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INTERVIEW: Sarah Wright Olsen chats home birth, co-sleeping and Walk of Shame

Actress Sarah Wright Olsen holds her own during improv with Elizabeth Banks, sings Bette Midler with James Marsden and gave birth to a nearly 10lb baby naturally… at home. Could this chick be any cooler? The star fills us in on her new movie and more.

Sarah Wright Olsen

You may recognize Sarah Wright Olsen as Jane from 7th Heaven. Or, perhaps, you know her as Millicent from Parks and Recreation, or Laura from Mixology. We, well, we know her as funny. And after you watch her new movie, Walk of Shame, that’s how you’ll know her, too.

When we sat down with the sweet star, she told us she knew she wanted the project from the moment the script first landed in her hands.

“I was very stoked on the script,” she told us. “I love Elizabeth Banks. And, yeah, I felt like the character was really fun and I could sort of say really inappropriate things — basically anything I wanted — and I really wanted to do that,” she laughed.

So did Banks, whom she describes as “very nice, very chill, very down-to-earth,” give the burgeoning Olsen any indispensable career advice?

Well, not exactly.

Banks, it would seem, is a “total cut-up”. But that’s not to say Olsen didn’t learn a lot from working alongside her veteran co-star. “The director was great about letting us sort of improv and throw in our own stuff, and she was amazing at that, and so it was so fun to play off of her riffs.”

Olsen also had the pleasure of sharing scenes with X-Men hunk James Marsden. And, according to Olsen, he’s got a secret passion. “James is very sweet and a really great guy… and loves to sing Bette Midler with me at the top of his lungs,” she giggled.

As a matter of fact, she shared her favorite scene in the movie with Marsden. “I really loved doing ‘the douche test’ with James,” she explained. “It was so much fun, because he and I had talked about it before and we sort of came up with a whole bunch of different things to use, so there were probably like 15 different takes of a bunch of different douche questions that were in there that aren’t in the movie.”

Naturally, we had to know what qualifies as a douche for Olsen.

“I’m not a huge fan of cut-off sleeves and giant muscles and, like, the weird spiky hair and oiled up, and a guy that’s coming in, like, really hard trying to hit on you,” she offered. “To me, that’s super-douchey, but everybody has their own version.”

Happily, Olsen doesn’t have to worry about such things. She assures us her husband, fellow actor Eric Christian Olsen, is “not douchey at all”. Although she admits when the couple first met it wasn’t exactly love at first sight — they didn’t like each other at all, actually.

“It was really cool at the first table read when he heard me do the part,” she revealed of the turning point. “He loved it and he was laughing so hard, and I remember calling my mom and being like, ‘That guy that I was telling you about that I didn’t think likes me, he was really nice and he was laughing at my stuff!'”

Eight years later, they’re enjoying an “amazing” marriage and a precious 8-month-old son, Wyatt.

When Olsen tells us she went back to work a mere four weeks after having Wyatt, we ask if she felt pressure to fit a certain mold or bounce back quickly. “Not really about that, because they put me in a really loose dress and I was sort of like, ‘Whatever, I just had a baby… if I have a pooch that shows, I have a pooch that shows”.

Fortunately, losing the weight wasn’t much of an issue for Olsen, who walked five miles every day the last four months of her pregnancy. Staying fit was less about being a certain weight, she says, than it was about being physically ready for childbirth and being a new mom.

And we imagine that physical readiness came in handy when Olsen gave birth. At home. With no pain meds or epidural. Um, did we mention Wyatt was a whopping 9 pounds 8 ounces at birth?

“I didn’t necessarily start off thinking I’m going to do a home birth, but once I started doing some research I read books written by Ina May Gaskin, who is this famous midwife, and I just really wanted to have that experience,” she explained.

For Olsen, the entire journey — pregnancy and childbirth — “was one of the happiest times of my life… you feel every day so excited and sort of anxious, like right before you have that first kiss with someone. It’s like that warm, bubbly feeling. I felt that every day when he was inside of me, because I just couldn’t wait to meet him and see what he was going to be.”

Of course, having a home birth isn’t the only choice Olsen is surprised she has made as a new mom. Since he was born, Wyatt has been co-sleeping with Sarah and Eric — but having him right next to her is a comfort she wouldn’t trade for the world.

“Every morning I wake up to his finger up my nose or him patting me on the cheek or whatever it is,” she smiled. “And he’s like, ‘Dadadadada, Mamamama’, and I don’t know… it just fills me with so much joy and excitement to see him, and he’s so smiley and happy. I just love every second with him.”

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