Isabel Lucas’ life story sounds like it’s lifted from the plot of Mean Girls: Young girl, raised in the wilds of Australia, lands among Hollywood cliques and must reconcile her upbringing with newfound fame.
Growing up in a peripatetic family (Lucas’ father is a pilot), the 26-year-old’s fondest memories come from living among Aboriginals in Australia’s Kakadu National Park. “I was literally running around barefoot, finding waterfalls with the Aboriginal kids,” she says. “The only things we had to be careful of were snakes and crocodiles.” Unlike so many actresses who champion a cause post-stardom, Lucas found activism first. “Being so close to nature, I learned a lot about living off the land — how to live and nourish yourself. It’s not even hippy-trippy; it just made sense for me to honor and respect Mother Earth.”
It’s not exactly the overarching mentality of an industry driven by ticket sales and 4-D technology, but Lucas does what she can. Since her first break at 16 on the long-running Australian soap Home and Away, she’s tempered turns in action flicks like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the upcoming Red Dawn with more meaningful fare. She’s faced arrest for attempting to save dolphins in the documentary The Cove, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the Earth’s clean-water crisis in MTV’s Summit on the Summit. This month, she takes on Athena, goddess of wisdom, in the star-packed Greek mythology epic Immortals. While the film’s budget is huge and CGI effects are aplenty, the Athena role is one that speaks to Lucas’ do-good spirit. “She’s intelligent and a powerful defender of war,” Lucas says of the character, “but with love and peace in her every intention.”