Art Seen

This 'Mean Girls' Star Is All Grown Up And Trying To Save Elephants Through Art

"Elephants need our help ..."

You may recognize Nicole Crimi as Regina George's little sister who danced provocatively to "Milkshake" by Kelis in 2004's Mean Girls. But she is all grown up and there is a lot more to her than that short-yet-iconic role. The 21-year-old is using her art as a means to raise awareness for a group she thinks needs some love: elephants.

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Auditioning for the part of Kylie George in Mean Girls came about when Crimi's agent sent over Beyoncé's "Baby Boy" music video, and told her mom and her older sister Janessa — a successful child actress and Crimi's role model — to teach her to dance to it. Upon getting the gig, Crimi, who was the youngest person on set, had a lot of fun with the cast who was kind and funny to her, never at the time realizing what a life-changing experience it truly was.

"It is amazing how, even 14 years later, people still quote Mean Girls and contact me about it," Crimi told A Plus via email. "It makes me excited knowing something I did 14 years ago is enabling me to share my art, and therefore my thoughts and initiatives, such as this one for Stop Poaching Now, with people all around the world!"

Credit: GIPHY

Since then, Crimi has graduated from McMaster University and delved into the art world headfirst since putting her first original piece on Instagram back in 2013. Sharing the work, one that she calls "extremely personal," made her feel "nervous because I felt like I was sharing a piece of myself," but it garnered positive support.

"I have always LOVED art," Crimi said, harkening back to when she was a baby as well as to childhood memories with her older sister. "In high school, art became an outlet for me, and a symbol of my own growth and values. There was never a period where I knew I wanted to pursue it exactly, there was a moment that I knew I wanted to share it since it meant so much to me and told my own personal story. I wanted to see what it could mean to others."

"The thing is, sharing my personal art only shares my story," Crimi added. "Over time as the popularity of my art grew, I realized what an impact it can have on others, and how it can inspire them or make them feel."

Credit: Nicole Crimi

So, on a trip to Thailand in 2015, Crimi visited an elephant sanctuary. From the onset, she viewed the elephants as "friendly creatures" and learned about the "many challenges they face." Raising awareness for these animals became a passion for her and she got involved with Stop Poaching Now.

"Elephants need our help, and they don't have a voice of their own, so it seemed perfect to let my art be their voice [and] a way to reach others," Crimi said.

This is a pressing matter for Crimi, who pointed out that 100 elephants are poached each day. Not only that, but what were once paradises for elephants have been turned into exactly the opposite by human actions. When is too late, Crimi asks, and when will we draw the line to stop elephants from becoming extinct? The quest to find answers to these questions are why Crimi supports Stop Poaching Now, both its work to help elephants and its education initiatives.

Credit: Nicole Crimi

"When trying to paint the elephants, I have been trying to capture their beautiful aura and voice from their trunks," Crimi explained. "This painting is not yet done. Currently, I have tried to capture their depth with the extent of detail I am adding, and making it as though they are fighting for their rights by having their trunks coming out of the canvas. Instead of painting them gray, I used a brown-beige base and am slowly adding bright colors into their wrinkles, which come out onto the background in order to make them brighter and more energetic."

The elephant-themed artwork included in this story is being done so that Chimi can donate it to Stop Poaching Now and the organization can auction it off. And, if you're interested in helping out, Chimi herself is also raising money for the nonprofit separately.

"Overall, the message I want people to take is that we all have a responsibility to the world. It is our duty to take care of the Earth and its inhabitants in order to create the future we want to see," Crimi concluded. "With my fundraiser and Stop Poaching Now in general, any kind of donation can help make a difference. They add up! I am by no means an activist, but I knew I liked elephants and that I did not want them to go extinct. Whether you create a painting and fundraise or simply make a small donation, it is our duty to do SOMETHING."

(H/T: BuzzFeed)

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