Going Green on Grey's Anatomy: Actress Jessica Capshaw Tells All


Photo via Wire Image

Get ready for a must-see season six of Grey's Anatomy, when Jessica Capshaw returns to Seattle Grace as pediatrician Arizona Roberts—the lesbian love interest of Dr. Callie Torres, played by Sara Ramirez. Currently shooting 14-hour days—and mum on storylines—Jessica took a break to talk about her growing environmentalism, the importance of green parenting, and the conventional makeup that she just can't give up.Although her character is groundbreaking—Sara and Jessica play the only openly gay characters currently on network television—the actress, who is the daughter of Kate Capshaw and stepdaughter to Steven Spielberg, keeps it in perspective. "I'm playing a female doctor who happens to be gay," she said. "I've never at the beginning of a scene thought to myself, 'I'm playing a gay person.'"

Much of that groundedness Jessica attributes to her husband, Christopher Gavigan, who is the Executive Director and CEO of Healthy Child, Healthy World, a national non-profit organization devoted to children's environmental health. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit my bias: I worked with Christopher on Healthy Child's marketing for nearly two years, and it was his influence that inspired me to launch Ecostiletto. Obviously, he's a very influential guy. "I owe [my eco-consciousness] completely to my husband," Jessica said. "Christopher really understands the idea of living as naturally as you possibly can and being conscious of the effect that you have on your environment."

But although the family eats organic, Jessica draws the line at joining Christopher as a vegetarian. (She does reduce her consumption and keep red meat out of their two-year-old son's diet.) "I'm a Midwesterner!" she said. "Not being able to have a cheeseburger once in a while would be torture!"

Jessica's pregnancy inspired many of her eco-friendly changes, including reducing her consumption, eating organic and buying locally, BYOBing a stainless steel water bottle, and being conscious of the effects of transportation on the environment: She drives a Prius; her son's current favorite mode of transportation is a Santa Monica Bus. And the family won't "use anything where we can't identify the ingredients," she said. "Ingredients should not read like a chemistry experiment!"

Similarly, Jessica revealed that Ellen Pompeo's pregnancy has inspired a whole new range of eco-friendly makeup on the "Grey's" set. But she also confessed that, when it comes to beauty, there are some things that she just can't give up. "To be honest, makeup is a big part of what I do for a living. I use only essential oils for perfumes. I gave up the artificial shampoos that were supposed to make my hair look like Gisele's and I have to tell you, my hair looks the same using the organic products as it did using the ones crammed with chemicals," she said. "But I'll never give up my Dior mascara that makes my lashes five miles long."

The bottom line for Jessica? "Do the best that you can. You can't completely change everything at once. We kind of find the little ways we can change things. And any step towards the better is, obviously, better."

Rachel Sarnoff is founder of Ecostiletto and an occasion contributor to TreeHugger.
Read Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff's full interviews with Jessica Capshaw and other EcoCelebrities at Ecostiletto

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Tags: Actors | Cosmetics | Environmental Footprint | Television | Vegetarian

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