How do you go from starring in hit TV shows to vocal animal and political activist? Kristin Bauer can teach the master class. Her fame from staring in shows such as HBO’s True Blood has given her a platform to promote several causes from one she has been passionate about her whole life, animal rights, to being a vocal critic of President Trump and his policies. Possibly one of the most down to earth people I have met, Kristin reveals her thoughts to us on the current political climate, Hollywood post the “Me Too” movement, feminism and much more. Quite frankly with all she is working on I am amazed she had the time to talk with us!
Who were your female role models growing up?
I was a big fan of the Bionic Woman. I had the Bionic Woman doll and saved up all the cereal box tops needed to be able to join the Lyndsey Wagner Fan club.The day the envelope arrived, I was so excited that I ripped the signed 8x10 in half. I was DEVASTATED, inconsolable. I still remember the pain and my mom trying to comfort me by saying we’d go to the grocery store right now and buy all the cereal boxes we needed to reorder!
What childhood memory stands out from the rest?
I had a near perfect childhood. My parents were in love, my mom’s only dream job was us and she was there at breakfast lunch, dinner and bed time. I had so much freedom and spent much of my life out of doors. My favorite memories are on our farm. Riding the kids horse, Star, playing in the creak with our dog, Heidi, climbing trees…rafting the Wolf river and swimming in the lakes. I miss it.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
I do now! I don’t think before this last election cycle I was so aware of the word and what it means to me to be female. Watching how Hillary was treated by republicans and even at times, liberals alike, flipped a switch in me. The focus on her clothing, her voice, the way Trump stalked her physically in the debates, saying, She doesn’t look presidential, then blaming her for losing….there is only one thing all that can mean. The fact that she is the most investigated woman in political history and not ONE charge has been brought and she was branded “crooked”….this was blatant open misogyny. And my blood boiled. Not to mention that enough people voted for that bully, instead of the most qualified person in history to run this country with a lifetime of service. It still makes me sad for what it tells us about who makes up this country. I thought we’d evolved beyond this. And now as we see women coming forward with allegations of sexual assault and the treatment they receive by the public instantly weighing in on if they believe them or not, as if they were there or can know….also makes me a proud feminist. ALL allegations should be respected and truly investigated. I do not know which allegations are true, that is why we should have a respectful process. But the angry mob jumps on these women like hyenas. And I mean no disrespect to hyenas.
I have read that you have been involved in activism for a long time. What was your first moment of political and activist awakening?
I’ve had a passion to help the most voiceless for most of my life. My family has been rescuing animals since I was a kid. But once I was on a TV show people asked me to show up places and go on camera and comment on things and that inspired me to not sound too stupid! So I began learning, and I still am. I remember one moment speaking out against Japan and Iceland’s heart breaking whaling, that they are doing as I type today, slaughtering endangered whales, even pregnant ones. And one retort from these countries was how is that different than eating a cow? And I spent a good long while asking myself that very question…and now I am vegan. That was a big shift in my ego when I realized - Who am I to decide who lives and dies solely for my pleasure?
Do you feel a responsibility to keep up with all your efforts all of the time?
I do feel a responsibility and I I also just can’t keep up. I had some extraordinary unfortunate life stresses the last few years and that caused me to burn out on every level. I’ve had to take more down time than I’d have ever foreseen or wanted to take, and have had to make myself lie down. For a time anyway.
What personal characteristics have helped you the most in your work?
I’m a born researcher. I enjoy peeling the onion and trying to see the issue from many sides and ultimately having each subject end up back at "well, who am I?” in who I support. “you are what you eat” and you also “are what you pay other to do for you." That is what it all comes down to for me - data and how I interact with that data. Am I someone who cares or does not about______? So I am a good combination of facts and spiritual morality. Ultimately all we may be left with is our own souls and I hope mine is not too burdened with harming others.
What has been your most memorable victory?
It's very hard to measure how much help I have actually been. I show up and talk about stuff and then who knows if I was actually part of why some bill passed or not.
It takes a village to make change so I am one piece of the right side of history and that is enough for me. I think where I feel I can most measure my triumphs are the rescue animals I have in my home. If I had purchased a dog I would have left mine to die in the shelters. We have plenty of homes to stop the killing, but too many homes have these odd ideas about how they can only love a certain type of DNA. If we can evolve beyond this idea of only loving pure bloods we will stop killing 5 million cats and dogs a year, that are identical to the ones I cherish in my home, who I literally could not love more. No one should die because they don't have papers. Who among us could pass the pure blood test?
Do you think the treatment of women in the film and tv industry is any better now than when you first started your career?
I’m going to quote Michelle Pfeiffer. Yes, there are more opportunities…for Meryl Streep. So, the answer is nope. In fact, per the numbers, women get less speaking roles now than in the past. It’s down to 40%, and we are 51% of the population. I am also living it now. The amount of opportunities I have to work, after being on a huge show, well, more than one, are a tiny sliver of what I had when I was a nobody but even ten years younger. I just saw a report of the facts and they are truly dis-heartening. Women at 40 are allowed only 24% of the roles and for a woman at 60 can fight over just 2% of the roles written. And women writers fair no better at only 25%. Executive Producers 26%, Creators 22%, Directors 17%, Directors of Photography only 3%!…..it’s all sad.
I also have written three of the most diverse scripts possibly ever written and I can’t get anyone in power to read them because I am a new writer AND female. And my stories are damn good.
It’s truly a boys club. Unless men let us in and women then help other women get in, this will take way too long to change.
Do you have any advice for young women trying to pursue an acting career?
I always ask them if there is anything else that they love to do. If they say yes, I tell them to pursue that. Acting was right for me, but party because I didn’t have another plan. At times I wished I had. I have loved acting, and also have had some hard times in this career.
But I must also say that in this changing “gig” economy, that is now true of most careers out there, so If one is inescapably drawn to it, I advise getting in to an acting class. It will teach one valuable skills but also provide a community. One needs a group, and support, to get started and also to weather the ups and downs.
What is a typical day/week like for you?
I don't think I have a typical week! That is the thing with my life, it’s never dull! I am always feeling like there is more to do than I can in a day, a week, a month...
between pursuing acting work, working on my writing, trying to save animals from torture and annihilation, working on staying informed politically so I can help in any way to fight the oppression of this racist administration….and then I try to be with my animals and my husband and in nature.
I walk the dogs at least once a day. I love that routine so much.
I love gardening! I’m working on transforming my yard to a low water garden…and it’s heavy labor that I enjoy….I just have a billion things always going at once.
I imagine a life someday that has more of a regular schedule with morning yoga and tea with friends and a walk in the woods ….I don’t know when it will happen but it sounds so good!
What gives you joy?
Pure joy I get from nature, animals and art. Humans are a mixed bag.
What cause are you most passionate about now?
My writing. I’ve written three TV pilots, a move screen play, and a book. I also am headed back in to my art studio to begin painting again. I was an art major and that was my first love.
If you could pass a note to Donald Trump what would it say?
Since he is known for not reading, I’d send him something he can understand:
Follow Kristin on Instagram @kristinbauer