SPOTLIGHT: Olesya Rulin!
We got the chance to catch up with the super-talented Olesya Rulin! Of course, you all know her as Kelsi Nielsen in High School Musical. Find out what she has to say about saving the planets and saving pets!
What was your favorite part of filming High School Musical?
My favorite part of filming HSM was getting the opportunity to work with great people, our wonderful choreographers Bonnie and Chucky, and also Kenny Ortega. It is with this movie that I got to express myself and learn to dance in a creative way.
Are you like your character Kelsi Nielsen in HSM?
I was a little like Kelsi in high school because I was shy. I also had a diverse crowd of friends and was able to navigate through out the groups. I am a little more outgoing then Kelsi and I love doing crazy spontaneous things.
I hear that you're a trained ballet dancer. Do you still practice ballet?
I danced ballet for years and still take adult classes in Santa Monica. It's a great work out and I love having the strength in my legs when I go on point.
You were born in Russia, so do you go back there often to visit friends or family? When did you come to the U.S.? What do you miss most about Russia?
I do go back to Russia frequently about twice a year. I hate the flight but it’s worth it. My parents have a home in a little village of 12 houses. It's not on any map so unless you know it’s there you wont find it. Nothing works there; no Internet no cell phone and the land line only works sometimes. It’s great! I get to escape reality for a couple of weeks and return to the "real" world grounded and refreshed.
I came to the Unites States with my mother and older brother when I was seven years old. I turned eight in the US. It was a huge culture shock and becoming "Americanized" was a process I will never forget. We had a lot of good and bad times as a family but bonded closer through them. My whole family other than my father mother and brother still live in Russia and it can be difficult because I miss them all.
The thing I miss about Russia the most is what is called "black bread" its rye bread and everyone eats it. I slice mine up and put sunflower oil and salt on it.... the best thing ever. It was like a little treat for me when I was a kid.
Where is the weirdest place that a fan has recognized you?
In an airport bathroom when I was coming out of a stall she was right there inches from my door. It was funny and weird cause I couldn't get past her.
You've worked on both T.V. and movie sets. What do you like and not like about each? How are they different?
They are both so different. I feel like movies are more like a family and you get really connected with your personal character. You also have more creative freedom in the sense that once a movie is written then the actor has the ability to create quirks for that character and reasons for their behavior while on TV shows the scripts change week to week. The two are great opportunities to grow and learn and that's what I'm trying to do.
What was it like to work with Jessica Simpson on the set of Major Movie Star?
I had such an amazing time filming Major Movie Star. I loved everyone in the cast they all brought their own spirit to the film and I hope that is what will be seen on screen. Jessica is by far one of the most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Not only is her work ethic strong, but so is her sense of humor and drive. I'm really happy I had the chance to work with her.
I hear your nickname is "conservation girl." Why are you so passionate about this issue? What are some everyday things that people can do to conserve?
I have a lot of nicknames. That one in particular came up after I hosted the Disneymania! Concerts for Conservation Tour this summer. I've always been involved with nature from an early age. I think when people feel that the world is too large to damage yet thanks to humanity and globalization the planet is actually very small. I hope that future generations can reduce their effects on our home and not repeat the mistakes our parents and their parents made. We simply can't afford to. One simple thing that everyone can do is not litter. It's as simple as throwing your trash away in the proper place and not outside where it gets into habitats of not only animals but people too. We all have seen the trash on the beach, by the road and in parking lots. It’s disgusting. The obvious things, like recycling your plastic bottles and paper. We can all save thousands of trees, stop the building of new plastic factories, and save energy, not to mention reduce the amount of chemicals in the air and water from those factories. The most important thing is to be aware of the damage that one person can make and take action no matter what. At least you're putting an effort in change and progress.
You're also an advocate for animals and a "foster parent" for dogs. What inspired you to take this on?
I love animals and I love dogs. I think they are the best companions. They can't lie and cheat you out of anything and no matter how bad you look, smell or feel they are always ready to give you love. In some ways they are like children always wanting love and attention. That's why they tend to capture my heart. I've fostered five dogs for the Best Friends Program, which is an amazing no-kill sanctuary for animals as well as a greyhound named Natasha from the grey hound rescue. All of my fosters have taught me great lessons like patience, nurture, and responsibility. My last foster dog was a Cocker Spaniel and I couldn't let him go I adopted him!
BLOG ABOUT IT! What is your favorite scene featuring Olesya in High School Musical? How do YOU plan to do your part to save the planet? Have you ever adopted a pet? Talk about it below!