How did you get involved with PETA?
I’ve been an animal lover all my life. While I was on Baywatch, the press became
increasingly interested in my personal life, and I decided I’d rather share the
attention with something that really matters to me. So I wrote to PETA asking
to get more involved. They soon asked me to pose for one of their “I’d Rather
Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads, and I jumped at the chance.
Have you had any experience with animal cruelty? How did it affect you?
When I was a little girl on Vancouver Island, I happened into the shed behind
our house soon after my father returned from a hunting trip. The scene plays in my
mind like a horror movie—I opened the shed door and there was a beautiful deer,
her fur splattered with blood, hanging upside down. I shrieked. My father tried
to calm me down, saying “it’s just an animal.” Realizing that he had killed her
on purpose made me cry even harder. He never went hunting again, and I promised
myself that from that moment on, I’d always protect animals.
What you have learned through your work with PETA?
I’ve learned that being nice and liking animals isn’t always enough—we have to
be strong to fight this battle, because the industries we’re fighting can be ruthless.
PETA uses a lot of different approaches— you see the splashy stunts and slick
ads, but they’re also working behind the scenes, documenting cruelty on factory
farms, supporting the development of alternatives to animal testing, working to
prosecute jerks who beat their dogs or throw kittens on barbeque grills for fun,
and rescuing and caring for animals who are abused or abandoned. PETA is tough
and tenacious, yet still sexy. We’re a perfect match.
Did working with PETA change your life in any way?
Definitely. Animals have absolutely no say whatsoever in how they live or how
they are treated, because they have no voice of their own. Through PETA I’m
able to speak up for them and help them be heard. My partnership with PETA has
definitely been one of the most fulfilling long-term relationships I’ve ever had!
Have you ever turned down a role because the movie or show contained animal mistreatment?
Animals have absolutely no business in show business. Once, when a chimpanzee
was scheduled to appear on a sitcom I was working on, I made producers use a
robot instead. I’ve visited sanctuaries full of discarded ape “actors,” so I know firsthand
what becomes of animal performers. Animals being ripped from their mothers
when they are just days old and beaten to perform tricks is something that I refuse
to be part of—period.
How do you achieve an animal-friendly wardrobe? Do you have any favorite designers?
My friend Stella McCartney is quickly becoming the queen of the catwalk, and she doesn’t use a
stitch of fur or leather in her designs. That’s the trend: The most innovative designers are refusing
to work with animal skins, and they’re proving that it’s easy to create a look that kills without
killing animals. And I’ve never met a pleather stiletto that I didn’t like! I’m also glad that Ralph
Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein are now fur-free.
Have you ever worn fur in the past?
No way! There are no skeletons in my closet. After all, fashion should be fun, not fatal.
Do you make sure the beauty products you use are not tested on animals?
Yes. Beauty shouldn’t have an ugly side. There is absolutely no excuse for companies to use cruel
and outdated animal tests. Check out peta.org for a list of companies that are animal-friendly.
How do you want to be remembered?
I hope people remember me as someone who stumbled into the spotlight and then shared
it with things that need more attention in the world, such as animal rights, gay rights,
and disease prevention. Growing up, I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to really make
a difference, but I hear from people all the time who say they went vegetarian because of an ad
I did, or they stopped wearing fur because of a video I narrated. That’s a wonderful feeling, to
know you’re affecting people in a positive way, and I hope I can continue to do that.
WHAT IS PETA? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with more than 2.0 million members and supporters,
is the largest animal rights organization in the world.
MISSION STATEMENT PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most
intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade, and in the
entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and
other “pests,” and the abuse of backyard dogs. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research,
animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns. www.peta.org
(Courtesy of petconnectionpaper.com)