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Meet Olesya Rulin, Actress and Environmentalist

by Zarah Harris April 28, 2023

Meet Olesya Rulin, Actress and Environmentalist

With Earth Month coming to a close we reached out to author and environmentalist and mother, Olesya Rulin, to talk about beauty, sustainability, and the importance of protecting our planet. From early childhood Olesya has always had a special connection to nature. She grew up in a small village in what was previously known as the USSR, where she and her family lived off of the land. 

Living as one with nature, Olesya developed a deep appreciation for Mother Earth.This conscious lifestyle emphasized the importance of mindfulness and having respect for the environment.When you live off the land you also don't pollute or abuse it. It's your playground and your home; the partner you have in survival,” she explained. While foraging for food her mother used to tell her"Pick berries but remember to not take too many, the top of the bush is for the birds, the bottom for the little animals, the middle is for humans. We are the center and it's our responsibility to make sure everyone gets their fair share." 

At the age of 8, Olesya and her family immigrated to the United States to start a new life with more opportunities. With the encouragement of her mother, Olesya pursued an acting career when she was 12 years old. She auditioned for Disney Channel and booked a role in the movie "Hounded”. From there she worked as an actor for other major networks such as Sony, Paramount, Fox, ABC, and more. As Olesya and her family settled into life within the United States she then discovered what “sustainability” in a capitalist country looks like.

We never had access to that many goods and services in the Soviet Union which made ‘reusing’ everything from pickle jars to steel nails and clothing a way of life vs. a conscious choice. It shocked our whole family at just how much waste was created in the U.S. and how easy it was to simply get ‘new and more’ things,” she explained. 

Olesya and her family remained true to their roots and continued to uphold their habits of conscious consumption. “I dove deeper into sustainability and purchasing power in school and my early college education. When my acting career took flight I was lucky enough to create a platform to educate myself and others further on the options of a more green lifestyle. It's something that truly lights my soul on fire,” she said.

Today, Olesya and her mother co-own 460 acres of land in Russia that has been turned into a nature reserve where they protect the flora and fauna. “It's a stunning piece of the Earth we are proud to keep safe from poachers, illegal logging, and pollution,” Olesya shared. 

When she’s not on set, Olesya likes to use her social media platform to educate others on sustainable products and services. “I find that as we are more connected through technology we have more opportunities to grow closer to one another and to our Earth,” she said.

Since Earth Month coincides with the month of April, Olesya sees it as a time for rebirth and a fresh start. “For me that means getting outside for more walks and taking in the new life that is about to burst come May,” she said. 

Olesya and her family celebrated the Earth by planting 2 acres of wildflowers on their property in hopes of supporting their local pollinators. “It was a whole family activity, even my 8 month old managed to sprinkle some seeds. Fingers crossed that they take and we will have a field of Californian Poppies,” she shared.

Olesya Rulin and her child.

Read on to see the rest of our interview with Olesya Rulin.

What’s your go-to nail color?

A light pink for every day and a crimson red when I'm feeling more glam. 

Emilie Heathe Nail Artist Nail Polishes

When you need a confidence boost, what do you do or wear to feel polished and on top of your game?

Honestly, I have to have my nails done! For me it doesn't matter if I have a stunning dress on ... If my nails are chipped and not fresh I may as well not go to the event. It's the details in life that make the difference for me.

Which colors make you feel most empowered when you wear them?

Crimson Red for when I want to feel sexy, blue and lavender for feelings of freshness, dark grey for when I rebel, and translucent white for when I'm feeling romantic.

What’s your favorite way to get some R&R?

These days if I can take a nap for 20 minutes in the sun I'm in heaven. Past that, a book, a glass of white wine, and an hour to daydream. 

What's one book, movie, or TV show that's had a big impact on your life?

Winged Migration: a documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of 3 years on all seven continents. Made in 2001, it blew my mind at the dedication and grace of these animals and the people behind this film that were able to capture interactions that take your breath away. It was nominated for an Oscar. If you haven't seen it, rent it.

What’s your favorite place in nature to visit and why?

Etretat in Northern France ( 20 km north of Le Havre, Normandy). I visited there when I was 19 and stood at the top of the cliffs. It was windy that day and you could taste the briny ocean below. The gulls danced in the sky while the wild grass swayed as if trying to keep pace. It was pure magic and I understood why Monet painted there.

What do you think is the most pressing environmental issue we face today?

The disconnect we have with nature. If we all started seeing ourselves in nature, from nature, as part of nature, it would mean that we had to change our ways of thinking and acting. I believe it starts with education and relearning that we are not separate from the whole.

What is the most hopeful thing you’ve seen happen in the environmental movement recently?

How technology has made it easier and faster for communities to reach one another, give aid, and resolve issues. The amount of education available to us at any given time and the opportunities that hold for change brings tears to my eyes. 

Can you name a few sustainable lifestyle or fashion brands that you currently love?

For children’s clothing I love Jamie Kay (it's 98% of what my daughter wears) with organic materials and timeless design. Jamie Kay makes heirloom clothing that lasts the test of time. It's also affordable and compares in price to Zara kids, which proves to show you that sustainable can also be affordable.

For women’s clothing I love Christy Dawn. I've been a friend of the founders since my 20s and seeing them grow the brand from a few deadstock material dresses to now making clothing from regenerative cotton grown on a farm in India that customers can be land stewards of ... it's beautiful. The designs are stunning and you'll love the quality, all with love sewn into every stitch. 

For the kitchen I love Fable. The dinnerware, glassware, and flatware is minimalistic and chic at its best all while being a leader in the space when it comes to sustainability. Everything from reusing clay to hiring local artisans and using clean energy to power the facility. I can't talk enough about how much I love this company.

What tips would you share with someone looking to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

Stay climate positive. It can be a gloomy and dark road filled with "it’s too late" propaganda. It's never too late to care for our planet and reconnect to a higher version of yourself. Humans are smart, curious, graceful beings we simply have to choose to be that way. 

My other advice would be: take it easy and slowly. You don't have to throw out all of your plastic containers and buy all new metal ones. It's progress vs. perfection. Start slow with consuming less, especially plastic, and every month add on another goal where you feel that your energy/budget/mind allows. Maybe that's growing some pollinator friendly plants outside or choosing not to use bug killer this year. Making small changes with your purchasing power and choosing cleaning products with no harmful ingredients that leak into our drinking water, or making a grocery list and bulk shopping to cut down on multiple trips in the car.

Smaller steps will make it easier for you to transition to larger ones and over time you'll look up one day and all of a sudden ... you've become an environmentalist. 

Follow Olesya @olesyarulin