Leonardo DiCaprio features freshman on his Instagram


The photo featured freshman Hannah Badeau standing outside Photo via Leonardo Dicaprio’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leonardodicaprio/?hl=en

Newly-minted Oscar-winner and longtime environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio regrammed an Instagram photo March 3 of Hannah Badeau, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, who was among a group doing environmental activism work.

Badeau, who interns at the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, and the group were delivering petitions and letters to Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson’s office to protest Johnson’s opposition of WLCV and his support of the fossil fuel industry. WLCV supports a policy to lower carbon admissions called the Clean Power Plan.

The photo originally appeared on the League of Conservation Voters’ Instagram March 1. In it, Badeau holds a sign with a picture of DiCaprio and the quote, “Let us not take this planet for granted,” from his Oscar acceptance speech.

The photo has over 337,000 likes on DiCaprio’s Instagram, by time of publication, and a caption that reads “thank you for doing your part, Hannah. We need to empower leaders who speak for us. Share photos of how you’re taking action with #ActOnClimate.”

When she first found out DiCaprio regrammed the photo, Badeau said she reached out to him twice.

“The first one I was like ‘this is me’ and the second one, I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was something like, ‘what an honor to have a shout out from you, someone who is really being active.'”

DiCaprio is behind Moment for Action, a site where people can take action on climate change. Despite criticisms and rumors about DiCaprio not being as environmentally friendly as he claims to be, Badeau said his acknowledging the issue is important.

“A lot of people commented (…) saying things like ‘(DiCaprio) isn’t an exemplary environmentalist’ (or) ‘he flies around on his private jet, his carbon footprint is bigger than most of us,’” Badeau said. “Being completely honest, it matters that he’s just talking about it.”

Alex Gattone, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and member of Students for an Environmentally Active Campus, was in the top right corner of the Instagram photo.

“Not only does (DiCaprio) do such an excellent job of voicing his concerns, but he is also putting his money where his mouth is and reducing his carbon footprint by driving Tesla, Hybrid and Prius (cars,) and equipping his house with solar panels,” Gattone said in an email.

Badeau said the recognition from being regrammed by a celebrity affected all of her social media accounts, not just her Instagram.

“I had to put my Instagram account on private because I was getting so many notifications,” she said. “My Facebook page has blown up because all my friends are sharing (the photo) and my friend’s friends and my friends friend’s friends. I got a couple emails from my high school teachers who were like ‘friends with (DiCaprio?) Oh my God.’ And I was like ‘no, not exactly, but I’ll play it off.’”

Badeau said this incident inspired her to continue her involvement in environmental activism.

“I never thought I would know when my life was changing but this feels like something – feels like a defining moment,” Badeau said. “I’ve been so passionate about environmental activism for as long as I can remember.”

Badeau is now working with SEAC, which is partnering with the Native American Student Association to organize an event for Earth Day.