Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Irina Pantaeva is a Russian model and actress who has appeared in a number of popular magazines, including “Elle,” “Vogue” and “Harper's Bazaar,” as well as in a “Sports Illustrated's” swimsuit issue. On the acting front, she is perhaps best known to Americans for playing Jade in “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” (1997). She also had small parts in “Celebrity” (1998), “Zoolander” (2001) and “People I Know” (2002) and guest starred in the TV series “New York Undercover” and “3rd Rock from the Sun” (both 1998).
Pantaeva wrote her autobiography, “Siberian Dream: A Memoir,” in 1998. It was published by Avon.
Mother of 2
Childhood and Family:
Irina Pantaeva was born on October 12, 1972, in Ulan-Ude, Siberia, Russia, to a family of artists. She moved to Paris in 1992 to become a model and headed to New York City two years later to further pursue opportunities.
In 1994, Irina married Latvian photographer Roland Levin. They divorced in 2008. The marriage produced one child, Solongo (born on December 21, 2003). Irina also has an older child named Ruslan (born in 1989).
Irina Pantaeva played a lead in her first feature film, “The Adventures of Hadja Nesredin” (1989), when she was a teenager. At age 20, she left Russia for Paris to give modeling a try and soon appeared in major publications like “Elle,” “Harper's Bazaar” and “Vogue.” After two years, Pantaeva relocated to New York City to further pursue her modeling career. She has since been profiled in “Time Magazine,” “USA Today,” “People,” “The New York Times” and “The New Yorker.” She also appeared in “Sports Illustrated.”
In 1996, Pantaeva resumed her film career by appearing in the Italian movie “Testimone a rischio” (“An Eyewitness Account”), by director Pasquale Pozzessere. It won a David for Best Actor (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) and was nominated for Best Actress (Margherita Buy) and Best Producer (Pietro Valsecchi) at the 1997 David di Donatello Awards. However, Pantaeva did not make her Hollywood debut until she landed the significant role of Jade in “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” (1997), the sequel to the 1995 movie “Mortal Kombat.” The movie was directed by John R. Leonetti and scripted by Brent V. Friedman and Bryce Zabel. The cast also included Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, James Remar, Brian Thompson, Sandra Hess, Lynn “Red” Williams and Musetta Vander.
In 1998, Pantaeva appeared as Isabel in an episode of the Fox series “New York Undercover” called “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” The same year, she also appeared in an episode of “3rd Rock from the Sun,” a popular sitcom that appeared on NBC from 1996 to 2001 and starred John Lithgow. She was also featured in “Celebrity,” a comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen that starred Kenneth Branagh, Judy Davis, Winona Ryder, Leonardo DiCaprio and Melanie Griffith.
In 2000, Pantaeva appeared in the TV Fox short lived series “Normal, Ohio.” She went on to play bit parts in “Zoolander” (2001), a comedy film directed, co-written by and starring Ben Stiller, and “As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me” (2001), a Germany/Russian movie directed by Hardy Martins. In 2002, she acted in “People I Know,” a dramatic film directed by Daniel Algrant that starred Al Pacino, Kim Basinger and Téa Leoni.
On September, 16, 2005, in New York, Pantaeva took part in “Fashion for Relief,” a benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims. Other participants in the event included Nicole Richie, Beyoncé Knowles, Veronica Webb, Kelly Osbourne, Angie Everhart, Alexandra Richards, Marisa Miller, Wyclef Jean, Rachel Hunter, Naomi Campbell and Janice Dickinson.
In addition to film and television, Pantaeva has worked on stage and appeared in the off-Broadway play “Jewtopia.” She also acted in “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” which was directed by David Kaplan and staged in her home town of Ulan-Ude.