Kristin Bauer van Straten, who plays the deliciously devilish vampire Pam on HBO's True Blood, is sinking her teeth into a cause that not only gets her blood boiling, but should have you in an uproar as well. The actress has opened a Kickstarter campaign to fund Out For Africa, a documentary that aims to explore Africa's land, people and take a deeper look into the poaching and slaughter of Africa's majestic animals.
A monumental task, for sure, but thanks to Kristin's determination, and her co-stars, raising money hasn't been as tough a task as initially believed. I caught up with the actress-ivist (did I just invent that word?) to talk all about Out For Africa, the overwhelming support she's felt from her TV family and how you can own a piece of True Blood history!
TheInsider.com: How did this project come together for you?
Kristin Bauer van Straten: My husband's family is from Kenya and his grandfather lived and worked in Amboseli, he was one of the scientists who first figured out how to tranquilize large animals to relocate and treat, so this has been a passion of his family. Specifically poaching, you know, ivory poaching and rhino horn poaching. Because I do a lot of animal stuff, I have been following this, and International Fund for Animal Welfare brought over this expert from one of the parks there, and had this dinner with ten Hollywood types and said he came all this way to ask for my help. I'm thinking, "Huh?! Are you talking to me?" How the heck do I help him and help elephants? So, it evolved as I kept talking to people and they kept saying we needed to do this documentary!
Insider.com: Why was it important for you to speak out?
Kristin: It's so dire and so sad. It's such a huge problem and I feel like one of the things a person can do on a TV show is at least try to draw attention or shed light. I'm not an expert, I'm not one of the heroes, but there are experts and there are heroes that need a bigger voice. Without us banding together, we've already lost.
Insider.com: Do you have any background in documentaries?
Kristin: No! [laughs] It's just a pure passion project, but the amazing thing is the amount of help that I'm getting -- we've got incredible producers, an unbelievable cinematographer stepped forward, so all of a sudden, I'm producing this documentary in Africa!
Insider.com: Given the way everything has come together, does it make you believe in fate?
Kristin: That's the question I've been asking myself, because unless I'm being set up for malaria or something by the universe, I can't help but feel like this is fate [laughs]. It's just been one wonderful coincidence after the other. My husband is much more metaphysical than I am. He has a much greater faith in the universe and I tend to be more of a " I'm going to roll up my sleeves and get at this thing" kind of person. But the help I'm getting is so astounding, it just feels right.
Insider.com: One way you're raising money is by auctioning off True Blood items -- what's up for grabs?
Kristin: Oh, I'm just whoring out my cast to save elephants and rhinos. I have signed scripts, Charlaine Harris sent me first edition books that she signed, I have our cast and crew wrap gifts from a couple different people, I’m doing a painting of Stephen [Moyer, who plays Bill]. Joe [Manganiello, who plays Alcide] just agreed to do a dinner with two fans, and we sold a dinner with the ladies of True Blood. I sent out an e-mail to my cast, and I got the mos amazing response. I got a signed Alan Ball script and the wardrobe department just gave me one of The Authority necklaces! I don't even know how to price that. There's only one in the world! Alex [Skarsgard, who plays Eric] ate half a sandwich and threw it away sandwich and I was like, "Oh my God, I bet I can get $500 bucks for that!" He signed one of the scripts and had some [fake] blood on him that made a stain on the script and I was like, "Isn’t that another $200?!?" [laughs]
Insider.com: Wait, are you serious about the sandwich?
Kristin: No [laughs]. Could you imagine?
Insider.com: I also heard you have one of Joe's modesty pouches up for grabs. True?
Kristin: I love that! I called it a c*ck sock, but modesty pouch is much better. If I had actually done that I could have sent my mother to the site! Somehow it seems right! Joe, Big Dick Richie [his Magic Mike character], Alcide, Modesty Pouch and elephants. Like, they're just so similar! I'm not saying anything ... I'm just saying the synchronicity of the entire documentary is probably exhibited best by...