“Connected to the Land”: Inside Wendie Malick’s Remote, Sustainable Lifestyle

All through a profession spanning greater than 30 years, actress Wendie Malick has lived tucked away on a hillside in Topanga Canyon for greater than two of these a long time, fortunately having fun with a life past the buzzy lights of Hollywood. Shut sufficient to commute for work however distant sufficient to be surrounded by silence, Malick and her husband Richard Erickson dwell on 50 acres of pretty untouched land with their horses, canines and favourite timber.

“We’re college students on this entire motion, [and] we attempt to keep open to how we will higher serve this land,” says Malick, an Environmental Media Affiliation board member. The actress spoke to THR about her longtime sustainable life-style, how she constructed an eco-friendly residence and the way she’s nonetheless engaged on “shifting towards a greater footprint.”

What impressed you to depart the geographic limits of Hollywood and embrace an off-the-grid life-style?

I feel it began once I was a child; we had an enormous summer season cottage on Lake Erie in Canada. Behind it was this Carolinian forest, and my mom at all times referred to it as a “cathedral of timber.” So I had this wonderful, magical childhood the place I might spend each summer season with this forest throughout me, [with] sand dunes taking place to the seaside. … I feel that’s once I first received actually into dwelling in nature and feeling the facility and majesty of it. Sleeping on the seaside, wanting up on the stars and questioning, “So what’s past that? What’s infinity? What’s on the opposite aspect of this?” It was this entire cosmic awakening as a child, and I feel it simply actually had an enduring impression.

What did the method of discovering your own home in Topanga Canyon appear to be?

I had been dwelling on the town in varied locations. I lived in New York for 17 years, and once I got here to L.A., I lived in a bit home on Malibu Street, after which lived in Benedict Canyon and West Hollywood. Once I met my husband, Richard, he was very eager on getting out of town. And thru mates, we had a possibility to come back and dwell of their cabin right here in Topanga on their ranch. We fell in love with this entire place, and the thought of with the ability to have canines and horses and are available residence to a spot that jogged my memory of my childhood was a dream I by no means thought I’d understand.

So over time, we saved our eyes peeled, and we discovered this property that we purchased; there was an current cabin there that my husband renovated. This was in 1993. And I discovered how you can journey a horse. I didn’t thoughts dwelling in tiny little cabins. I truly discovered it form of charming, like dwelling in summer season camp all 12 months spherical.

Wendie Malick Ranch
Wendie Malick’s ranch sits on 50 acres in Topanga Canyon, California. COURTESY OF WENDIE MALICK

Once you and your husband first purchased the property and moved to Topanga, do you recall what conversations had been like surrounding sustainable dwelling and dwelling off the grid at the moment?

I really like what I do for a dwelling — I really like going to set and hanging with folks and getting dressed up and all of that. And I really like coming residence to this place the place you may go to the put up workplace in your pajamas, and all people is aware of your identify. There was one thing that was actually interesting to me concerning the stability of this life.

It took many, a few years for us to do plans and work out the home we finally needed to construct. However after we constructed our home, I had been to Sundance the 12 months earlier than [where] the institute has Western prairie-style [buildings] and many verandas and pure wooden. Richard would construct me these little fashions to indicate me what it was going to be like as a result of I’m not good at taking a look at plans; I want issues three-dimensional. We perfected what we needed this to be, and it’s the most great house I’ve ever lived in in my life.

We’ve an enormous photo voltaic array. So although the property shouldn’t be totally solar-powered as a result of it was already hooked as much as a standard electrical energy supply, most of [the energy] can come out of the photo voltaic array. So our payments are very low. We additionally did radiant warmth on the flooring, which signifies that you even have sizzling water pipes beneath your flooring. We’ve all stone and brick flooring, and you’ll go barefoot on it. We didn’t air situation the good room — the kitchen and dwelling space — as a result of we’ve received actually good followers. We’re additionally on a nicely; it makes you so aware of water if you’re on a nicely, [but] all of us in California and arid areas need to be aware of that. Ten years in the past, we needed to go deeper, one other 100 toes, as a result of our aquifer dried up.

What are the distinctions between dwelling this life now in comparison with how issues used to perform dwelling in Los Angeles correct?

I feel the most important change is how linked you might be to the land. There’s a connection that I’ve to each tree on this property; it’s very totally different from having lived in New York and having lived on the town. I had a home in Beverly Glen earlier than we moved to Topanga, which was useful, nevertheless it nonetheless was cheek by jowl with different homes, and I noticed simply how lucky we’re that we might be within the nation and nonetheless only a spit away from a digital camera when I’ve to work. I name Topanga “the closest faraway place.” My nearest neighbor is a quarter-mile away.

I’m at all times thrilled once I can work at both Radford or Fox Studios as a result of they’re the closest. That’s why I really like early calls. I might a lot reasonably go in at 5:45, 6 within the morning, than have a 9 or a ten a.m. name. That’s when it’s form of brutal.

Wendie Malick Ranch
Malick and her horse COURTESY OF WENDIE MALICK

Throughout your time in Hollywood, how have you ever seen attitudes change with regard to sustainability?

I keep in mind years in the past, we had been speaking about doing the EMA Inexperienced Seal [a recognition program honoring progress in sustainable production]. It was simply an concept floating round for some time, after which abruptly it actually did take maintain and have become one thing that huge studios needed to be a part of. It was so thrilling.

I additionally got here to the conclusion a pair years in the past that I’m going to put on attire over and over. I can buy groceries in my very own closet. I’ve sufficient stuff. It’s kind of like honoring the mature a part of your closet. For these of us who’re in our third act, you wish to kind of honor and acknowledge the issues that received you right here. And generally it’s your wardrobe, too.

Do you’ve got any predictions about the place you suppose folks’s habits and selections are headed, whether or not that’s folks working in leisure or Californians extra typically?

I’m actually inspired and stunned by how many individuals are beginning to go plant-based, together with myself. I’ve been a pescatarian for the final 30 years, however the extra I’ve discovered via a few of our documentaries at EMA, the extra I’ve discovered concerning the state of our fisheries — it’s actually laborious to seek out fish which can be truly wholesome for you and sustainable. So I’m consuming a lot much less fish and am actually beginning to embrace extra vegetarian and vegan meals, and it’s getting so significantly better. Now there are such a lot of new eating places and new choices when it comes to cooking, recipes, and far inexpensive merchandise.

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