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Kim Kardashian

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Olivia Wilde Pt. 3

Olivia_Wilde_Mischa_Bartoncropped

Olivia Wilde
By E.C. Gladstone

Back in DC, Olivia also developed her own anti-authoritarian “Ferris Bueller mentality,” as she puts it–taking the train to New York (where she got a tattoo on her rear end at 13) or Philadelphia (where she played drums on South Street with musician friends at 14) without notice.

“My parents were angry,” she says (Olivia had sold her sister’s clothes to finance the latter trip), “but part of them was a little proud that I had the wits about me.” For the record, she would be grounded months at a time.

Though Olivia doesn’t argue the fact that her looks now are the stuff supermodels are made of (5’8” tall, no more than a size 2 I’d guess, cheekbones that could cut glass, eyes like frickin’ laser beams), she insists she was a late bloomer, and anything but waif-like in her teen years. Still, from her freshman year at the storied Phillips Academy Andover boarding school, where her parents had sent her with the “sense that I could use a little structure,” she was getting the leads in school plays.

“They did try to kick me out about four times” but insists “I didn’t do anything cool. [Andover] had a lot of rules, and I had grown up with parents who gave me a lot of independence.” It was during a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” that Olivia decided to follow her family’s “history of pen names” and change Cockburn for Wilde (in homage to Oscar, naturally).

Back in Ireland, she studied acting at Dublin’s Gaiety theatre, where director Patrick Sutton advised her to defer Bard College and go straight to Hollywood. Consequently, her mom’s college roommate, producer Sarah Pillsbury (And The Band Played On), arranged an internship with noted casting director Mali Finn–all of them possibly thinking the experience would get it out of her system. It didn’t.

“Working behind the scenes was great because I found out about the entire process,” she says. “I have a lot of respect for casting directors now, for extras and people playing small roles.” Her first part, a walk-on in The Girl Next Door, came directly from working with Finn, which then led to The O.C. and subsequently ‘Turistas’ (for which she dyed her naturally blond hair brunette, finding that the change suited her), Alpha Dog (in which she has her first, rather unglamorous, nude scene), etc.

But she found fortune in her personal life even more quickly, becoming engaged to 27-year-old Italian musician/filmmaker Tao Ruspoli a mere two months after they met at an LA dinner party. Ruspoli’s family background is at least as fascinating; his father, an infamous European socialite, descended from the legendary “Black aristocracy” ruling class of Italy. The family owns two castles and central Rome’s noted Palazzo Ruspoli.

“I was a very old 18-year-old,” Wilde insists, crediting their three-year marriage (which was kept secret for the first three months) as a source of strength. “I feel really liberated by it, which a lot of people don’t understand. The whole department of thinking people are only talking to you to sleep with you gets shut down.”

Though they’re currently staying at the Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment of her sister, the couple also share a home in LA’s Venice with their dog Paco, a lab/shepherd/terrier mutt who incidentally won Old Navy’s 2006 mascot contest, almost by accident (Wilde says the prize money was mostly donated to animal rescues, and a bit pampering Paco). They also have “matching” vintage cars—her ’58 Chevy Biscayne and his ’59 Ford Thunderbird. After Wilde came this close to being a Bond Girl before losing the Casino Royale role to Eva Green, the couple used the time to do charity work together for Doctors Without Borders and Iraq Vets Against The War.

Cherishing her privacy, Wilde is happy that her personal life is probably considered too boring to interest the tabloids. “Until they think I’m having some lurid affair.”

Well, I think, as she offers a hug goodbye, if anyone around here had a camera…

–FF–

Copyright 2006 ECG

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