If you don't know her as vampire Pam from HBO's "True Blood
," you may recognize Kristin Bauer
from "Dark Angel
" or from the classic "Seinfeld
" episode where she played Jerry's "Man Hands" girlfriend, Gillian.
Kristin recently talked to Starpulse about her passionate advocacy for animal welfare, as well as her role as a vampire. She has worked with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Tails for Whales campaign, which raises awareness about the threats facing whales and their habitats, including commercial whaling and climate change.
Starpulse: When you started working with IFAW, what is it about this particular organization that made you want to become a part of it?
Kristen Bauer: Well, it's again how I find my animals, because they found me. A few things happened in two weeks. My brother-in-law is their architect, he did their landscaping and won an award for it on Cape Cod, so my sister was aware of IFAW, so she, for Christmas, gave me a donation to IFAW. Then the certification and the stuffed animal came in the mail, and my dog was running around with the stuffed animal, and that day I was contacted by IFAW and they asked me to do the voiceover for their DVDs. I thought that was an interesting coincidence, so I went to meet her. I heard about the programs they were doing, and they sounded hands-on and involved, but also had enough experience to get the job done. Which I think is an interesting combination, because I think there are a lot of groups that have the best of intentions, but it is mainly volunteer and it is very difficult to get results. I
Are you involved politically in the Whale Protection Act of 2009 that IFAW is supporting?
Yeah, I am going to do what I can and show up when I can. They had a kickoff in DC in May, which I wasn't able to make. Anytime I can show up if I'm not shooting, I will try.
What future projects do you have coming up with IFAW? What other campaigns would you like to work with?
Well, I am marrying a South African in the next couple of weeks, and I would love to go South Africa and meet the woman I mentioned before working with dogs and cats. I would love to see what she is doing with them on her own.
Image © IFAW Tails for Whales
Since you are so heavily involved in media, what's your opinion on TV shows like "Whale Wars," which actively fight against the whaling industry but also seems to reinforce the opposition because of the melodramatic narratives that they pose?
I haven't seen it yet, but I saw the documentary "Shark Water," and I saw what is happening with de-finning sharks, which is one of the most sad things I have ever seen. It is fantastically sad and ridiculous. I believe that about 90 or more percent of our sharks have their limbs cut off, and it is really hard to fight for such a non-popular creature. We are all primordially afraid of sharks, but they are responsible for the air we breathe; they are part of the underwater eco-system that creates oxygen from the plankton. If sharks are diminishing, then we run out of plankton and that is a problem.
In that documentary I saw the Sea Shepard and I loved him. Because you are so mad when you are watching it when you see people doing this all to use just 3 percent of the fin in a soup. They are ending life on Earth for an appetizer, not to cure cancer, but for an appetizer, for lunch! So you see the Sea Shepard come in, and it is like some great John Wayne
movie and he comes out there because it is illegal, but there is not police out there, and he gets on the megaphone yelling at these people. The one thing that we need is just to pull the curtain back from the wizard.
I think people are inherently good. You just tell people that the dog they are buying in a pet store came from a horrible life and you are supporting a horrible industry, and if you go to shelters you can still get a wonderful dog. They are all dogs, all great dogs whether they have papers or not. I have had so many people say they didn't know and have gone to a shelter and gotten their dog there. I think if you just tell people, they can get interested. I also like "Dog Town," which highlights the Best Friends Sanctuary, and so I was happy "Whale Wars" was coming on. I also worry about any time we want to fight the opposition, because there is always a line there. It takes two to fight. I want to highlight what is happening so people can change in their daily lives, but I don't want to give screen time to support the other side and make a game out of this sort of thing.
And then you have shows like "Deadliest Catch," which is the opposite of "Whale Wars" to an extent, and I am having trouble figuring out how problematic they are to each other.
Right, because it has to boil down at some point to the actions you take from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. What do we do about it today. I have been trying to look at every product I purchase. Who am I supporting? Are the people in the factories being treated fairly? It isn't easy, but I buy rechargeable batteries, recycled paper products. Just start with what you can do, try, and you will feel better. If you don't, you are not my audience, you are not my people.
I think you hit a strong point, like you said earlier, people shut down when they realize the problem is bigger than themselves. And, with just taking a little step, like making a donation for Tails For Whales, simply taking a photo and sending it in, or buying one product over another, it is a slow but steady way to improvement.
You can do that so easily, and I think it really defines who you are as a person. Say we are on the Titanic. I am not going to be someone who says, 'Ah, screw it.' I am going to be someone bailing the boat until the last second. I think it is hard in life because we are so overwhelmed, and we don't have time to research companies, but you can look at it and ask yourself who you are. It is a big question, and someone who doesn't want to know where their food came from, that is a deciding moment. Ok, that is fine, but don't by default support something that if you saw you would not support it, but because you don't see it, don't care. You don't want to find out ten years from now you have been supporting horrible animal testing because it is the mascara you have always bought. That is a bad feeling, don't do it by default. Just start somewhere easy. Whales For Tails is just so easy.
Now, trying to segue this into your work with "True Blood"...
Yeah, speaking of animals! Speaking of sharks in the top of the food chain! Pam...
So, about Pam...You mentioned in other interviews that you enjoy vampire narratives.
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