Larisa Oleynik is an American actress and voice artist who became a teen idol in the 1990s. She started her acting career as a child actor at the age of eight, first performing onstage as young Cosette in a production of ‘Les Misérables.’ From 1994 to 1998, Oleynik played her breakthrough role, the titular character on Nickelodeon’s sci-fi drama series ‘The Secret World of Alex Mack’. She later entered Hollywood and also worked as a voice actress. Following the success of ‘Alex Mack’, she decided to take a short break to focus on her education. She pursued a liberal arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College, Yonkers, New York. She thoroughly enjoyed her stint at the college and believes that the experience has been very valuable to her.
Childhood & Early Life
Larisa Oleynik was born on June 7, 1981 in Santa Clara, California, to anesthesiologist Roman Oleynik and Lorraine, a former nurse.
She attended Pinewood School in Los Altos and graduated in 1999. She later earned her liberal arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College.
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Larisa Oleynik started acting at the age of eight, when she appeared in a 1989 production of ‘Les Misérables.’
Her onscreen acting career started when she was 12. She acted in an episode of ‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,’ which aired in 1993. Soon after this, she lent her voice to the character of young Odette in the animated film ‘The Swan Princess’.
From 1998 to 2000, the actress featured in NBC’s ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’. During this time, she also starred as Bianca in the teen romantic comedy flick ‘10 Things I Hate About You’. The movie was a success and grossed over $53 million at the box office on a $16 million budget.
Oleynik had a supporting role in ‘An American Rhapsody’, an independent drama film which follows a young girl whose family is forced to leave her in Communist Hungary while they move to the United States.
In 2003, she did another independent film ‘Bringing Rain’ which was chosen for a premiere section at the Tribeca Film Festival. Two years later, she appeared in a guest role in the drama ‘Malcolm in the Middle’.
The actress played the role of Maggie Venable in ‘Pope Dreams’. The film, which was released in 2006, won multiple awards at various film festivals.
Oleynik guest-starred in an episode of ‘Aliens in America’ in 2008. Two years later, she joined the cast of ‘Mad Men’ as Cynthia Baxter. She later began appearing in the recurring role of Jenna Kaye in ‘Hawaii Five-0.’
In 2012, she was cast as Cherryl Brooks in Ayn Rand’s screen adaption of ‘Atlas Shrugged: Part II’. In 2016, she starred in a one-woman show titled ‘I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti’ which premiered at the Hangar Theatre in New York.
In 2017, the actress began starring in the Off-Broadway production of the musical comedy ‘Baghdaddy.’ A year later, she joined the cast of the TV series ‘Half Life’ as Patty.
In 1993, Larisa Oleynik was cast in the lead role in the drama series ‘The Secret World of Alex Mack’ in which she played a teenage girl who gets telekinetic powers after an accident. The series aired on Nickelodeon from 1994 to 1998 and became one of the network's most watched dramas, turning Larisa Oleynik into a teen idol.
In 2012, the actress began voicing the character of Icy in the Italian animated drama ‘Winx Club’. Created, produced and directed by Iginio Straffi, the series is set in a magical universe inhabited by witches, fairies and other mythical creatures.
Family & Personal Life
Larisa Oleynik has not revealed anything regarding her love life or relationships.
Her role models are Claire Danes, Kellie Martin and Winona Ryder.