“Honestly there’s really nothing without a heart beat that I couldn’t live without.”
In this politically charged time in our nation’s history, many find it hard to stand back and see the blessings each and every American is simply born into. I’ll be the first to tell you that this country is far from perfect, and in recent years if feels as if we have lost much of what we once were. Yet if we are not able to see all that we still have, then one must ask themselves what we are fighting for in the first place. Today I had the immense pleasure of speaking with a very talented actress who reminded me exactly what it is that I am continuing to fight for.
Agnes Olech was born in Poland. Her family immigrated to the United States in the mid-nineties in search of all the dreams and opportunity this country promised. In true American fashion, with the world at her fingertips, she pursued her childhood dream of Hollywood. To say she was full of life, just brimming over with that “something,” that unquantifiable, indescribable “it” that pulls one toward a career in the limelight, would be an understatement. Icon vs. Icon recently called her an “actress on the rise” in Hollywood and proclaimed that she was “poised to become a breakout star in 2015.” She recently acted alongside Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch in HBO’s True Detective, as well as Workaholics, Reno 911, New Girl, Greek, Castle and many more.
Agnes had many insightful and interesting things to say that made it clear to me that she is so much more than just a beautiful face..
At what point did you realize that acting was your career path?
My senior year of high school, all of my friends were talking about where they wanted to go to college and I never even thought about that, it wasn’t even an option. I just wanted to move to L.A. and act. I really fell in love with our high school plays, I thought it was so fun, I really loved it. I really fell in love with performing, I get such a rush from it. I just really like making people laugh.
True detective was a quite a star riddled show, which of the lead actors left the strongest impression on you?
Everyone was so nice! It was kind of intimidating working with Vince Vaughn, he’s a big dude in general, he’s like 6′ 4″ or something. He’s really tall, even being in his presence is intimidating because I grew up watching his movies. He’s just amazing, I love watching him, so being like two feet away from him was just surreal. But I would have to say that the biggest impression was from Tyler Kitsch though, he was really easy to talk to, super down to earth. He wasn’t “actor-y” at all, very professional, just a funny, nice guy. He just made that experience really nice and memorable for me, very open and welcoming. If I ever find myself in that position I hope to make whoever is coming in as the new kid on the block feel the way he made me feel, really comfortable and down to earth on a human level.
I saw you recently did a photo shoot for MAXIM. That’s a pretty big step in the right direction, what was the most memorable part of that experience?
Where we were shooting it was like 100 degrees inside this brand-new brewery downtown but it didn’t have any A/C, it was just really hot! Like sweating hot. I was like, oh my God, are we going to be able to brush this after? I know it might sound like a hot-sweat-for-Maxim but it wasn’t, everything was sticky, my hair was sticky, my makeup was running, I worried that these pictures were going to look awful! But they ended up having a really cool edge to them, like a gritty feel so it kind of worked for us. It wasn’t a bad experience at all because I knew the photographer and I trusted him. At the end of the day we weren’t digging ditches, were doing a photo shoot, its child’s-play, it’s just fun.
What issues are you truly passionate about?
There’s a few things, but mostly animal rights, and I’m not just talking about cats and dogs, but especially factory-farming. I don’t see my dog and cat at home any different from the cow or pig getting slaughtered. There just has to be a more humane way of doing things. I don’t buy products that use animal testing. I really try to stay conscious of what I buy and make sure its cruelty-free. Animal testing is just unnecessary, it’s 2015. I feel it’s doing more harm than good. The problem is that there is just so much money behind it, with the big corporations, Big Pharma, and it goes with everything, it’s just all money driven.
What do you feel is the biggest animal rights issue of today?
I think the one thing that drives me crazy is the poaching and big game hunting. That’s just crazy to me that it’s still legal in some places and that it exists at all. I can’t believe that people go and kill these beautiful creatures, like that dentist in Africa. I’m not a bad person at all, but I feel like if I ever saw someone doing something like that, I feel like a part of me would be okay with, you know, an eye for an eye. It’s just ridiculous that people still get away with it, it’s a rich man’s sport. Why are you proud of killing a beautiful innocent creature like that, why is that cool? How did that become a sport? Why does someone get satisfaction from that? I just don’t understand. I mean I can’t even kill a spider in my apartment. I would love to put one of those guys in a lion’s habitat without a gun and let the lion hunt them. See what they do then!
Are you a Vegan?
It’s more about cruelty-free than vegan. I’m actually apiscatarian. I just stay away from dairy or anything like that. I do sometimes eat fish, and the occasional egg here and there, so I don’t know if there is an actual term for that, but when I do, they’re cage free and organic. I’m very conscious of that because I have seen too much, I know too much now, were destroying our planet with all the factory farming were doing.
What made you decide to give up meat?
I grew up eating meat, I didn’t start eating this way until I was in my mid twenties. I was a vegetarian at first, but then dairy just started to really repulse me. I just really feel that in 2015 we shouldn’t have to kill other creatures to survive. I just can’t get behind the fact that an animal got tortured for my palate, my taste buds are not worth another being getting slaughtered, and the more I find out, the idea of eating an “animal carcass” just really grosses me out, that’s the way I think of it now. Today I can go to the store and live off a plant-based diet. With all that we have available to us it is more than just possible.
What were your favorite movies growing up?
I loved comedies like Night at the Roxberry and Zoolander, but I am going to have to say, when I was little, but even up until now, it’s The Never Ending Story. It’s just so nostalgic, even if it’s on randomly i’ll still watch it today. I just love the fantasy world, becoming something else, I think that’s partly why I’m an actress. That movie is just so good! FALCOR!! (laughs, referencing a character in The Never Ending Story)
Whats your favorite tv show today?
I love Game of Thrones! I love that show, its fricking amazing, everything about that show is just fantastic; from the writing, the characters, the costumes, the locations, as I said before I love the fantasy world. HBO just has amazing content, they can show everything, it’s not like a show on PBS where they have to filter everything, they can go there!
Is there a particular actor/actress that you feel you try to emulate or that was your original inspiration?
I have so many that I love for different reasons. I love Anna Ferris for her comedic timing and her physical comedy. I feel like she really goes there and I really admire that. Elizabeth Banks is just hilarious, and I really love Kate Blanchett because she plays these incredible characters, like historical figures and she’s just so believable. I want to have her career.
What is the most important object you own?
This is such weird question (laughing) I’ve been asked this before. The first thing that crosses my mind is my animals, but I don’t really consider them an object, but there is really no object that if I lost it I would cry over. I love my mountain bike and my tennis shoes, those are awesome, those are things I use daily that are important parts of my life, but honestly there’s really nothing without a heart beat that I couldn’t live without.
Do you think the United States is the greatest country in the world?
Honestly I do, and here’s why.. We immigrated here from Poland when I was ten. My parents lived in Germany for five years and before that they lived in Poland for five years. Back then, in the late eighties, it was still a communist country, it was really hard for my parents because at that time you couldn’t leave Poland. They had to use rations to buy orange juice at a grocery store because there just wasn’t enough. Nothing was coming into the country and nothing was going out, it was really bad. The only reason we were able to eventually get out was because my dad had German citizenship. He wanted a better life for his family, so he took us all to Germany. In the late eighties, there was still a lot of… I don’t think that racism is the right word, but the Germans didn’t really care for the Polish at that time, especially the older generation. It’s not like that now, if you travel there today everything is completely different. I’m talking about like twenty years ago, there was just a lot of tension and my parents felt a lot of that. So eventually my dad visited my Uncle in Sacramento and he entered a lottery for green cards which are really hard to get, and he magically got all five of us in.
Since I’ve been on my own I’ve gotten to travel a lot. I lived in China for a little bit, and I’ve gone all over the world and every time I think to myself, ‘this a beautiful place, this is a magical place but thank God I live in America where I have so many rights, where I can speak my mind, especially as a woman.’ If tomorrow I wake up and want to open a business or go to school, I can do all these things, we have all these possibilities. Every time I come home I think to myself how happy I am to be here, I just love this country. I don’t know where I would be if I was still living in Poland, maybe working on a farm (laughing).
If you could change one thing about this country what would it be?
I would have said to legalize gay marriage, but now that it’s finally legal, I would have to say Factory-Farming. I think it is really destroying our heath and environment. Ninety percent of climate change is due to greenhouse gases. We have the highest obesity rate in the world. It’s all linked to how we eat and where our food comes from.
Below are questions submitted by our loyal Vagabond readers:
One reader asked if you would be the Vagabond model or maybe just marry him instead?
Seeing as how I am already taken… I’m going to have to go with option A (laughing).
You must get some overzealous fans from time to time, what has been the craziest incident you’ve dealt with and how did you handle it?
Oh My God, this is why I got rid of my Facebook page. This one guy found my personal page and emailed me about six months ago and basically propositioned me. He wanted to take care of me financially. He introduced himself and all, saying he wasn’t a creep and he admires my work, yada-yada yada, and I was like, ‘eww, weird, DELETE!’ I didn’t even think twice about it. So then recently I got another email from him, and it’s sort of the same intro, but this time he really went into detail and I just felt that this guy was doing a little too much research. Talking about enjoying my work is one thing, but don’t make it personal, that’s just weird. So I again, DELETE. Then a week after that I get another email saying, “Im not sure if you’re getting my emails, or if you’re just choosing to ignore me, but if you could just please let me know” and again basically saying that he wasn’t a creep and that he admires me and that he would love the opportunity to support me anyway he can. I was like, ‘are you f***ing kidding me?’ there are plenty of people out there that would love a sugar-daddy, but I felt this was just so weird and bizarre that someone would proposition me claiming they want nothing in return. I was like A – You’re lying, and B – You’re a f***ing creep. I ended up just writing the guy back telling him thank you but I am financially secure and that I am engaged, and I haven’t heard from him since. It just got to a really weird point. I mean how rude to think that you can just buy me! It’s just so creepy. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
One of our readers asked which of the Workaholics was your favorite?
I am going to have to say Adam. They were all super sweet and super nice, but he was just so funny. There were a few times during our takes where they would have to stop rolling and the director would be like, “Agnes, stop laughing.” I think the director was actually getting a little frustrated with me. He was just so hilarious, and every take that he did was so different. He would improv a little bit and do something funny and it would be hard to stay in my little Swedish character (speaking with a Swedish accent). He would say all these little one liners and I would just..(bust out laughing). There are some people who are just so on it and he’s one of them. He’s just always got something fresh.
Now this may be the most controversial question of the night.. One of our readers asked: Apple or Galaxy?
Apple of course, everything I have is apple.
We here at The Last American Vagabond have no doubt that we will be seeing more of this talented actress in the years to come. Thank you Agnes for the wildly entertaining conversation, and we all look forward to the Vagabond modeling shoot (we can only hope). AgnesOlech.com