Kat Von D is an icon. The reality-TV star (American Ink) turned makeup mogul and champion for animal rights is set to receive the Compassion in Action Award from animal advocacy non-profit Farm Sanctuary on Saturday. She sat down to talk with Cosmopolitan.com about animals, makeup, and who designs her favorite shoes.
What was it like to develop your own cosmetics line?
There’s so much more work that goes into developing a makeup line than one would imagine. Personally, I like to be involved in the entire creative process - everything from art direction, collection concepts, formula testing, packaging artwork, to naming the shades and also the marketing side of things. I love being completely immersed in everything I do.
Why was it important for your makeup to be cruelty free?
There is no point in developing anything at the cost of exploiting and abusing animals. Not only is it important for me to create a 100% cruelty-free brand, but also send out a very clear message to both consumers and companies out there: testing on animals in the name of beauty is cruel and unnecessary.
Was it hard to make everything cruelty-free? Were there any road blocks?
Absolutely not. The decision to make Kat Von D Beauty cruelty-free was easy and simple. Sure, my products won’t sell in China because of my decision, but if it spares an innocent animal from a life of torture, that is completely worth it in my book.
You're outspoken about the treatment of animals. Can you tell me a little about your journey?
When I became vegan 5 years ago, it was truly eye opening. I think its all about perspective, really. Years of cultural programming have taught us to love some animals while eating others, when in all reality, all animals are sentient beings with the capacity to feel, both physically and emotionally. Everyday, I have the choice to live a life of compassion that not only saves animals, but helps the environment. So what’s so wrong about doing the right thing?
You're being honored with the The Compassion in Action Award at Farm Sanctuary's Gala - what does that mean to you?
It is a HUGE honor for me to be a part of Farm Sanctuary’s Gala this year. I think if I can be of service to this cause in any way, then I’m completely all for it. It’s nice to be honored, but ultimately, this is just another way for me to be able to talk about these issues that are very real, and dear to my heart. More than anything, I am looking forward to being inspired by all of the amazing fellow vegans and animal activists attending.
You always look amazing; what are your favorite cruelty-free clothing lines?
Well, I have always been a big supporter and fan of independent designers in general. Natacha Marro has always been a favorite shoe designer, and now she has started offering vegan options in her collection, which is brilliant! As for clothing, I have discovered tons of great vegan independent designers on Etsy!
What's your most favorite animal?
Truthfully, I love all animals. I’m known for being a self proclaimed “crazy cat lady” but I’ll admit I spent the last few years with the goal to one day meet a cow in real life and I have to say, it was completely life changing. During my first visit to Farm Sanctuary, I got to meet Bruno, the beautiful black cow who let me cuddle and kiss him. He was like a giant cat!
And probably the hardest question: what are your favorite vegan treats?!
I am so obsessed with Vegan Treats - a bakery in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. When I became vegan I thought I would have to deprive myself of certain sweets that I loved so much, like caramel and peanut butter cups, but on the contrary! In my opinion, Vegan Treats are even better. Plus they make the coolest spooky Valentine’s chocolate box every year, that the packaging alone is worth it.
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