For Kelly Rutherford, a star on the white-hot show Gossip Girl, having a baby created pangs of eco-consciousness. “They come into this world so pure,” she says. “You want to keep them that way.” Two years ago, when Rutherford was pregnant, she and her husband turned their house into a treehugger’s paradise. The conversion included a graywater system, denim insulation, and organic carpeting and furniture. “The architects we used were not eco, but they ran with all our ideas,” she recalls.
A TV veteran, Rutherford is back on the air for Gossip Girl’s second season this September. She plays Lily van der Woodsen, an uptight Manhattan socialite married to a billionaire while involved in a love triangle. “I think of Lily as going to the eco–dry cleaners and having her housekeeper shop at Whole Foods,” she says. While it seems a stretch to imagine Lily caring much about mulch, it’s the only Gossip Girl spoiler that Rutherford will dish.
- Favorite animal: My dog, Oliver, an Australian cattle dog. He rescued me. I don’t think we rescue animals — they rescue us.
- If she were president: I’d make all transportation hybrid or biofuel.
- Green car of choice: A Prius. It’s a different kind of status symbol. It says, no matter how much money you have, you’re aware. I used to have a Porsche with a big engine, but I didn’t need all that power anyway — I was just stuck in L.A. traffic!
- Must-have eco-product: Seventh Generation baby wipes.
- Last good eco-deed: I just bought an organic reusable shopping bag called Feed 100, at Whole Foods. Proceeds feed 100 hungry school children in Rwanda.
- Noteworthy eco-sin: Restaurant takeout. But I am doing it less and less! I try to go to places that use biodegradable containers, like Urth Caffé and Le Pain Quotidien.
- Is it easy being green? Yes! We create our own realities, so why not create one in which you know you’re doing the best you can?
- Favorite place on Earth: Cuddled up with my husband and my son and my dog in bed.
- Hotel that knows her best: There are two. My father’s boutique hotel in Westwood called the Hilgard House and the Hotel Wales in Manhattan. They allow dogs and even tell you about dog-friendly restaurants.
- Environmental pet peeve: A lack of awareness of the impact we have. We think we’re important in ways we’re not, and we don’t realize we’re important in ways that we are.
- Ideal carpool partners: Bill Gates, Barbara Walters — it would be like having all the people she’s interviewed there — and Amma Bhagavan, a spiritual leader from India who started the Oneness movement. She’s the lady who hugs everybody.
- Unheralded skill: Um, I’m still learning to whistle!