You know Isabella Gomez from hit shows like One Day at a Time, Head of the Class, and Modern Family. Park rangers know her a little differently—as the girl who’s always hiking through forests, scrambling up rock formations, and even canoeing through protected rainforest rivers in her native Colombia. Besides being an outdoor adventurer, Isabella is Wild Advocate for Wild Elements Impact, where she helps amplify the work of Proyecto Tití, a Colombian organization protecting biodiversity – specifically the endangered cotton-top tamarin and its forest home. In this Isabella Gomez interview, she talks about how she's letting good grow wild. (And how to say it in Spanish!)
Your social media feed is full of outdoor adventures. When did you make nature your go-to hangout?It’s been that way my whole life! I grew up in Colombia. The nature is so rich and gorgeous. My parents are very much the vibe of, “Let's get in the car and see where the day takes us.” Once I got older, I realized I felt my best and I felt the most calm in the middle of a national park with no signal. For my 20th birthday, my best friends and I got a little cabin in the middle of a national forest.
We talk a lot about being awestruck in nature. Can you remember a time when your jaw just dropped outside?It’s happened a million times. But the first thing that comes to mind is, you know, a few years ago in a forest in California, I saw a giant spider—a tarantula. I’d never seen a spider like that before, and looking at it, something clicked in my brain. I realized that so much of human interaction with wildlife nowadays is either through documentaries or a zoo where the environment is very controlled—or worse, like, a scary movie where it’s fake! Seeing a tarantula in the wild reminded me that the spiders were here first. We’re the visitors. And that’s equally awe-inspiring and also just terrifying. It was a very humbling experience.
How would you encourage friends who aren’t “big outdoor people” to take small steps into nature.I think like with any new experience, you always say, “What if we try this, and if it’s awful, we just won’t do it again?” No big deal. But it’s funny because being outside is so helpful for anxious people! I’m definitely included there. So if you’re anxious about being in nature, once you get outside, I feel like you’ll probably run towards it and never look back.
How does nature help your creative process?In acting, you need your feelings to be available to you. People think that only means sad emotions, but I’ve historically done a lot of sitcoms, and sometimes, comedy is a lot harder than drama! Especially when you’re going through anything in your life that’s hard, it’s tough to be funny when you’re sad. I credit nature with helping me regulate my emotions. It’s very grounding, which is very helpful. And it makes you feel small in the best of ways. When you start in Hollywood and you start young, like I did, it can feel like [the entertainment industry] is the most important thing in the universe. “Everybody’s watching you.” But that’s not true! When you get into nature, you realize, “Hey, we’re tiny in the grand scheme of things.” Obviously, every human matters and our impact and actions matter so much. But also, we’re just one part of this huge planet, and knowing that is so important.
What’s your favorite animal fact?Male seahorses are the ones who give birth. My head exploded when I found that out. Why are seahorses cooler than we are?
What’s one small step you’ve made in your own life to help the planet?Reusable water bottles!!! It’s so easy and you save so much plastic from landfills. Everyone should use them. I also bought reusable cotton pads for my skincare, which are fantastic. You just wash them and use them over and over. And then, can I talk about my period?
Of course.So, I got a Diva Cup. We don’t talk about periods that much in pop culture, which is annoying because literally half the planet menstruates. We should be talking about how we can make basic, important healthcare products available to everyone who needs them, and how we can cut down on period waste in the process.
The Wild Elements creed is “Let Good Grow Wild.” What does that mean to you?There’s a certain kind of joy that happens when you do something genuinely good. It’s part of the reason people become advocates. For some reason, there’s shame in pride, excitement, and involvement. It’s very cool to be unbothered. Let good grow wild means let your feelings go wild, and feel the good in the world, so you can keep that good going!
How do you say “Let Good Grow Wild” in Spanish?“Deja que el bien crezca salvaja!”