If you were a teenager in the early 2000s, you probably didn’t miss “High School Musical” – the songs from this TV movie still ring in people’s ears. How much do you know about one of the important supporting roles in the film, Kelsie Nielsen? Do you know that she is portrayed by Russian-American actress, Olesya Rulin? If you want to find out more about this famous actress, read below.

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Early life and Education

Olesya Yurivna Rulin was born on 17 March 1986, in Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union, now Russia.

She spent most of her life in a small town of Likhoslavl, located between Moscow and St. Petersburg, together with her parents and her brother, Daniil Rulin. When she was six, her father moved to Texas, USA, and two years later she and the rest of her family followed. After several years, they moved to Utah, where she attended West Jordan Middle School. During her school days, she trained in ballet and learnt to play the piano.

When Rulin was 12, her mother persuaded her to enter a model search contest, and she caught the eye of not one, but four modeling agencies! However, she never liked modeling so she never became a professional model.

From a very young age, she worked as a nursing assistant, but also in several fashion stores, such as Victoria’s Secret and Nordstrom.

She matriculated from West Jordan High School in 2005, and enrolled at Westminster College located in Salt Lake City, Utah, in which she studied economics.


Rulin made her acting debut with small roles for TV films in 2001 and 2002, such as “Hounded” and “The Poof Point”. In 2004 she had a guest role in an episode of the TV drama series “Everwood”, and portrayed Natalie the Pink Troll in “Halloweentown High”, plus a minor role in the 2005 comedy film, “Mobsters and Mormons”.

Olesya Rulin

In 2006, Rulin was cast in the Disney TV teen film, “High School Musical”, portraying Kelsi Nielsen, a friend of Gabriella who was played by Vanessa Hudgens, and a school pianist. Despite being a supporting role, Rulin’s performance was praised by many, and she became a notable figure in teen movies of that time period, and reprised her role as Kelsi in sequels “High School Musical 2” and “High School Musical 3” in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Also in 2006, she portrayed Sariah in “Vampire Chicks with Chainsaws”, and in 2007 she was cast in “American Pastime” and “The Dance”.

In 2008 she appeared in the comedy film “Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous” (also known as “Major Movie Star”), alongside big names such as Jessica Simpson and Steve Guttenberg.

In 2009, Rulin was cast in a recurring role in the ABC TV series “Greek”, remaining in the show for two seasons, meantime making guest appearances in “CSI: Miami” and “The Mentalist”, and co-starred in the soft drama film “Flying By”, alongside Billy Ray Cyrus, Mo Collins and Ahnaise Christmas. Two years later in 2011, she co-starred in the drama movie “Apart”, about a couple with a rare psychological disorder.

In the next few years she made appearances in several TV series, such as “Dirty Work”, “Underemployed”, “Family Weekend” and “Eye Candy”. In 2015 she was cast as Calista Secor in the PlayStation Network series called “Powers”, about a parallel world inhabited by superhumans, remaining on the show until it ended after two seasons.

In 2017 she made a guest appearance in the episode “A House Full of Peters” of the animated series “Family Guy”, in which she voiced Russian Meg Griffin Double. In 2018 she portrayed Amber in the TV movie “Devious Nanny”, and the next year made a brief appearance in the TV series “SEAL Team”.

Personal Life

Despite trying to keep her life private, it‘s been revealed that Rulin has been dating model and actor Nico Tortorella since 2013. As of May 2020, they are still considered to be a couple – despite not posting any pictures on their social media profiles for a while. Before him, she was in a brief relationship with Andrew Gray McDonnell.

Despite the success of “High School Musical Movies”, during the filming for all three parts she still worked as a store clerk. Sometime later, she moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue her acting career full-time.

Rulin is a pescatarian, which means that the only source of ‘meat’ in her diet is seafood.

She is fluent in Russian and the English language.

Rulin has participated in several charity activities, some of which have included cleaning up beaches, and donating clothes and food to the homeless. She is also a regular volunteer at dog shelters.

Rulin is rather active on various social media profiles, such as Twitter and Instagram, with more than 225,000 followers.

Net Worth

Rulin has usually portrayed supporting characters, but some of the movies she has been in made a amount of money at the box office. For example, “High School Musical 3” made over $250 million, while its budget was ‘only’ $11 million! This is partly why her net worth is estimated at around $1 million.

Physical characteristics

Rulin is a short woman, who stands at a height of 5ft 1ins (1.55m) tall, and weighs around 110lbs (50kgs), with vital statistics of 34-24-35, bra size 32B, and dress size 6 (US). She has blue eyes and blond to light brown hair.

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