Olivia Wilde on Living a Fulfilling Life
There’s definitely nothing wild about Olivia. Not in a crazy or unruly way, at any rate. As far as I can tell, it’s being insanely beautiful, smart, and genuinely passionate about her causes that makes her stand out as an actress. Although of course, you can likely attribute her “normal” (or so she calls it) childhood — where one night she was having an (innocent) altercation with Mick Jagger (at age 5) and the next being surrounded by activists talking about world issues — as part of what helped form the outstanding woman that Olivia is today.
She’s graced our televisions, the big screen and is now conquering the indie scene, but Olivia keeps her toes very much on the ground. She divorced her first husband, but has found true love with her current partner and her son, Otis.
Keen on finding out what Olivia has to say about her involvement in philanthropic activities, politics, and her desire to make the world a better place, we sat down and had a little chat with the Wilde one.
Urbanette Magazine: It’s obvious that you care about giving back. How did you initially get involved in philanthropy?
Olivia Wilde: It’s something we were raised with — a sense of responsibility, the idea of leaving the world better than how we found it. It was instilled in us quite young, my siblings and I.
Urbanette: Sounds like it’s almost a part of your overall lifestyle. What other lifestyle choices do you think are worthwhile?
Olivia: I’m a big believer in the vegan lifestyle. I’ve been vegetarian for about sixteen years and vegan for two and a half years strong. I think it’s the best lifestyle. I believe in it for many reasons — environmental, political and humanitarian.
Urbanette: It seems like it’s, thankfully, getting more common for artists and celebrities to be involved in philanthropy and world issues these days…
Olivia: I enjoy using the platform that I have in order to do good things. I am a member of Artists For Peace and Justice, which is a wonderful organization. We support a local org in Haiti. And we run the only free secondary school in Haiti. And I’m so proud to be a part of that. I love traveling down there every few months, and being a part of something that is so effective, and I believe in standing over something that I have personal experience in.
Urbanette: What makes your philanthropic activities unique from all the other artists out there?
Olivia: I think that my generation is defined by a new type of philanthropy. Philanthropy is no longer a word just for rich, older people who have fat checkbooks. It is an active philosophy, the idea of really participating, and going around the world and building wells, or saving trees or whatever your thing is. It’s active.
Olivia: It’s the only advocacy-oriented rock music festival. You can actually earn your way into the festival by participating, and it’s focusing on women and girls worldwide and ending global poverty. It’s the intersection of music and activism — all focused in the right place. At the festival, there are sixty thousand people on the great lawn in Central Park watching these incredible bands, and all these people watching around the world, it’s live-streamed to a dozen different countries, hundreds of millions of dollars being raised, and all of it is for the purpose of ending global poverty. It’s so powerful — I can hardly even believe it’s real!
Urbanette: You were also on Obama’s campaign trail years back. If there’s any advice you can give American citizens out there, what would it be?
Olivia: You can take 5 minutes out of your day to vote. You had to go right by there on your way to the store anyways. And I think that we shouldn’t just elect a president and wipe your hands like “ok, now I can relax”. To really have change you have to continue operating on a local level. You have to be in touch with your representatives, you have to speak up constantly and stand up for what you believe in. He — or she — can’t do anything about issues unless we’re all standing up and demanding it. We can’t just say “ok, now do everything you said you were going to do”. We have to help by continuing to fight for it.
Urbanette: Who is inspiring you to do all of this great advocacy work? Do you have mentors or people that you look up to?
Olivia: It’s everyone from Jeff Bridges to Jennifer Garner. It’s great because all of these people have different experiences but I think they’ve carried themselves with such grace. And they’re a wonderful example for someone like me.
Urbanette: Sounds like you have a special relationship with these people. But is it more of an advice relationship or a hangout relationship — or a little bit of both?
Olivia: I really value those relationships because anytime I’ve been hit by rough times I do have wonderful people I can call and say, “How do you deal with this?” And it’s people I’ve worked with and become close with.
Urbanette: You have an adorable son, Otis. What was it like becoming a first-time mother?
Olivia: No one tells you that after you’ve had a baby you are a walking wounded. It’s an experience, for sure. And then there’s all these expectations thrown at you right away; how you’re supposed to bounce back, a lot of them are really unrealistic, and I just kind of had had it. They want you to wear a corset and I’m like ‘what century are we in’?
Urbanette: You also wrote an article called, “The Dos and Don’ts of Turning 30,” about being thirty years old. If you can share one main idea for this article, what would it be?
Olivia: I encouraged women to take advantage of it, to enjoy it, not be ashamed of it or stifle it in any way and to understand that what I said in the article is that now we can act like an 18-year old boy and just be better at everything.
Urbanette: That sounds like fun. In your article, you wrote, “I am so saddened and grossed out by young women who look like creepy, old aliens because of their new Barbie noses and lips.” I agree. It’s sad that society has convinced young women that they need to look a particular way to be attractive.
Olivia: Yeah, there are too many young women who are getting plastic surgery. It makes me sad and they all look the same. And I don’t mean to be preachy, it’s advice to myself as much as it is for everyone else…