If you were a teenager between 2003 and 2007, when The O.C. was the hottest show on TV, you’ll probably forever associate Rachel Bilson with her iconic character, Summer Roberts. The actress is currently revisiting the teen drama in a new podcast, and we recently caught up with Bilson to hear about her eco-friendly living habits, her love of sustainable fashion, her daughter — and which The O.C. couples she’s rooting for, on behalf of her partnership with Planet Oat.
“I was super excited to partner with Planet Oat,” Bilson tells Green Matters. She adds that she enjoys recipes using the brand's oatmilk, include vegan pancakes, fudgsicles, banana bread, and overnight oats, which is her favorite. “We soak the oats in oatmilk and then we add lots of fun stuff to it, and my daughter loves it,” she says of her 6-year-old daughter, Briar Rose. “I pack it in Mason jars and it sits in the fridge, ready to go. That is definitely our biggest staple.”
To learn more about Bilson’s passion for protecting the planet, we asked the actress to share her Green Routine with Green Matters.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
GREEN MATTERS: Oatmilk has a much lower environmental impact than dairy. Is protecting the planet important to you?
RACHEL BILSON: Absolutely, in any way we can. Something so little that’s still so delicious, like with all the Planet Oat products, it’s an easy thing to do. If it’s helping the planet in any way, even the smallest way, I am a huge supporter of that.
GM: Why is taking care of the Earth important to you?
RB: This is the only planet we have. We have to take care of it. The little things you can do in your life to help and reuse as much as possible is big in our household, and not be wasteful. And I teach my daughter that the most important thing to take care of, other than your body and your health, is our planet. They go hand in hand. One doesn’t exist without the other.
GM: Why did you switch to oatmilk?
RB: We are avid oatmilk users in our household, and my mom’s vegan, so in her household, too. My daughter, we took her off dairy to see if we could help clear up some eczema, and it actually did. All the options have made it so much easier for us to branch out.
GM: Have you made any habit changes to live more sustainably?
RB: My daughter wound up going back to school in person, and everything we use, all of the bento boxes for lunchboxes, reusable water bottles, all those things [are reusable]. Briar’s a huge recycler, so she helps me a ton to recycle things. And she learns all of that in school, so she always wants to help out in any way she can.
GM: You’ve always been a fashion icon — what do you think of the sustainable fashion movement?
RB: A friend of mine started this line Dame, and it’s all sustainable. And it’s so cute and so comfortable. I did a photoshoot for them to help get the word out, because I think it’s such a cool brand, and what they’re doing, I fully support. I’m actually wearing one of their vintage dresses right now, but they also use scraps and make these clothes out of things that would get thrown out, so it’s really cool.
GM: What has it been like revisiting your O.C. days with your new podcast, Welcome to the O.C. Bitches? How has it been reconnecting with your former castmates?
RB: It’s been so fun to revisit it. I’m basically watching it for the first time because I don’t remember anything from the show, it was so long ago. To be watching it as basically an audience member, I’m like, “Oh my god, I love this show!”
I’m fully rooting for Ryan and Marissa. First I’m rooting for Anna and Seth, but then I’m like, wait a minute, I feel like he should be with Summer. I’m fully invested. But getting to catch up with everybody — we all really loved each other, it was a big family, so it’s so fun to revisit and get to hang out and catch up.
"Green Routine" is a series from Green Matters that invites notable people in the environmental space to share the efforts they make to live more sustainably.