My Un/healthy Obsession with Olivia Wilde (and Celebrity Role Models)


I think I have been growing an unhealthy obsession with Olivia Wilde.

But, if I may shamelessly defend myself, was it ever bad to take on too many role models?

People can inspire you. Individuals can empower you. And when you are able to pick out a good person from a bad and surround yourself with positive thoughts, ideas and individuals, it can actually prove to be a worthy investment of your time (and strained eyeballs via the Internet).

I like to say that I am in a period of absorption. As a young, hopeful 20-something year-old girl/woman-child, I am and always have been curious about the world. From a young age, I was always excited to learn new things, experience new adventures and find individuals I could connect with.

When we are young and in our most formative years, we all want somebody to look up to. We want someone to kind of “show us the ropes” on how to be and deal with this little thing called life.

Olivia Wilde. "Third Person" Press Conference, TIFF.

Olivia Wilde. “Third Person” Press Conference, TIFF.

When it comes to having role models, it is almost like choosing friends. You ultimately become the people and ideas you surround yourself with. We can be fed so many disgusting and debilitating ideas by the media and can get caught up in this dreamland that prevents us from actually doing. So, having a keen sense of character is the first step; the next is in being smart about it. It is important to have a sure sense of yourself in order to find what is really good for you. (Learn how to not be defined by another person.)

I have had my fair share of young years being so consumed by the media that I was almost like a chameleon, taking on too many identities. I wanted to grow up to be like a certain musician; I wanted to dress like them; I wanted to have that sense of ease and grace just like that movie star. I was trying so much to be like someone else that I never took the time to embrace and cultivate the strengths and gifts I had of my own.

After years of growing up and coming to accept my “chameleon-like” behavior in my later years, I realized it became suffocating to live in other people’s shadows. I looked up to so many individuals but, as a naturally creative person (I yearn for expression; I can’t put my mind to anything I can’t relate or find interest in), I wanted to create my own statement. I wanted my thoughts, ideas and feelings to be made into something tangible that others could feel, read, listen to or connect with.

I had realized that it was my innate ability to empathize and feel for people that led me to become interested in individuals in the first place. I loved connecting like-minds and discovering people’s stories under their surface (which I can only assume allowed for the “journalist” in me to naturally love connecting with people).

And this is when I found that one of the most beautiful discoveries you can make in life is that everyone is built on love. When you are able to empathize with people and the world, you open yourself up to love.

So, before being “inspired” by someone, ask yourself: Is that idea really enriching to my mind? Do I really want to live out this lifestyle? Does this make me feel good?

Now, I love Olivia Wilde; she is a smart woman who grew up in a privileged home to accomplished journalists who hosted star-studded parties in her youth. She grew up seeing no value in stardom but in the value of her intelligence. A social activist, feminist, humanitarian and actress whose confidence lights up the room, she has a sweet vulnerability when it comes to young love (she first married at 19) and a smart understanding of her image (she was aware of the “mold” she fit in for Hollywood). She is a woman in Hollywood who proves to be more than many give her credit for. And, she’s got a killer sense of humor (and maddening good looks).

I’ve compiled a list of some of my most favorite and memorable moments from Olivia. Most are quotes from interviews but, her openness and rather tangential banter is quite entertaining and enlightening. Here, she shares her wisdom on love, career, philanthropy and beer; and you will also realize how much you love her too:

“[My first show] was the worst thing you’ve ever seen in your life. I learned on the job, which was a gift. All actors should experience public failure.”  – Marie Claire, April 2013

“I went through this kind of A Star is Born transformation [in my early years], where they made my hair very blonde, and I got very skinny, and I was like, ‘And now, I fit the mold!’ If I could tell young actresses anything, it would be to just be yourself through and through. I mean, really be hard-core about sticking to your identity, because what makes you unusual is what’s going to assure your success.” – Allure, October 2011

“The mark of a good marriage is partnership and continuing to feel inspired by your spouse. I had that with Tao [Ruspoli]. But the end is not necessarily the tragedy. Staying in a relationship that is no longer working is the tragedy. Living unhappily—that’s the tragedy.” – Glamour, June 2011

Olivia Wilde on set of "House M.D."

Olivia Wilde on set of “House M.D.”

On young marriage: “Everyone said it to me—and I had to figure it out for myself—but you change so much. I’ve learned that it’s important to spend some time in a relationship with yourself and not being defined by your partner.” – Glamour, June 2011

“My passion is getting younger generations to participate [in philanthropy]–which is selfish, in a way, because giving is the path to happiness. … If we can make giving cool, can make volunteering cool, we can start some kind of revolution.” – Marie Claire, August 2011

“[My mother’s] gorgeous, and she taught me that a real feminist doesn’t apologize for her beauty. You can be a sexy, beautiful woman and be the smartest person in the room.” – Glamour, June 2011

“It was so fascinating to be a part of [the live reads at LACMA] because, as the women took on these central roles–they had all the good lines, they had all the good laughs, all the great moments–the men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren’t used to being the supporting cast. It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterward, when they said, ‘It’s boring to play the girl role!’ And I said, ‘Yeah. Yeah. You think? Welcome to our world!'” – State of Female Justice Panel, February 2014

“I think that if we can harness the positive power of technology for those things–for education, for the development of technology for energy and stopping our destruction of the planet–then it will be a great thing. But the message of [Tron] is we have to step back and consider what we have created and how we can use it for good.” – HeyUGuys Interview, October 2010

“[Hardship] makes you a more empathetic person, and I think it’s made me a better actress. Weakness is something we don’t like to admit we have. We hold it against people, until we experience it, and then we feel more compassion for it.” – Marie Claire, August 2011

Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde in "Drinking Buddies," Magnolia Pictures.

Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde in “Drinking Buddies,” Magnolia Pictures.

“When I kiss a girl for a part, people think it’s sexy. But if two guys kiss, suddenly there’s a backlash. It’s a double standard. Honestly, I think we’re all bisexual in some way.” – Women’s Health, November 2008

On her favorite movie she has done so far: “Drinking Buddies for sure. No bullshit.” – Ask Me Anything on Reddit, August 2013

On her alcoholic beverage(s) of choice: “Beer, dude. Beer.” – Ask Me Anything on Reddit, August 2013

On her favorite craft beer: “Daisy Cutter from 3 Floyd’s brewery in Indiana [later corrected as Half Acre (Chicago) beer].” – Ask Me Anything on Reddit, August 2013

On how being a famous actress changed who she is: “I feel very lucky. But I hate that I’m less trusting and walk with my head down. That’s not my natural way.” – Ask Me Anything on Reddit, August 2013

On what she looks for in a man: “Just someone who’s smart, funny, interesting, curious, and not afraid of being with a powerful woman.” – Marie Claire, August 2011

“In the end, maybe it’s just that I’m a ridiculous romantic. I have very high standards for every part of my life–my work, my relationships, food, love. I can’t just pretend.” – Marie Claire, August 2011

“I’m trying to be adult, entering the shark pool of dating, but I’m hopeless at it. I think of myself as being very cool and independent and not jealous, but I like clarity. I ask a lot of questions. A guy recently said to me, ‘Maybe it’s because you were raised by journalists!'” – Marie Claire, August 2011

Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis, "We're The Millers" Premiere, NYC, August 2013.

Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis, “We’re The Millers” Premiere, NYC, August 2013.

On the thing she values most in a relationship: “It is so clichéd, but communication, that both of us should never stop talking. Trust. Jason [Sudeikis] has a very trusting way. There is no other way to go through life. … All good experiences have come from trusting the universe. There is no other way to live or love. Otherwise, you create your own prison.” – Marie Claire, April 2013

“The confidence that comes with doing well only makes you more desirable.” – Women’s Health, December 2010

On the meaning behind her tattoo on her forearm: “It’s in honor of my late uncle Alexander Cockburn. He was a dear dear friend. The tattoo is the last phrase he wrote to me. All love, A. It reminds me to love everyone, just as he did.” – Ask Me Anything on Reddit, August 2013

On one thing that would surprise people: “I’m shy. In fact, I was at a party last night and I was just sitting there praying that no one would come over and talk to me.” – Women’s Health, November 2008

On her favorite line she’s ever said in anything: “‘I’m sweatin my balls off in here’ – Drinking Buddies” – Ask Me Anything on Reddit, August 2013

On if she “would be willing to have a battle to the death with Emma Watson for the title of most obsessed over girl on Reddit”: “I would never kill Emma but maybe we should join forces and take over the universe.” – Ask Me Anything on Reddit, August 2013

On how someone can be as comfortable with their body as she is: “Accept it and love it and thank it every day for carrying your big head around. (I have a huge head).” – Ask Me Anything on Reddit, August 2013

“I was a very imaginative kid, and it was very therapeutic for me to play characters. … From an early age, it was like a drug for me to be able to plug into an imaginary reality and act it out. I was lucky to be in a family with parents who encouraged me to be creative and embrace what made me different. I was taken seriously, and I think that made a huge difference.” – Marie Claire, August 2011

“Wilde ‘has always known who she is and what she wants, which anyone who meets her gets right away… She’s a really keen judge of character and has only ever surrounded herself with worthwhile people.'” – Megalyn Echikunwoke, best friend and actress who met Wilde in her early days in L.A., Marie Claire, April 2013

Love yourself, date yourself, respect yourself and know yourself. But, above all, empower yourself.

I believe that there is so much love we can give and feel in the world that we don’t realize that there is power in our existence. We should make meaning of it (and not get obsessed over trying to be people we just simply aren’t). It’s always good to empower and set examples for yourself from individuals who inspire you but, in the end, you are you. Make yourself happen. Be someone else’s role model.

Olivia Wilde in "Drinking Buddies," Magnolia Pictures.

Olivia Wilde in “Drinking Buddies,” Magnolia Pictures.



2 responses to “My Un/healthy Obsession with Olivia Wilde (and Celebrity Role Models)

  1. Pingback: The Power of Women and “Shine Theory” | beauty within·

  2. Pingback: ‘Booksmart’ Film Review: A Goddamn Funny and Revolutionary Female-Fronted Comedy from Olivia Wilde | beauty within·

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