Sofia Boutella Is On Point

The dancer-turned-actress discusses her breakout role in Kingsman.


Three years ago, Sofia Boutella found herself at a turning point—in front of an audience of millions. A dancer in videos for Michael Jackson and Rihanna, Boutella performed during the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show onstage with Madonna. Immediately afterward, she retired. “I stopped dancing without any backup plan whatsoever,” says Boutella, 32, who wanted to devote herself to acting. Even Madge asked her, “What 
if you can’t find work?”

It wasn’t easy. “I don’t fit in any 
box,” explains the French-Algerian beauty, who speaks with a Continental lilt. “People don’t know if I’m Indian, half-white, half-black. Sometimes 
they think I’m Brazilian!” But her chameleonic looks—and possibly her dance moves—helped secure her breakout role opposite Colin Firth in 
the action caper Kingsman: The Secret Service, out now. She plays Gazelle, one half of a villainous team with Samuel L. Jackson. As a double amputee, Gazelle uses her leg blades with elegant and deadly force. “She’s turned her handicap into an asset,” Boutella says. “She’s resilient—as am I.”