Mena's first name comes from her British Aunt named after the Mena Hotel at the base of the pyramids in Egypt ; her last name is Estonian. The family later relocated to Charleston, South Carolina where Suvari grew up with her three older brothers, A. Suvari attended middle school at the Ashley Hall all-girls school in Charleston, South Carolina, and started modeling at age Her acting career began when she did a Rice-a-Roni commercial at age Also at age 13, Suvari signed with the New York-based Wilhelmina modeling agency and worked with them for the following 5 years. Suvari's early success pointed the way to her future, and by age 17, her family relocated to California to give her every chance at success.
It was probably all three. I was young. Her story traces the effects of conferring sex-symbol status on a gifted actor at a young age—and what happens when she, like many women in Hollywood right now, grows tired of being defined by others. Why, though, does that old narrative persist? Being cast specifically as an object of desire may have given the wrongful impression that her beauty was more vital to her success than her talent. The fact that she has the talent of a character actor but also bombshell good looks is confusing to this industry. Her acting skills have been criminally underrated.