Allie Gonino (actress, musician) is a Rockwall-transplant who is unafraid to start trends in a city that often follows them. We discuss issues at large, ranging from the global water crisis to orca captivity, with the proactive 25-year-old Angeleno who is doing more than signing petitions.
Your passion lies far beyond music and film; you seem so proactive with causes of all sorts. Where did these interests stem from, because you're from the big red state of Texas (which is stereotypically conservative in all issues)?
(Laughs) I was raised by very liberal, socially aware parents, who were not raised in Texas. I think my instinct to speak up for causes that affect people who do not necessarily have a voice in the media comes partly from being a woman; the instinct to nurture life and liberate.
How are you using your amplified voice to speak up about current issues effecting not only just humans, but our planet, animals, and more?
I have a platform to speak from, and it would be insensitive of me not to use it to raise the voices of those who have no voice in the global community. I try to raise awareness mostly through social media about the global water crisis, climate change, orca captivity, and any other issue I feel needs to be addressed. I also sign up to receive e-mails from various activism sites such as moveon.org, change.org, avaaz.org, demandprogress.org, sierraclub.org, and more. There are always countless petitions being passed around to demand justice on certain issues. The voice is the most powerful tool we have as humans. Signing petitions is an easy way to take a stand on the issues I care about.
How has your setting, Los Angeles, allow you to openly share your concerns with your friends, family, and the general public? Do you think us Angelenos are more accepting of the progressive changes?
In some ways, I think L.A. is very open to listening to progressive thoughts and ideas. However, when it comes to taking action, and committing to improve our environment, I think we fall short. The majority of the culture here is very self-involved. It is a personal struggle for me when I am here, not to lose sight of what is actually important, because this culture breeds narcissism. I have learned I can be very vocal about the things I think are important, and I will not be gawked at (at least not to my face), but I have also learned that the people who actually want to see and create change will take matters into their own hands. Los Angeles is an inspiring place in terms of opportunity, but in terms of progressive action, I think we are lacking motivation, education, and leadership.
You mentioned on set that you are an investor in a hemp-based clothing company. Talk to us about what got you involved in such a business (which seems so amazing, by the way).
I am invested in a hemp apparel company called Recreator. Hemp is one of the most valuable resources we have available to us and serves a myriad of purposes. We can use it for fuel, protein, clothing. It requires less than half the water than cotton requires to produce, and with the drought here in California, that is a major plus. So much of our water is used to make clothing. Hemp is lightweight, and I can not even express how much more comfortable it is to wear. (Though, if you are allergic to hemp, it might not be the best solution for you.)
How do you handle opponents to your viewpoints, assuming that you may have encountered a few in the past?
If someone has facts to back up their statements, I am all ears and completely open to learning new information in order to better form my own viewpoint. Belief is tricky, and can be problematic for making progressive changes where cultural habits dominate. So I prefer to stick to facts. We can all agree on facts. If my viewpoint can be improved in a way that benefits myself and others, then I am certainly open to whatever suggestions or insight anyone offers me. Viewpoints presented to me that encourage division, narrow-minded bigotry, that do not provide any solutions will not be heeded.
Do you ever worry about how your opinions may affect your career in the entertainment industry?
Even I have trouble speaking out against certain issues, when I hear them from the mouth of others (i.e. plain ignorance, etc). - I would not say I worry, but it is something I try to remain conscious of. My mom always tells me, "Allie, you need to watch what you say on social media before you’re really famous, then you can exercise your voice more freely." And I get her point. I do not want to jeopardize any future job opportunities. But at the same time, the groups which I usually call out have way more monetary power than I do, so really, I am like an ant to them. Why not be vocal about what I feel? I do not own anyone but myself. Anything I say should not be too threatening to anyone.
You seem like someone who often goes against the grain. To who do you attribute that trait to? Is it your family upbringing?
I guess I would have to say yes? All the people I look up to are trendsetters, not trend followers. They are usually artists, inventors, freedom fighters. They are the people who make life exciting and inspiring. My parents own and operate an integrative medicine practice, and they do not do medicine the way the majority of physicians in America do. They are trendsetting in that way.
What are the biggest lessons you've learned in all your 25 years that affect who you are today?
I suppose the biggest lesson I have been taught, which ironically has also been the hardest to master, is just to breathe into the present moment.