How important is a little bit of nonsense now and then to you?
Nonsense to me is, among many other things, at the very core of being human – it’s essential to keeping me sane.
What, if anything, makes you believe in magic?
Nature makes me believe in magic. I am in awe and intimidated in the face of the force of nature – the vastness of it and its power. It makes me feel that anything is possible – like a drop of water in the middle of the Sahara desert… magic.
What was your last act of true cowardice?
I just saw a cockroach which sent me into an emotional spiral. I felt like it was crawling on me and I screamed my lungs out!
What single thing do you miss most when you’re away from home?
I think of the whole world as my home. But I have also not lived in my family home [Algeria] for my whole career. I always miss my family – I miss my family all the time as they are not where my current home is either – they are in France and I am in America. My work takes a lot of space in my life and I grew up being encouraged by my artistic family to follow my dreams; but by doing so I am away from them – so yeah, I just miss them. At this point I haven’t seen them in a year, but I hold them in mind and they are in my heart always.
Do you have any odd habits or rituals?
I still suck my middle two fingers like when I was a child from time to time… Whenever I do, my brain releases serotonin and I feel comforted.
What is your party trick?
I play the ukulele bent over backwards while doing the splits… LOL!
What is your mantra?
I am good enough.
What is your favourite smell?
The grass in a field after the rain.
What do you always carry with you?
Love to give to others.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in cheap cones!
Who is the silliest person you know?
I’m honestly right up there… I am goofy and I am clumsy. Dancers can be incredibly clumsy, which I know sounds odd.
What would be your least favourite way to die?
Drowning. Or worse: drowning and being liquefied in a pool of sulphuric acid…
Sofia Boutella, actor, dancer and model, left her home country of Algeria in 1992 during the civil war there. She was 10, and journeyed to France with her mother, an architect, and father, a composer, and they settled there. She had studied classical dance since she was five, and at 18 made the French national rhythmic gymnastics team. But while dance has always been a passion (she names Bob Fosse and Fred Astaire as inspirations), and her career as a professional dancer has seen her perform alongside Rihanna and Madonna, lately, acting has taken precedence. You will no doubt remember her break-out role as the lethal, high-kicking blade-shod double-amputee Gazelle in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Since then, there have been many more roles and she is currently filming the lead in Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon.
*Arguably one of the most memorable (and quotable) scenes in 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is when Mr Salt mumbles, ‘It’s a lot of nonsense,’ to which Wonka replies, in a sing-song voice, ‘A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.’