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Michonne Bourriague

Born on May 27, 1978, in Carson City, Nevada, grown up in Santa Cruz, California

Her name might may you think she's an European model, but she's Californian, even if she spent time modelling in Europe.

You probably have not heard about Michonne unless you are one hardcore Star Wars fan (she appeared as Aurra Sing for about three seconds during the pod-race scene), but with here appearance in Episode I, she already has a lot of fans, and if the rumours are right and she will play a larger role in Episode II, she might be a superstar soon.

While she played a fierce bounty-hunter and Jedi-murderer in Episode I, Michonne is a really California girl who loves sports, listen to music, writing poetry and keeping a journal since 10 years.

As a teenager, she played volleyball for seven yeras, was a member of student government and lots of clubs.

Michonne has three sisters and one brother, and she is a very family-orientated girl. Of course, her sisters and her 11-year-old brother Travis are her biggest fans.

After graduation from Golden Sierra High School in Auburn, California, friends urged the 5-foot 9-inch stunner to try modelling. She tried, and a fashion workshop in Santa Cruz led to Bourriague signing with Look Models in San Francisco in 1998.The agency sent her photos to Episode I casting office, and she was invited for an audition.

"My agent called and asked me if i knew who George Lucas was," Bourriague recalls, with a laugh. "I was like, 'I think I do, didn't he create Star Wars?' Mr Lucas wanted to see me for a small part. I was in the grocery store freaking out, I was so excited. But I had no acting experience, maybe some natural ability. I'd never taken any acting classes besides high school drama. But they told me it wasn't a speaking role - they needed someone with 'model body' for it.

Michonne approached her audition as Aurra Sing, her character, would - with strong and straightforward precision.

"I went to the casting and there were four other girls there," she said. "My first priority was to go right up to Mr. Lucas and say, 'I'm so honoured to meet you - I think your work is just so awesome', and just straight-up shake his hand. And that's exactly what I did."

Of course, she had also to try on the Aurra Sing costume, but Michonne said "I think I maybe won him over with my personality, because I was just so excited to be there. I just wanted to make the most of that moment with him. Then I joked around a little bit. I had a good time meeting him - I was just so honoured. I never thought I'd get the part. I never expected anything out of it. Next, I went back to my agency and they told me they liked me, and that I got it. We were all so excited. But never in a million years did I ever expect what became of it."

When filming approached, Michonne was very nervous, but for support she relied on her grandfather, who is her idol.

"He's the most amazing man - he has the biggest heart and has taught me so much in my life. That man will do anything to help you in any way. He's 87 and still climbing roofs, six or seven days a week, working construction. He's amazing."

"The day of filming, I thought of whom I wanted to take, and instead of my boyfriend, I thought Grandpa was the one to take. I left him the next day at the hotel when I went to the filming, because I wanted to be as professional as possible. I didn't want to bring all my friends and family to be in the way. But what's funny is when I got to ILM, I was asked if I brought anybody! I was told everyone brings along someone. So they said they'd go pick him up, and I think they sent a limo to get Grandpa! So he met Mr. Lucas and watched the filming. He was in awe of it all."

George Lucas was involved with Aurra Sing's visualization every step of the way.

"George Lucas is so amazing," Michonne said. "He knows exactly what he is doing. The day of filming he told me, 'I'm going to make a star out of you in three seconds.' I looked at him like, 'You're crazy, you know. What are you talking about?!' When he said that, of course, what a dream to be able to make me a star in three seconds! Really, I didn't comprehend what he was talking about. I didn't."

michonne bourriague

"He was there the whole time. Actually, I had heard from people that he works with that he didn't go to all the little extra scenes in the movie, that they thought it was cool that he was there. He talked to me between filming; he's a very cool guy. He mainly was trying to tell me about Aurra Sing's personality, what she was about so that I could be in character, even though I was just watching the race go by. I wanted to look as fierce and powerful as possible. Right away I felt connected with that character because I had so much fun playing Aurra Sing." " They were calling me Babe-a Fett on the set - I didn't even know my character's name - it was all a big secret. They gave me a little info on her personality for the shots so that I could look fierce and very powerful while standing out on the ledge. I wanted to be in character as much as I could to soak up the moment. They said she's a bounty hunter, ruthless, she kills people. I later learned from the comics that she has six Jedi lightsabers.""Mr. Lucas was walking back with me from the photo shoot after the actual filming. He accidently slipped me her name. So I said 'Oh, so her name's Aurra Sing?' and he replied 'Yeah, but don't tell anyone, don't say anything.' So that was a big secret I kept and didn't tell anyone for a real long time."While the filming of her scene in November 1998 took four hours, Bourriague spent more than six hours in the makup chair - although she didn't have to shave off her long blonde hair. "It was a plastic cap. They pretty much glued my hair down. Then they put that cap over my hair, pulled my ponytail through a little hole on the the tippy-top, and added that huge extension ponytail. It was a redhead extension - my hair's blonde. They used acetone to melt the plastic cap into my skin to make it look as real as possible."Her costume, no less complicated, also became a big hit.
"I had on really tight bodysuit and original Star Wars boots, Jedi boots. Then they made my whole costume look dirty. I had that huge gun on my back. Two guns were on my hips. Then I was ready to go. I had my antennae on my head, and some kind of bombs or bullets on the back of my vest."

Bourriague said that being Aurra Sing for the "fashion shoot" was something she'll never forget. "I had a blast doing that. I had so much fun. I'm sure you've seen the pictures of me on the Star Wars website, how i got to stand with my arms criss-crossed with the guns. I got to act real tough."

But after her day of fun at ILM, Michonne had to wait several months before the movie was released and she could reveal her exciting secret.

"The day the movie came out - oh my gosh! I wanted to get all my friends and family together in one big section of the cinema. I was so excited when the scene finally came. But I didn't know how much I was going to be onscreeen. I didn't know how much they cut out, or how long it would be. I knew it wasn't going to be that long, but I didn't know how quick it was going to be."

"When I saw the movie for the first time, I just wanted to tell everybody in the cinema, 'That's me up on the screen!' But I didn't. It was so exciting to see myself on the big screen - it was like a dream!"

 

After Phantom Menace, Michonne went to Europe for five month and pursued her modelling career. She got assignments on modeling hairstyles, lingerie, swimwear and designer clothes, lived in Milan and Barcelona, and appeared in magazines all over Europe."Modelling was very hard there, when I came home, I decided I wanted to take a break. When you're judged on your looks so much, it can get to you. I wanted to not do it for a while."Michonne went to Las Vegas with some friends, and took a regular job as a waitress."Now that I've had that break, I'm ready to go back. I'm definitly going strong into acting - I want to get in anyway I can. I want to move to Los Angeles. I'm going to take classes, and I'm thinking of taking kickboxing and karate classes just so if I was cast, and Aurra Sing had to do some mean fighting scenes, I'd be ready for it!"

She's already found some fans while waiting tables. "People quite often will ask me if I've modelled. We'll make conversation, and sometimes if I mention Star Wars, they just don't believe me. They all say 'No way!' Some people will go and watch the video and then come back for an autograph. That's so much fun. I love it when people don't believe me, like I was in K-Mart looking the Episode I toys, and my friends went, 'Hey, she was in Star Wars! She's Aurra Sing.', and then I got all embarrassed. Because in everyday life I'm in a T-shirt and jeans - I don't look like a model and I don't look like Aurra Sing, so they don't believe me, and it cracks me up."

Bourriague has been knocked out by the fan reaction to her character. The biggest surprise came the day she received a copy of the Star Wars US magazine, with her face on the cover.

"Oh my gosh, that was such a big shock! I was so amazed when I saw myself on the cover of the magazine. I was so excited. I was hesitant at first about putting it in my book with my other modelling photos. Because I was thinking, what if someone is flipping through my book of nice modeling photos and there is Aurra Sing, and they say 'Whoa, Who is that?!' My boyfriend suggested I include it, so I did. And in Europe the people were all amazed."

Amazed, no doubt, because few would have expected such a brutal, bounty-hunting character to come from such an upbeat, all-American girl. "Now that I have a better understanding of the character, and all that has come out about Aurra Sing, I feel so connected to her. Being that ruthless - oh, it was so much fun to be as fierce as possible!"

Interview: Kevin Fitzpatrick

 

 

 

 

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

michonne bourriague

Unfortunately, there are not many pictures of Michonne available yet, but I'm sure there will be a lot of them soon!

For the time being, you have to be content with the few available.

michonne bourriague

 

michonne bourriague

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