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An Interview With Alysia Reiner

alysia-reiner-attends-the-filth-screening-hosted-by-magnolia-pictures-and-the-cinema-society-at-landmark-sunshine-cinema-on-may-19-2014-in-new-york-cityEarlier this year, we launched an interview series in celebration of Under the Canopy's 20th birthday and our unwavering commitment to sustainability. Our founder, Marci Zaroff, has spoken with a variety of industry leaders and lifestyle gurus who provide valuable insight and inspiration about sustainable living. Recently, Marci spoke with her good friend, Alysia Reiner, an actress, producer, and activist, about her commitment to our environment.

Alysia Reiner, best known for her role as Natalie Figueroa in "Orange is the New Black," also plays Sunny in the new TV show "Better Things" and she plays Anita in Louis CK's show "Masters of Sex." Most recently, she starred in and produced her own film called "Equity," which is the first female-driven movie about Wall Street. The film was met with rave reviews at Sundance, where it was bought by Sony Pictures Classics, and it is now in theaters worldwide. On top of her impressive acting experience, Alysia is a committed environmentalist. The conversation she and Marci had is below. We hope you find her insight as inspiring as we do!

Marci: Why is empowerment and highlighting women important to you, and how does that play a role in your work and your life?

Alysia: I can’t imagine not wanting to empower women. I love my sisterhood so much; I love being a mother so much; and I want my daughter to feel like she can do anything. Marcia: Amen. And how did you… Alicia: My daughter just yelled, ‘I do feel like I can do anything!’ Marci: Absolutely, our daughters are forces to be reckoned with!  

Marci: How did you become interested in sustainability? How did that path start?

Alysia: I really don’t remember not being interested. I believe it may have been ‘Earth Day’ when I was in high school that I became aware of some of the statistics of our world, which I think are really important. There are organizations like our friend Erin Schrode's "Turning Green" that help not only educate people young people about the environment but also empower them to make change.  

Marci: What are some of the ways that you started to live more sustainably? What are things you’ve done, such as your home?

  [caption id="attachment_9195" align="alignleft" width="225"]screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-4-15-26-pm Alysia and Marci with some of Under the Canopy's original products.[/caption] Alysia: I started with food and being aware of the food in my life - going organic and buying food with fewer additives and preservatives and chemicals. Then I looked at my home. Under the Canopy was the fast and easiest choice for how to keep as many chemicals out of my home as possible. I ask myself, "How can I make choices that are best both for my family's environment but also for the world’s environment?" And then I started looking at things like my beauty products to make sure there were no chemicals in them and that whoever was making them was making them in a sustainable way. The last thing I’ve come to look at is clothing. I think it’s the hardest because for so long there has been so little choice in fashion and there is a perception that everything will be hemp. Now there’s beginning to be so many more choices for beautiful, sustainable, environmentally friendly fabrics and cradle to cradle processing with true style.   Marci: Yeah, no compromise and I think we finally have hit that beginning of that tipping point. Hopefully style and substance are only going to get more accessible from here.  
In each of our interviews, we've asked the interviewee to answer a few questions from the Proust Questionnaire. Here are Alysia's responses:   What is your favorite virtue? My favorite virtue, oh my goodness... forgiveness. What do you appreciate the most in your friends? Encouragement. What is your favorite occupation? Other than my own? Teaching. What is your idea of happiness? This moment, right now. What is your idea of misery? Worry. What is your greatest extravagance? Spas. What do you consider your greatest achievement? My daughter. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be? Oh my, my, my. If I were to come back as a person or a thing it would be a shell in the ocean like a big conch shell that is there for hundreds of years and gets to dance in the waves and bring lots of people pleasure with its internal beauty and the sound of the waves. Who are your favorite heroes or heroines in real life? In real life my favorite heroines and heroes are Oprah, Deepak Chopra and my husband. What is your favorite motto? One is my father’s motto I put it on his gravestone which is "Make a difference. Have fun." and the other is Ghandi’s... "Be the change you want to see in the world."

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