[INTERVIEW] Olivia is Wilde About the 99% Spring, Are You?!

Photo: (Getty Images)

What are you doing this weekend? Hittin’ up Coachella or Caine’s Arcade (westsiiiiide) or seeing “Hunger Games” just one more time (everysiiiiiide)? Well, Olivia Wilde — the smart and sassy “House” actress and Revlon Global Brand Ambassador — needs YOU to do some spring cleaning. Noooo, not the kind that requires a broom (or an industrial power washer). She’s talking about dustin’ off your protest skills and gettin’ involved with The 99% Spring!

Electronica legend Moby and superstar street artist Shepard Fairey already gave y’all the deets about this seasonal call for communal action but in case your brain is fried from endless hours of Draw Something, Olivia — along with her proactor pals Penn Badgley and Zoe Kravitz – is ready to remind y’all why it’s hella important to hop on a 99% Spring Training sesh:

Are you pissed about your job prospects? Freakin’ over your future? Well, you heard ‘em — this is YOUR time to make your voice heard. Don’t just get punk’d by politicians. The joke’s only on you if you don’t take a stand. And you have ONE WEEKEND left to turn that American Dream #FAIL into a #FTW (trainings end on Sunday, April 15th)!

And sure, as a hot Hollywood starlet, she’s not dealing with the same bummer jams that seem to be on repeat for all of us living the 99% soundtrack — but Olivia is not just mouthing off either. She’s got a real deal background of giving a s*** and gettin’ involved — that’s why we called her out as one of the top 5 celebs to watch in this crazy important election year.

Plus, she gets that tired old rallying cries just won’t cut it with savvy Millennials anymore: “To young people I would say that votes definitely matter, but they only have an affect in the aggregate. One person voting one time will not affect much.  But a large group of people who are politically aware and consistently voting on interests they care about will absolutely capture the attention of elected officials (check out the AARP if you don’t believe me). So the shout out isn’t really just to ‘go vote,’ it’s to ‘go get together with your friends and talk about things you care about and work as a group to use your political and social power to make that happen.’”

We got more #realtalk from the wonderful Miss Wilde on why Obama mania didn’t last and what’s comin’ up for her activist crew, so read up and then GET UP for the 99% Spring!

MTV Act: Why did you decide to get involved with The 99% Spring? Are you going to attend a training?

Olivia Wilde: Over the past six months, I have been so excited to witness so many people come alive to their own potential as change-makers in the world, engaging with really difficult problems from a place of empowered participation. As I understand it, the 99% Spring training is trying to bring that experience to as many people as possible by offering people a set of tools that people can use to build organizing power to affect the issues that they are dealing with.  In my work in Haiti I’ve seen the hugely positive effects that happen when people come together to build something in the middle of the most desperate situations. So any effort to bring people together and offer a framework for collaborative action is one I want to get behind.

I won’t be able to attend a spring training this week but I want to see what happens next with this project and plug in where I can.

I’ve spoken to a lot of young people and there seems to be this overwhelming sense of disillusionment in the aftermath of the hope and change mania that swept the nation back in ’08.  Do you think young people will engage in the 2012 election? 

In 2008 Obama built a phenomenal political organizing machine. He gave millions of people a clear way to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to have a stake in their futures. Unfortunately, because the whole point of that organizing effort was to get one man elected, after he came into office that energy dissipated rather than continuing to build. People then sat and waited for him to deliver on 100% of their hopes and dreams, which as a human being he obviously did not do (though he’s done a lot of great things).

In 2012, I see the potential for people to come together huge moments of political and social engagement where elections are part of the strategy for change, but not the end goal and not the only thing that matters. Part of what’s happening now is an internal transformation for many people, where they are becoming the kind of people who create change in the world by building communities and actions with others. I think anyone who comes close to that kind of spirit can’t help but be affected by it. It’s powerful stuff.

This PSA joins you up with Penn Badgley and Zoe Kravitz again — y’all were hanging out an OWS salon that the couple hosted last year. What’s it like working with those two on activist efforts like this? What is this crew’s plan of action for the big election year?

Yeah well the funny thing about that is that my sister Chloe was the one who brought us together for that shoot. She has been working with Penn and Zoe on a project called the Awareness Experiment which was inspired by OWS but is not part of the movement. They’re doing their own thing, trying to bring together a community of creative people in New York City who would not otherwise engage around these issues of social change and get them really talking. They’ve thrown a few events at the Bowery Hotel and I was at the first. I think for 2012 they are just going to try to keep building awareness — I know they are doing a gathering for May Day in Central Park, and they have smaller events like film screenings and music events. I’m looking forward to going to another of their events!

We named you one of the top 5 celebs to watch in the election year as you were such an awesome presence in the ’08 election — will you be getting involved again to push youth voter registration? 

I would love to help in whatever ways I can, with voter registration and ideally with helping to get young people together to figure out what they care about and how to make those things happen in the world. People think that young people don’t care about things but I think they do care, they just aren’t super interested in conforming to what older people think are the right way to do things.