Actress Shailene Woodley has been all over the media in recent days with stories of her deep green beliefs and survivalist lifestyle. The 23-year-old actress even gave up her cell phone, according to one report, due to a ‘lack of camaraderie and community’; Shailene studies survival skills in her spare time, including creating fires and shelters in the wilderness; she is very concerned about the environment and for years she had been studying American Indian survival techniques.
All of this has emerged, coincidentally, during pre-publicity for her lead role in sci-fi thriller “Divergent.” Much as we admire Shailene for her many talents, we do wonder how she will keep herself hairless during an emergency. Of course most of this nonsense was made up by her publicists and Shailene probably had nothing to do with it .
“Ardent environmentalist” Shailene had even offered interviewers a series of top tips to help her ride out a national emergency or even an apocalyptic event, and she’s convinced she could survive in the wild and in an urban setting longer than most.
The star of TV-series Descendants says, “I started studying indigenous cultures a few years ago and I was really inspired by their lifestyles and the way that they lived. Part of that was knowing how to survive in the wild and knowing how to heal yourself with the plants that grow around you. That’s how I became interested in wilderness skills.
“I studied herbalism and edible plants that exist in the wild. Then I realised, ‘Cool, I know how to make fire out of sticks and I know how to build a shelter, but I live 90 per cent of my life in an urban environment, so these skills aren’t gonna help me. There aren’t trees that grow in Los Angeles that I could take a branch and make fire out of’.
“So I started learning urban survival skills. During Hurricane Sandy I had a friend living in New York, who, for a week, freaked out because they didn’t have any water. They were standing in line for hours just to get a bottle of water.
“That’s terrifying, especially right now with the drought in California; there are so many resources that we’re depleting so quickly, so I thought it would be an interesting skill set if something were to go down. It’s not post-apocalyptic idealism, but more of a fun hobby, what would I do if A, B or C were to happen?”
With the PR activity on the $85 million “Divergent” reaching a fever pitch, it looks like Woodley has been deployed to reach a whole new audience. The sci-fi film is trying to widen its appeal beyond the same fans who flocked to “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games.”
“A lot of who Tris is resonated with me because I felt like, when I was her age, I was sort of going through [the same] struggles,” says ultimate hippie chick Woodley, 22, who spent five seasons starring on TV’s “The Secret Life of The American Teenager.”
“I was raised by two psychologist parents who are the most beautiful, selfless people I’ve ever met. And so compassion and empathy were two things that, as a young child, were ingrained into my system, which is such a lovely gift, because I feel like those are two lessons that often don’t get learned until later on in life.
“As a teenager, my struggle was how do I balance being empathetic and being compassionate towards my peers with living my life for myself and not basing my decisions on those around me?”
A native of Simi Valley, Calif., Woodley had already been acting on TV for more than a decade when she made her film debut opposite George Clooney in “The Descendents.”
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