Rachel Boston on Animal Advocacy, The Gentle Barn, and Hallmark Film “Stop the Wedding”

Inspirer is celebrating inspirational and influential women in film with in-depth interviews. This project will share the stories behind the trailblazers and pioneers who paved the way for females in the arts. 

You may know Rachel Boston from popular television shows like “Witches of East End” and “In Plain Sight,” but what you might not know is that she is a passionate animals right activist. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Rachel eventually moved to New York City to pursue an education and career in the arts. Through her varied career, Rachel has never stopped fighting for animals — especially against elephant ivory poaching. Boston is making an effort to educate those who might not know about the extinction crisis African Elephants currently face.

Rachel spoke to us about her passion for animal advocacy, her health conscious reputation, and her new Hallmark film “Stop the Wedding” premiering on June 11 as part of Hallmark Channel’s “June Weddings” lineup.

How did you become involved in the protection of animal rights?

A few years ago, I was making a movie with Stefanie Powers — she runs the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in Kenya. As she was showing me pictures and explaining what is happening and the dangers wildlife is facing every day, something inside me just lit up. I started to think of ways I could get involved and started educating myself about what is going on with the underground support of ivory trade. Stop Poaching Now is a program based in Los Angeles. It breaks my heart to see violence towards animals in the name of trade, and I want to do what I can to make a difference. It is estimated that an elephant is killed every 15 minutes, on average, for ivory tusks, and there is currently a petition to get African Elephants on the endangered species list. I am planning a journey to Africa soon and hope to make a documentary about elephant sanctuaries and the work being done to protect baby elephants when their parents are so tragically killed by poachers. There are so many ways to get involved and they need our help–like sponsoring a baby elephant.

Why is bringing attention to animal advocacy so important? Do you feel this issue isn’t widely represented in the media?

I do feel like there is more and more representation in the media lately. If African Elephants are added to the “Endangered” list under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), that will certainly help with protection. But I guess it is important to me because I didn’t really know how to get involved at first. I am still learning and always learning. There are many programs out there, and I wasn’t sure where to go. One thing I recently did is foster an elephant through Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Her name is Makireti. You are welcome to donate whatever you can, but for even $50 a year, you can help a baby elephant and get updates on his/her life.

Traveling to Africa to make a documentary about something you are passionate about will be a labor of love. Are you nervous about the journey and the possibility that the documentary might anger the poachers?

Leonardo Dicaprio and Netflix dove headfirst into that world with their documentary “Virunga.” If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. A dear friend of mine who loves Africa shared it with me. But yes, AK-47s make me very nervous so I will be careful, but the idea of seeing elephants extinct in our lifetime makes me very sad.

You recently visited The Gentle Barn. How have you been personally affected by the wonderful work TGB does?

I love The Gentle Barn. A few days ago, I met a beautiful horse who had been very abused as a trail horse. When The Gentle Barn rescued him, he was terrified of people. Over the weekend, he was eating out of my hand–it made me cry. Such a beautiful story of an animal who was truly loved back to life by the love and care of The Gentle Barn. Hearing stories of an animal’s recovery is inspiring and the work they do brings hope, love, and compassion for the human spirit as well. They also have programs for special needs and at risk children. If you live in California or Tennessee, they have a yearly membership so you can visit, or you can sponsor an animal through their website.

Do you have any other passions?

I come from a very small town, and family is really important to me. When I moved to California, I became a health nut. My brothers make fun of me quite a bit for it, but I’m often the person they call when they want to know something about health. My grandfather was always really into juicing and had a whole cabinet of vitamins, so I think I picked a lot of that up from him. I love musical theater. Currently my passion for showtunes is limited to singing in the car and the shower, but I love them.

Can you tell us a little about your character in “Stop the Wedding?”

I play a divorce attorney who has been through a lot of heartbreak and has convinced herself that she doesn’t need love. When she finds out her aunt is getting married, she freaks out. “Freaks out” is the technical term. It’s too much for her and she wants to protect her aunt, so she sets out to stop the wedding. In the process, she realizes she has built so many walls around her own heart. As she opens up to the idea that she really does want to be in a loving, supportive relationship, her world is turned upside down. It’s a really fun romantic comedy–I certainly relate to it. And I just love movies with a happily ever after.

It sounds like filming was a blast. What was your favorite funny moment?

We filmed in Vancouver and one night it was so cold my body went completely numb. We were filming in a house that amazingly had a sauna built into one of the bathrooms, so I snuck into it during a break. It was incredible! And then I walked out of the sauna and my face was beet red. The makeup artist on the film was half laughing and half mad at me. It was really funny. So, there is one scene I filmed where I kind of look like a lobster. But a very warm lobster.

“Stop the Wedding” premieres on Hallmark Channel on June 11th at 9pm (check your local listings).

Keep up with Rachel by following her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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