On a not unusual day in the early 90's, the Trevor Day School cafeteria was busy feeding a mixture of children and teachers, but on this seemingly normal day there happened to be a casting director with a sharp eye for talent among the mix. Though unbeknownst to anyone, this casting director was about to spark a change in a young girls life.

Leelee Sobieski was just a preteen, but she held a vision - instilled in her by her artistic parents - of what she thought she'd become. Like many her age, she could recite a long list of possible career choices, and those in the top running were following in her parents footsteps. Her dream was to be a writer like Elizabeth, her mom, or a painter like Jean, her father. However when the casting director approached her in her New York City school, Leelee became curious about acting.

"They asked me to come into the casting director's office and meet with them," Leelee says. "I was absolutely awful. I didn't do a very good job. But that's not important. I thought: 'Well, that's kind of strange and I really sucked but it is kind of amusing that, out of the blue, I get asked to do this when it's the last thing I expected, so I might as well give it a try.' And that was kind of my approach. If, all of a sudden, something changes in one direction, I'll give it a try. And then, if it works, go for it. If not, then change to another direction. Then I took some acting lessons and started to like it more and more."

Before long Leelee was getting parts in commercials and guesting in TV shows. What started as a fun curiosity, was becoming a new creative outlet, and was starting to change her life.


Leelee was born in New York City as Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta Sobieski on June 10, 1983. Her birth name is rich with her French and Polish heritage. "Liliane is the name of my father's mother," says Leelee. "It was a little too serious and formal for a little girl. So they called me Leelee. Elsveta comes from my mother's side of the family. It's Elizabeth in Polish."

Leelee grew up in New York City's Upper West Side, and spent time in France with her father's family. "We were never very wealthy," she says "but we had the luxury of going to Häagen-Dazs and getting ice cream. Those little, childish, sweet luxuries."Besides ice cream, her parents helped her and her brother Roby (born 1989) to appreciate the culture that surrounded them. At a very young age Leelee went to art galleries and attended Shakespearean plays. "My parents are my best friends," says Leelee. "They kept me very protected, so I couldn't get hurt physically or emotionally by anybody."

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The Sobieski family is a direct descendant of Polish royalty. "Many generations back," says Leelee, "there was a king in Poland and he was my great great great great Uncle. The Bagel was [invented] for him. A Jewish baker made it for him, in the shape of a saddle."


Leelee currently studies at Brown, Providence. "It's really nice. I'm living in a dorm room and I've got a roommate. I didn't know her until I got to the school and she's really nice... I'm happy to get away from actors. That doesn't sound right. It's nice to be with "real" people... It's nice to get away from the film industry. It's very exciting but it's also kind of a fake place and it is "la-la land". It is Hollywood but college isn't a real environment either. It's like a bubble but to be in a different bubble is nice. "

When Leelee's busy life gives her a short break she enjoys the diversions of painting, writing poetry, and collecting key chains and locks of hair from her costars. The 5' 10" blue eyed young woman has achieved more in her years than some actresses do in a lifetime, but traveling at a pace that would make Richard Petty proud is just what Leelee intends to keep doing. Among her future goals remain her originals. She still wants to paint and write, but she adds to her ambitions to be a screenwriter and a director. She says, "[In 25 years] I'll be married, I'll have 2 kids - boy and a girl. I will have directed five movies, if not more. I will have had many expositions. I will be with my kids all the time. I will travel a lot. I won't be acting as much as I am now - maybe just one movie a year. I'll be creating; I don't know what, maybe designing chairs or something!"


 

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