The Murder Pact's Renee Olstead reveals 10 things fans don't know about her

Sep 1, 2015 at 3:27 p.m. ET
Image: Dave Starbuck/Future Image/WENN

Renee Olstead may have initially charmed us as singing yearbook staffer Madison Cooperstein on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but the pretty starlet officially won us over when she let us pick her brain about everything from puberty to nudity.

Yes, you read that right.

In addition to being adorably optimistic, Olstead is refreshingly candid — a combo that is completely endearing, if you ask us. In fact, we hope it's infectious too, because we'd be happy to have just a smidge of the charm this talented chick has in spades. And, since we're in a generous mood (hey, maybe she did rub off on us!), here are 10 of the interesting, poignant and sometimes funny little-known facts about herself Olstead shared.

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1. She recently ventured outside of her comfort zone (and a plane)

Olstead faced down her fears by leaping from a plane hovering 18,000 feet high, and the spirited star says she'd do it again in a heartbeat. "It was a totally different perspective on the planet," she says. "You realize how small you are when you're up that high — you're an ant on the face of the planet. It was really beautiful."

2. It irks her when people say...

"That I'm thinner than I was on Secret Life," she admits, laughing. In reality, Olstead's current weight is merely pounds away from her heaviest weight while filming the series (not that it's anyone's business). "I just kind of find it alarming how mean people can be online, saying how fat or unattractive I was [then]. I think it's strange that so many women — especially young women — subscribe to that kind of negative commentary about each other."

3. She really hopes Hollywood gets better at diversity

Although she admits there is diversity in Hollywood, she's firmly believes there isn't enough. "I wish there was sort of a more realistic range of beauty, where it wasn't just one type: 20ish, white and thin," she says. Unbelievably, Olstead has been told "many times" in her career that she is too heavy for Hollywood standards, which ultimately led to a struggle with an eating disorder, and a dangerously low weight of 87 pounds. "I just think they need to show the spectrum of women and the spectrum of beauty. It doesn't all look the same way."

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4. She's a big believer in positive thinking

When asked about double standards in the industry, Olstead had a unique spin on the perspective. "I think that a lot of double standards are out there, but I also think a lot of them are self-imposed. I think if you go out there and work hard do your best every day to move forward, there may be people who try to stop you, but ultimately you'll prevail."

5. Nudity in roles isn't totally off the table

Don't get her wrong — Olstead scoffs at the gender roles that so often place young women on the receiving end of scantily clad scenes. But that's not to say she wouldn't strip down for the right role. "I think it has everything to do with context," she explains. "If it's a scene where you're depicting a historical fact or depicting something that actually happened, I think it's really important to stay true to what it is. But if it's gratuitous — if it's a summer comedy and some girl just takes it all off, no way."

6. Her driving instructor doubled as her producer, or vice-versa

Fun fact alert: Not only did David Foster produce Olstead's first two albums for Warner Bros., but the industry veteran was also responsible for helping her navigate parallel parking. "He was very much a father figure as well as producer. He taught me how to drive!"

7. Kindness is what she finds the coolest

The actress feels like her movie Unfriended, which was released earlier this year, resonated with so many young people because they deal with the same drama as in the movie every single day. She likes to remind fans that "you really don't lose anything by lifting somebody else up — it doesn't make you less cool, it doesn't make you less beautiful." Remember that, lovelies... kindness is cool.

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8. Puberty was kind of a breeze for her

"Yeah, puberty was weird. I think it was weird for everyone," Olstead says, but she also confesses it probably wasn't as hard for her as it was for some. Why? Confidence was the key. "I always really liked myself. You know, at 13, my hair was not the best, but I rocked it."

9. Seriously, though — she embraces her nerdiness

She may not have suffered through the extreme fits of awkwardness some of us did (cough, cough), but Olstead isn't one to shy away from the fact that her adolescence wasn't without a little nerd factor. When we grilled her on what it means to be a misfit, she said, "I grew up loving jazz, so I think I'm probably not the right person to define that. But I think that I very much fit into that category."

10. She truly believes she is enough

Clearly, Olstead doesn't lack in confidence, which gives us major life goals. Still, the witty blonde says that even she succumbs to the notion that she isn't good enough from time to time, and that she needs to work more, earn more, have more. But at the end of the day, she always reminds herself of one very important truth: "To a degree, ambition is important, but I think it's more important to know that we don't need to be anything other than ourselves to deserve things."

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