LARISA OLEYNIK Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » larisa oleynik


Name: Larisa Oleynik                                                                                 
Born: 7 June 1981 Santa Clara County, California                                                     
Larisa Romanovna Oleynik (born June 7, 1981) is an American actress. She came to                     
fame in the mid 1990s, after starring in the title role of the popular                               
television series, The Secret World of Alex Mack, and has also appeared in                           
theatrical films, including The Baby-Sitters Club & 1999's 10 Things I Hate                           
about You. Throughout the 2000s, she has mostly appeared in lower-budget films.                       
During her period as a teen idol, Oleynik was described as "one of America's                         
favorite 15-year-olds" and "the proverbial girl next door".                                           
Oleynik (pronounced oh-LAY-nick) was born in Santa Clara County, California, the                     
only child of Lorraine (née Allen), a former nurse, and Roman Oleynik, an                           
anesthesiologist. Her father's family is Russian (although "Oleynik" is a                             
Ukrainian surname) and she was raised in the Russian Orthodox religion.                               
She has cited No Doubt as her favorite band and used to play the piano.                               
Oleynik grew up in the San Francisco area and began acting in a regional                             
production of Les Misérables, after seeing an audition ad in a newspaper when                       
she was eight years old. After appearing in the musical, she contacted an agent                       
and began taking acting lessons. Oleynik attended Pinewood School and later                           
Sarah Lawrence College, describing the latter as "the best decision I’ve made",                     
and graduated in 2004.                                                                               
Oleynik began her screen acting career in a 1993 episode of the television                           
series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; the same year, she also appeared in the made-for-television         
film, River of Rage: The Taking of Maggie Keene, and was subsequently cast in                         
the lead role of the series The Secret World of Alex Mack, playing a teenage                         
girl who receives telekinetic powers as a result of an accident. The series ran                       
on Nickelodeon from 1994 to 1998, and was one of the network's top three most                         
watched shows, becoming a favorite among teen audiences and turning Oleynik                           
into a teen idol. During the show's run, she played one of the lead                                   
characters in the 1995 feature film, The Baby-Sitters Club (opposite Rachael                         
Leigh Cook and Schuyler Fisk), appeared in several episodes of Boy Meets World,                       
wrote an advice column for Tiger Beat magazine, and was involved in                                   
Nickelodeon's Big Help charity, Hands Across Communication, Surfrider Foundation                     
and the Starlight Foundation. She has commented that she stayed "grounded"                           
during her period as a teen star, mainly through the help of a "strong network                       
of people" that she is close to.                                                                     
After The Secret World of Alex Mack ended its run, Oleynik had a starring role                       
in the film 10 Things I Hate About You, a teen comedy also starring Julia Stiles,                     
Andrew Keegan, Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film was released in                       
April 1999 and did fairly well at the box office, grossing a total of $38                             
million domestically. In 1999-2000, Oleynik appeared in fourteen episodes of                         
the NBC series 3rd Rock from the Sun (alongside Gordon-Levitt). The same year,                       
she appeared in two independent films: 100 Girls (opposite Emmanuelle Chriqui,                       
Katherine Heigl and Jonathan Tucker) and A Time for Dancing (opposite Shiri                           
Appleby); neither film received a theatrical release in the United States. She                       
has appeared in Malcolm in the Middle as Reese's lesbian army buddy who                               
developed a crush on his mom, Lois. Next, Oleynik had a supporting role in the                       
film An American Rhapsody, which received a limited release in August 2001, and                       
appeared in Bringing Rain, a low-budget film. Oleynik was cast in a supporting                       
role in the series Pepper Dennis, which began airing on The WB in April 2006,                         
but was not picked up by The WB's successor, The CW.