As was once noted, she possesses “the mystery of Greta Garbo, the wit of Carole Lombard, and the sexuality of Marylin Monroe”. The unique combination of beauty, acting skills, charisma and talent to choose the projects that compliment her best have secured her reputation of a star ever since she began her career in the 1980s. What at first attracted filmmakers was probably her beauty and charm, but her genuine talent could not have escaped a true professional's attention either. And even if initially some directors might have tried to exploit her beauty, the actress did her best to break out of the directors' limited vision.  
A former model and daughter of well-known actor Klaus Kinski, Nastassja debuted on screen at the age of 14 as a mute girl in Wim Wenders’s The Wrong Move. Later on they cooperated to produce road movie Paris, Texas that paved her way to Hollywood. There she started by playing in Francis Ford Coppola’s romantic musical drama One from the Heart and demonstrating her feline grace in Paul Shrader’s horror Cat People, in which her vampire-like character Irene struggles to overcome her animal instincts. 
Her father named her Nastassja Aglaia, after two characters from Dostoevsky’s Idiot (following his footsteps, she named her own kids Alyosha and Sonja), and this must have pre-determined her fascination with sophisticated female roles. Nastassja says she likes screen adaptations of books (her first role in an adaptation was Tess in Roman Polanski’s screen version of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, which brought her a Golden Globe). Andrei Konchalovski’s Maria’s Lovers (based on Andrei Platonov’s Potudan River) and Andrei Eshpai’s The Insulted and Humiliated (where she played with Nikita Mikhalkov) demonstrated the childlike vulnerability and mysteriousness, which she shares with her characters: “If I were an animal, I would be a fish or a bird. It's the peace and beauty of ocean, the silent language of it...” the actress says.