1996, she was late, underdressed and unprepared to meet the movie's stars, Dustin Hoffman and John Travolta. She became nervous, stretching a hole in her jeans and talking incessantly, but unable to look anyone in the eye. Luckily, her shyness was a blessing: she was reading for the part of a nervous and eager TV reporter, and everyone in the room thought she was talking to them in character.
Since Mad City (1997), Kirshner has had the luxury of taking the time to pick and choose her projects. She continued to appear in both lead and supporting roles in such independent and/or small features as Saturn (1999), a drama that cast her as a hedonistic girlfriend, as well as Out of the Cold (1999), Cowboys and Angels (2000) and Century Hotel (2001). Keeping busy well into the new millennium, Kirshner appeared as a bomb-toting hijacker in the first season of the real-time television series 24, as well as Not Another Teen Movie (both 2001), a parody of the recent wave of high school-themed films and also starring Lacey Chabert and Jaime Pressly.