Ulliel was born in Boulogne-Billancourt (a suburb of Paris), to Christine, a runway show producer, and Serge Ulliel, a stylist. He has a scar on his left cheek as a result of an attack from a doberman when he attempted to ride the dog like a horse at the age of six. He quipped that the scar increases his emotional acting abilities because it looks like a dimple. Ulliel attended the University of Saint-Denis, where he studied cinema. He began acting while he was still at school, appearing in Une Femme En Blanc, a film for French television. He also performed at the Cours Florent, where he was discovered by Les égarés director André Téchiné.In 2007, he appeared on the cover of the January issue of French Vogue with supermodel Doutzen Kroes.Ulliel is the current face of Longchamp, a French leather and luxury goods company, along with Kate Moss.Ulliel was chosen as the face of Chanel for its new men’s fragrance, Bleu de Chanel. The film for the campaign was directed by Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese and debuted in August 2010.He portrayed French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in the 2014 biopic film Saint Laurent.