Heroines for the Planet: Anna Getty

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One could peg Anna Getty any number of titles — holistic lifestyle expert, author, entrepreneur, yoga teacher, heiress, and environmental activist among them. But each come in a distant second to her most cherished roles, that of mother and wife.

What I found infinitely charming about Anna is that she doesn’t care how she’s labeled. Her main objective is to be of service to others and the planet, and so long as she’s doing just that, she’s at peace.

I asked Anna about her latest endeavors, how she helps others live more consciously, and whether being an heiress to an oil fortune has affected her environmental activism.

Lindsay: What compelled you to leave the glamour of Hollywood to pursue an interest in cooking?

Anna: To be honest with you the life I was living as a struggling actress was not very glamorous at all. I was working as a yoga teacher, a messenger and in a catering kitchen while pursuing my career. I did get the odd job but it was not consistent. I felt very insecure about myself and my future and ultimately when I thought about what I was doing studying for auditions, working my way through hours of traffic across Los Angeles to get to auditions only to be analyzed by a bunch of strangers in a room, I personally had not felt that I found my service or my calling in the world. Although I pursued an acting career for almost ten years, the shift came very easily once I made the decision. My goal was not to pursue my interest in cooking. I wanted to help people make more conscious choices about their lives, what they ate, how they took care of themselves, their families and children and the planet. I continued teaching yoga, took part of what I knew and loved ( cooking) and started forming my career. I feel like I cut and pasted or collaged together the work that I have come to do. The acting training did however bring me the confidence to do public speaking or work in front of a camera so it was not for nothing.

LB: What was the inspiration behind your cookbook “Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic?” What about the process of creating the cookbook did you enjoy most?

AG: It’s already a few years ago but looking back, I was approached to write the book by my publisher. I had not intended writing a book, let alone a cook book. I had been a freelance writer writing for a couple different magazines and had been working with various non-profits in the green and organic movement so it pretty much fell together. Writing the book was very challenging because at the same time, I was offered a second book deal to write an eco-Christmas book that needed to be finished within a month of the cook book. So I had double the work. The best part was recipe testing and developing, experimenting with flavors, picking through the fresh locally grown, organic produce at the farmer’s markets and building a recipe around what I came across. I loved having my friends over for taste tests. We would open a bottle of organic wine and eat what I had made and I would get notes from them. It was a very fun and creative time in my kitchen.

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LB: Are you a vegetarian now? What was your relationship with food like growing up?

AG: I eat a primarily plant based diet. I grew up vegan and then vegetarian adding dairy to my diet and then at a certain point I rebelled and ate a lot of meat and animal products. At a certain point I got disgusted and began tapering off. I have listened to my body and its needs. The most important aspects of food is that it is clean, sustainably grown and organic. I stopped labeling myself as a vegan or vegetarian or meat eater because I have chosen that they way I eat is not a political choice or a public statement and that the way I eat is not a reflection of my personality or who I am. My goal is to be as humane as possible, and as conscientious as possible, eating foods that are grown with love and care and prepared with love and care. I do eat a large percentage of raw and living foods because they make me feel great.

LB: What has your yoga practice taught you? What do you love most about teaching others?

AG: It has been a year since I have had a consistent practice and yet because I did yoga for 15 years and taught for nearly the same it has in a strange way became a part of me. It is part of my consciousness. Of course I want to get back on the mat consistently but the yoga, the yoke, the union has helped me see that we are all connected, it has helped me become more accepting, more present in my life, more patient and more kind with myself and others.

LB: What changes will our readers feel with your pre and postnatal yoga DVD set if, and when, they become pregnant?

AG: Over the years, the feedback I have received from women who did my DVDs has been heart warming. The yoga DVDs were designed to help women to more deeply connect with themselves, their babies and their breath. To help women birth in grace and being present with their bodies and minds. I think the DVDs have helped women achieve the birth experiences and the pregnancies they intended for themselves and for their babies.

LB: You co-founded Pregnancy Awareness month and the site, PregnancyAwareness.com in 2008. What has the organization accomplished since its launch?

AG: Pregnancy Awareness Month is an educational campaign that supports women all over America. Our first year we reached out to 36,000 women nationwide. Last year millions. We have events around the country and connect with amazing partners who are doctors, mid-wives, businesses but most importantly, we have helped create a platform where women feel comfortable supporting each other in caring and positive ways.

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LB: You’re an outspoken environmental activist. How has being a Getty helped your many eco-endeavors? Has your family’s association to oil ever hindered your efforts?

AG: No one has ever mentioned my family’s association to the oil business. The green community has always been very encouraging of the work I have done and continue to do. I feel like every environmental activist is part of a team. Sure there will always be nay sayers who are judgmental, but I do not judge them for their opinions as they are entitled to them. Whatever work I do, I do because I feel it is my duty as a human on the planet and for no other reason. Being a Getty has neither helped nor hindered any work I have ever done. It is not my goal to prove myself to any body. It is important to me to show up in whatever I do.

LB: If you had to name one motto that you live by, what would it be?

AG: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

LB: Who are a few of your favorite sustainable fashion designers and eco-beauty products?

AG: I love Loomstate, Edun, Loup Charmant, John Patrick Organic, Leila Hafzi and Coclico Shoes. I am loving my green GPure biodegradable iPhone case, it’s a great looking accessory. I love Weleda, Isun raw, wildcrafted and organic skin care products and Jane Iredale make-up. I love Josie Maran’s Argan oil.

LB: What brings you the greatest joy?

AG: Watching my children play in nature.

LB: What’s up next for you?

AG: Pregnancy Awareness Month is right around the corner. We are in full throttle preparations with that. I also just started a green kitchen blog for [Livia Firth’s] eco-age.com based in London.

LB: Thanks for your time, Anna!

AG: My pleasure.

 

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About Lindsay E. Brown
Lindsay is Eco-Chick's Co-owner and Managing Editor. She also works for CBS EcoMedia. She writes the weekly “eco roundup” at LauraTurnerSeydel.com and has written for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine, Edible, Cottages & Gardens, EarthHour.org, Eco-Age.com, Ecover US and Gather Green. Lindsay was featured on the Veria Living Network as a “voice for the planet’s health” and was named in Ecover’s “30 Under 30″ contest which recognized those who are making a sustainable difference in their local or global communities.

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