You may know Renee Olstead from her role as Madison Cooperstein on the smash hit ABC Family show The Secret Life of the American Teenager or from her burgeoning career as a jazz vocalist. However, as our new celebrity contributor, Renee will be able to explore one of her biggest passions: fashion. Read below for a glimpse into Renee’s life, and stay tuned for most posts from her!
I’m a fan, a BIG fan. I love fashion and expressing myself through the clothes that I wear. I refuse to believe that something has to cost a thousand dollars to be chic. I don’t believe that a dress only looks good in a size zero. I believe in love and light and do-it-yourself. I believe in high-end meets low-end. I believe in vintage tees, fashion blogs and TopShop. I believe that nothing will ever be more special than your favorite vintage ring that your grandma gave you, but your finally worn-in pair of APC jeans are a close runner-up.
So be on the lookout for a few articles here and there from me. I’m going to be sharing my sense of style with you, so take it for what it is and leave the rest.
(FYI: Remember to be yourself when you get dressed in the morning — nothing else will ever fit you better.)
Spencer Cain: How did you first fall in love with fashion?
Renee Olstead: About the same time that I fell in love with music. In my early teens, everything was heavily vintage-inspired. I wanted to look like Billie Holiday or Anita O’Day. Today my style has definitely morphed, but there’s still a lot of old school sophistication with a little more edge.
SC: How has your style developed as you’ve grown up?
RO: As an adult, I think the kind of places you go influences your style. Whether it’s finally getting to see Europe as an adult, or just the kind of places you go in everyday life (business meetings, events or just out to dinner and drinks with your significant other). The places we go and the people we meet definitely influence what we wear and the style our clothes collectively take on.
SC: One of your most notable roles is on Secret Life — how does your character’s style different from your own?
RO: My style is VERY different from my character Madison on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. We have a wonderful stylist though, Miss Roselee Showe. She takes very good care of us even if our tastes may differ a bit.
SC: Is your passion singing or acting?
RO: Both. I can’t possibly choose, I won’t choose. They both bring a sense of joy and happiness to me that nothing else can fill.
SC: Would you like to incorporate both together in the future?
RO: Absolutely! I’ve had the pleasure of singing in a couple episodes of Secret Life and I think my new movie The Midnight Game may feature an original song from me as well.
SC: Based on your love of fashion, do you see yourself getting more involved in the business? Perhaps working on a line?
RO: Maybe one day! My friend Audrey Kitching is a big inspiration in that regard. I love the things she does and her lines Tokyolux & Coco de Coeur. I’m her biggest fan! I’d love to do something like that one day!
SC: Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
RO: My friends, weird little magazines, fashion blogs, music, old music videos and the things I can steal from my boyfriend’s closet. (He’s got a fantastic sense of style!)
SC: Favorite designers?
RO: APC, Rag & Bone, Patricia Field, Jeffrey Campbell, anything you can buy on NastyGal.com, a little Chanel here and there — you know, the usual!
SC: Must-have items/favorite pieces in your closet?
RO: My Birkin bag! All my studded-out stuff, my APC jeans, my skinny jeans, Wildfox Sweatshirts (but not the ones with too much writing on them) good hats and platform shoes.
Photograph by Darren Ankenman