Born in Santa Clara, California, to parents Roman Oleynik, an anesthesiologist, and Lorraine (Allen) Oleynik, a nurse; on June 7, 1981, Larisa Romanovna Oleynik made her debut. Larisa’s family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and she was raised Russian Orthodox, as her father was Russian and Ukrainian. In 1999, Oleynik attended Pinewood School in Los Altos and later graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York in 2004.
Her next ’90s roles were where Larisa Oleynik began to gain notoriety as an actress, beginning as Dawn Schafer in the 1995 version of “The Babysitters Club” opposite another revolutionary ’90s actress, Rachel Leigh Cook. In 1993, Larisa was chosen to star in the television series “The Secret World of Alex Mack.” The show centered on Larisa’s character, “Alex,” who discovers she has powers after a truck carrying a load from the local chemical plant spills an experimental goo on her.
For 78 episodes over four seasons, Larisa Oleynik played the title role that also featured guest appearances from other up-and-coming actors Meredith Bishop, Jessica Alba, and James Marsden. While continuing to play Alex Mack, Larisa reunited with her Les Mis co-star Rider Strong and appeared in three episodes of Boy Meets World. But the one role we all love her for is that of Bianca Stratford in 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You.
With an incredible cast that included Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julia Styles, Gabrielle Union, Andrew Keegan, and the late Heath Ledger; Larisa Oleynik played the popular, shallow, young Stratford sister perfectly. A modern take on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” the film deserves a revisit several times a year and is a staple in the teen movie genre with a cult following definitely earned. Oleynik then followed co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt to his series “Third Rock From the Sun” when she joined the cast in a recurring role for 21 episodes in seasons four through six, playing Levitt’s girlfriend.
Since then, Larisa Oleynik has appeared here and there on the TV shows Malcolm in the Middle, Without a Trace, and Psych. From 2010 to 2015, she landed a five-episode role on Mad Men as “Cynthia Cosgrove.” Other major roles for Larisa include a 28-episode voice role for the animated series Winx Club: Enchantix in 2011-2012 and again in 2013-2014 for Winx: Beyond Believix, seven episodes in Hawaii Five-O, and Pretty Little Liars. like Maggie Cutler. Larisa returned to Broadway in 2014, the first time since her 1989 debut in Be a Good Little Widow, with her last time on stage in 2019’s Miss Lilly Gets Boned, where she played the title role of Miss Lilly.
Larisa Oleynik is still acting these days, with her last film being the 2021 romantic comedy We Broke Up with Aya Cash. On the television side, she played Shawn for six episodes on the show Trinkets until 2020. That same year she was in the comedy series The Healing Powers of Dude as Karen Ferris in all eight episodes that aired on Netflix. Larisa currently has an upcoming project, a short film titled Pigeon , where she plays the lead character Liz in the dark comedy that follows a woman navigating life post-breakup during the holiday season.
Larisa Oleynik stated in an interview in 2020 that she is still in a group chat with her original team of the babysitters. She went on to say that the women still support each other and will be friends for life. As for her thoughts on the old movie 10 Things I Hate About You? She is just like us and she still loves him. With all the years they’ve spent working together, it’s no surprise that Larisa and leading man Joseph Gordon-Levitt were a couple. They began dating in 1998 when they met on 10 Things and continued until the end of her run as a guest on his show Third Rock in 2002. As far as these days go, it seems Larisa is happy to be single.
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