It’s a bit tricky for Hollywood influencers to claim they live sustainably, considering it’s literally their job to show off new products. But the Culpo sisters—model and classical musician Olivia, parenting and wellness expert Aurora, and Extremely Online™ nutritionist Sophia—are game to explain how they’re making conscious choices while trying to live the dream. “I literally brought brown paper bags to my last photoshoot,” Olivia says from her home in Los Angeles. “I was like, ‘We’re gonna recycle whether you want to or not. I’ll load all the cans and bottles into my car and drop it off myself if I have to!”
As The Culpo Sisters premieres on TLC and showcases this tricky mix of personal responsibility and public gloss, the sisters talk to Wild Elements about the pitfalls of perfection, the healing power of water, and when it’s accurate to call something “vintage.”
What are your wild elements—fire, water, air, or earth?
OLIVIA: Everyone says ‘fire,’ don’t they? But I’m totally earth. I practice grounding, like, actually touching my feet to the grass or dirt when I feel disconnected. I think a walk on a forest trail is the most grounding thing.
SOPHIA: I’m Earth too, for sure. I like knowing where I am and feeling like I’m really present instead of always in my head.
AURORA: Oh gosh, I’m water.
SOPHIA: She surfs!
AURORA: I mean, I surf very badly.
OLIVIA: She floats.
AURORA: That’s much more real! I float. But that’s being a water element, right? You keep floating and work it out as you go. That’s very me.
How do you use nature for your mental health?
AURORA: Oh, I use it for mental and physical wellness!
OLIVIA: She makes us do cold plunges. She’s decided we’re all going to do one for Thanksgiving.
AURORA: It’s amazing for you! You get a rise in endorphins. You get a real boost to your skin. You get the muscle relief and detox and mental clarity. It’s truly incredible how much water can heal us.
SOPHIA: I’m actually not going to jump in freezing water. To me, that doesn’t sound like wellness! I hate the cold! But I do think a walk outside can do amazing things for my mood. I’ll always take a walk if I need to reset or think about something.
We talk a lot at Wild Elements about “progress, not perfection." When did you realize that, as influencers, you wanted to try and live with a little less waste, and a little more action?
OLIVIA: Not too long ago, I really forced myself to look around at the amount of styrofoam and plastic that came with every product I was sent. What drove me crazy is that a lot of the brands were telling me they were sustainable, they were vegan or earth-friendly… and then they would send these “sustainable” products in tons of plastic.
SOPHIA: Obviously nobody’s perfect, and if you try to be “perfect” in any way, you’ll just end up angry and frozen, right? You have to do the best you can, and then keep going. And we all have a long way to go, but using the Earth as, like, a marketing tactic and then sending out tons of plastic is really disappointing. It’s hypocrisy.
AURORA: Having kids really changed things for me. Obviously I want my children to grow up in the healthiest environment, with the cleanest things possible. But I also want to model the same behavior our parents did. They raised us with zero plastic bags, zero plastic bottles, and refillable everything. All our furniture was from other people’s yard sales! We’d reuse everything we could!
OLIVIA: We didn’t even use Gladware or plastic containers. They were so conscious about it, and they set a really big example for us, to the point where when I first came to LA, there was honestly guilt if I was on a movie set and stuff wasn’t being recycled! And now, I don’t even want to be on camera if there’s a plastic bottle in my hand, because it’s not how I want to live, and it sets a bad example.
AURORA: Our parents would definitely say something if they saw tons of throwaway plastic on our show! They’re really serious about it, which has made us serious about it, too.
How do you balance your goals as lifestyle entrepreneurs with your commitment to lowering your consumption and waste?
OLIVIA: You just have to say so right from the start. For example, with [vodka and tequila brand] Vide, I said, “Even the packaging has to have a lower impact.” So we went with recycled aluminum cans that can maintain circularity. And we decided to partner with Climate Neutral to make sure we were holding ourselves to a high standard.
Olivia, your new show opens with you pulling a dress out of your closet from 2012. Later, we see your parents thrift shopping for jackets.
AURORA: Oh, we don’t call it “secondhand fashion.” We just call it “fashion.”
OLIVIA: It’s honestly impossible to say for me, because we all love vintage so much, and also, we hold onto a lot of outfits! That evening gown from the show that I was wearing to a Vanity Fair party—it’s still a great dress! Why wouldn’t I wear it again? I love a re-wear; I think it’s really cool.
AURORA: I have this vintage Missoni dress from the 70s, I think, and it’s truly my favorite thing.
OLIVIA: My favorite vintage thing is this Boston Pops t-shirt from when my mom used to play [violin] with them. I think it’s from the ‘80s and it’s amazing.
SOPHIA: Does it count as vintage if I took it from Aurora in middle school? Because she had this Barbie t-shirt that I used to wear as a dress when I was younger. And then I started wearing it for real, as a shirt, and I still have it.
AURORA: That shirt is like 20 years old!
SOPHIA: Yeah, exactly. Vintage!