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Larisa Oleynik (1981)

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Larisa Romanovna Oleynik 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 and 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".


 personal life
Oleynik was born in Santa Clara County, California. Her mother, Lorraine (née Allen), is a former nurse, and her father, Roman Oleynik, is an anesthesiologist. Her father's family is Ukrainian and she was raised in the Russian Orthodox religion. Oleynik grew up in the San Francisco Bay 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. But despite the success in her role as Alex Mack, Oleynik decided to attend college. 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 at age 12, 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 the 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. Oleynik reprised the role in an All That sketch, although the name was changed to "Alex Sax." Oleynik later appeared in the 100th episode of All That.

She made a cameo on The Adventures of Pete & Pete during this time, being a nurse at the beginning of the episode Dance Fever. Also, during The Secret World of Alex Mack's run, she played one of the lead characters in the 1995 feature film The Baby-Sitters Club , 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 where she played a love interest of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character. (She also played the girlfriend of Gordon-Levitt's character in 3rd Rock From the Sun.)

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 twenty one episodes of the NBC series 3rd Rock from the Sun (alongside Gordon-Levitt). The same year, she appeared in two independent films: 100 Girls and A Time for Dancing ; 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. In March 2008, Oleynik guest-starred in episode 13 of Aliens in America.

In March 2011, Oleynik started appearing in a recurring role on Hawaii Five-0 as CIA analyst Jenna Kaye. Her character is later killed off.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Larisa Oleynik", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.