Olivia Love-Hatlestad poses with a Sen. Bernie Sanders cut-out.
All new Beloiters carry with them a wealth of exciting stories and experience. Only one, however, had their own film crew this year. Olivia Love-Hatlestad hails from Grayslake, Ill., where she became a prominent political activist before a photo of her snapped this summer at the 2016 Democratic National Convention went viral. The picture eventually drew the attention of media outlets including Viceland, which followed Olivia around during her first week on campus. Now that she is settled into life here at Beloit, the Terrarium got a turn to learn a little more about Olivia.
1. Tell me a little about your political activism. How did you get started/interested in politics?
I grew up in a fairly liberal household; my mom took me with her when she went to vote, and my parents were always very open about the candidates they supported. I didn't get into activism til a couple years ago. There wasn't really a pivotal "aha" moment where that work was concerned, but after the Ferguson non-indictment (in the shooting of Michael Brown), everyone was going berserk online and choosing sides, and I realized how little I actually understood about the oppression people of color face in this country. I began researching, asking questions of friends who could give first-hand answers, and consequently, I began to check myself. There's a lot to unlearn when you've gone most of your life fairly oblivious to your own privilege. From there, my pre-existing interest in politics propelled me into activism, and it's just snowballed ever since.
2. You were recently the subject of a feature by Viceland. How did that come about? How did you enjoy the experience?
VICE was so wild. They actually found me at the Democratic National Convention after a photo of my protest went viral, and asked if they could follow me around for awhile, even after the convention ended. When they learned I'd be transferring to a new college, they went nuts, and asked if they could make the episode about my transition to Beloit, as well. I loved everyone on that team, so it wasn't a hard sell by any means. It was bizarre, to be sure; there's definitely not an organic way to start a conversation with a stranger, when you've got a camera crew in tow. I was grateful for the experience, but I was also relieved to wrap.
3. What is your favorite class that you are taking in your first semester at Beloit?
My favorite (and unequivocally hardest) class is definitely “Theory of Contemporary Performance.” Oh my lord. It is so interesting, but incredibly demanding. As I type this, I am actively stressing out about the test and essay, which lie in store for me in that class this upcoming week. All angst aside, though, the class is challenging my perspective on literally every element of performance. It's amazing.
4. If you were a participant on the hit ’90s Nickelodeon game show “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” which team would like to be on: Red Jaguars, Blue Barracudas, Green Monkeys, Orange Iguanas, Purple Parrots, or Silver Snakes?
Purple Parrots, purely because that alliteration is the most satisfying to me.
5. What is the official name for the color of your hair?
It is a deft (if I do say so myself) blend of Infa-Red, Vampire Red, Shockingly Blue, and Ultraviolet. I was not consulted when Manic Panic named them thusly.
6. How would your best friend describe you?
"Tenacious, outgoing, goal-driven... I don't know. What's the word for someone who's always trying to do the right thing? Friendly, inclusive, messy, witty, sarcastic, cute...alright, that's enough." I live with my best friend, that's a direct quote. I love her.
7. What is your favorite sit-down chain restaurant and why is it Red Lobster?
I actually despise Red Lobster, but it's definitely not Red Lobster's fault. Red Lobster was the site of my FIRST EVER BREAKUP, and in spite of the flaky, buttery quality of their biscuits, I have never forgiven them. Favorite restaurant: Literally anywhere with steak (doesn't even have to be good).
8. Where is your favorite spot on campus?
Is it a totally ridiculous cliché to say the theatre building? Whatever. It's totally the theatre building. Being there is like being in a foreign country and finding someone who speaks your language. I love it.
9. What movie makes you laugh/cry the hardest? Or both?
The Holy Grail and Dead Poet's Society.
10.Would you consider a hot dog a sandwich?
Absolutely not, what's wrong with you?