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Something To Sink Your Teeth Into – A Chat with TRUE BLOOD’s Pam!

Hello to everyone at Live For Films. This is my first interview for LFF, and a little while ago I sat down with Kristin Bauer van Straten (Pam from HBO’s TRUE BLOOD series) to have a talk. It’s not your usual stuff, in that I made an effort to get to know her as a bit, and not just grilling her about her character.

Lack of spoiler: I didn’t want to ask all about Pam’s character arc on True Blood. Or, how it was to do that guest starring role in Bones. I’ve seen those things. So have you. This is going to be a bit about getting to know Kristen Bauer van Straten as a person.

Strangely, the bloodthirsty and smokin’ hot vampire lady doesn’t even like her steak rare. In fact she doesn’t even eat it at all. So much for method acting.

Holly: First off, Hello, Kristin. It’s nice to finally ‘meet’ you. (We’d been playing what-time-for- the-interview tag all weekend)
Kristin Bauer: Thank you!

Kristin is a painter as well as long-time actress.

In your real life how often do you get to paint?

KB: It’s less and less. Especially with the success of True Blood. This is great, because there was a time when I got to paint a lot more, and watch my bank account go down and down. So now my bank account is going up and up, which gives me more peace of mind. You know, the more broke you are, the more stressed you are. My dad used to say,” Being poor is time-consuming”. And, I…(pause) … I really understand that. As an actor. You’re rich, you’re broke. You’re rich, you’re broke again.

And you’ve been in Hollywood what, like 15 years?

KB: Yeah! I started in ’94, really. So probably moved there ’92 or 93. Started a little bit of acting in ’93 and really working in ’94. So…I …it’s more concentrated time painting now, that it’s smaller. Since I have less time. Then I got married, which is extremely time consuming.

You’ve been married about a year, right?

KB: Right. I added a guy… (pause).

And that takes time from your day…

KB: Right! I’ve got two dogs and a husband. (This segued into our former single lives and how now we have to be ‘aware of his feelings’, like …do I have to wait for you to see that movie?) He wants to see the action movie, and I want to see the chick flicks.

Like that French movie with the subtitles?

KB: Yes, he wants to see stuff like Die Hard 4, though I like those too. So between that and the environmental stuff that we do together… my other favorite thing to do is read. These are all things I cherish. I have a Kindle, but am not a huge fan. I like real books. On Amazon I buy used books, so a new tree is not cut down. Some books you can’t get on Kindle yet. Abri loves it, though.

How have you enjoyed Dragon*Con?

KB: You know, it’s been pretty interesting. I’ve been pretty much here from 10-7 every day, and maybe go to a panel each day. So today I got to walk around the art show. It was really beautiful. The other thing that’s fun and very interesting… is…after now… I don’t know, how many fan interactions… you start to hear a similar thing over and over. So you hear what lines resonated which storylines they love. You hear what they like about what you’re doing and it’s very consistent. You heard three or four things over this entire con.

Television is a very passive thing, so you never know, until you come to something like this if people like it. And something like this lets you know people like your work.

KB: Yes. Yes… that’s it.

Do you talk here (at the con) about things that concern you personally? Like animal activism or vegetarianism…have people approached you talking about that?

KB: Yes, I do. I think my website is good for that, or on my twitter. So like-minded people can unite. That’s a great thing for me; there’ll be about 80% talk about True Blood, since that’s what brought us together. But then there’s a subdivision, for people who like animals. I hear so often that people really respond to it. I don’t… I really think that there’s a vast majority of people who love nature…who aren’t aware… how…

Like what to do, activist-wise?

KB: Yes! They’re not aware of what they can do, so that’s what I am trying to do. Do-able things in 5 minutes that you can do, that’s not expensive.

Like the water bottles?

KB: Right… on my website there’s a link to a water bottle that has a built in filter for you. And it filters the water better then bottled water… and it’s only $40 a year. So I use cloth bags, which I’ve been doing for a while. Today I collected everything plastic from these four days and looked for a recycling bin. It took me 10 minutes! The trash full of plastic is putting toxic trash into the earth. Throwing away a plastic bottle is really no different then what BP did. We don’t really know, and understand… I’m just trying to make people aware.

I know this is a wacky question but I have a friend who writes for a makeup-blog and she wanted to know what makeup you wear, because you always look so great in photos out on the town.

KB: My personal make-up? –You can tell this is pretty much the last question she expected.

Yep. Megan made me ask you, she’s dying to know.

KB: I am a huge fan of the Bare Minerals make-up. I use it everywhere I go. (Note: she always looked great at Dragon*Con, despite the crummy fluorescent lighting) They do no testing on animals. I just don’t buy any French cosmetics. Because all, almost all of them test on animals. Even L’Oreal, Lancôme…forget about it.

In this country, they say they don’t do that.

KB: Right, but that’s the thing, the parent companies do. Unless I know what they don’t do that. I mean, I used to love Shisedo. And they test. So, Bare Minerals and cherry chapstick. That’s it. (now you know all her secrets)

What about incorporating your art prints on your canvas bags and selling them from your site?

KB: That’s a good idea! I’ve been thinking of that. And of doing a “Pam” line of bags with quotes and such. Something like, “Blah blah vampire emergency, blah” on it. Or: “You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?” on a bag made of organic cloth or hemp. I am researching what’s the least impactful way to make a bag. (This is where she’s interrupted by a nice fanboy who tells her she’s so much prettier in person. It’s true. He even said ‘Blah, blah…vampire emergency, blah’ to her.) She smiled.

Do you know you just made that guy’s day? So you’re going to try and do the bags…

BB: Yes —

If you get that going, would you want to have a plug on HBO about it?

KB: I’d probably do it through Amazon. And the fan sites have been really wonderful about helping promote it. And the proceeds would go through to IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and to help the Whales. My husband Abri wrote a song for that on his album, Sunlight and Shadows.

Do you ask Abri to play for you every night? (She laughed at this) I ask because I met someone in NYC who was learning Flamenco guitar, and we decided if we were ever roommates that he’d play me to sleep nightly. If I were you, I’d love that.

KB: Isn’t it the most relaxing, Zen music? That guitar—and his voice is so nice! Right now, through Amazon, if people order his CD, we’ll send an autographed photo of me with it. It will be personalized to you.

How long were you dating before you married?

KB: About four months! (huge smile here) — We’d had a family reunion planned at my mom’s farm already, so everybody was going to be there. The tents and catering were done. The whole day was done. So, we just tagged onto that. We didn’t have to do invitations. It became a wedding. We did it all as Eco as we could. We did field-flowers. Though, it wasn’t a vegetarian meal. My family is all Wisconsin people. So it was bratwurst and corn and meat. We had good Germanic food. When I do eat it, I only eat free-range meats. Factory farming is so bad. There are two choices for people, I think. One, how that animal was raised. Was it given a natural, god-given life? And the second is how you feel about something that was killed for your meal. Those are two very separate issues. And I think they’re both very important. Definitely your viewpoint on killing is very personal. The viewpoint on how the animal suffered is… I don’t care how you slice it, it’s wrong. None of us need to eat meat that suffered. None of us need to eat meat three times a day.

And then we have all these food safety issues, and hamburger recalls…

KB: Exactly! Cows are not meant to eat corn. They’re meant to eat grass. I just don’t feel they’re as healthy as nature and god can make. So that’s my first thing. So when I travel, I try to get it, but it’s not easy. My husband is from South Africa. So we try to meet in the middle on food. It’s in his culture. But they don’t have factory farming like in the US, it’s all free range.

How long have you been a vegetarian?

KB: For about 15 years, going into it gradually, eliminating meats one by one.

Does your family give you grief about it?

Actually, two of my nieces are veggie now. And my whole family is free range. (This caused me to picture a bunch of Wisconsin famer-types with fangs roaming the hillside. I laughed and explained it to her.)

What do you think of all the costumed people here?

KB: I didn’t see too much, except when walking to the panels. But I did take footage for my husband. He was rehearsing for a gig he has, so could not be here at Dragon*Con.

We then talked about how crazy the convention atmosphere is and Kristin was kind enough to give me one of Abri’s CD’s. I’ve listened to like a half-dozen times already. On it is a song he wrote just for her, called Monet.I think if you take a listen to it on her site, you’ll maybe see why someone who’s as talented and passionate as she is fell in love with him. If I were her, I would totally make him play music for me every night.

So that’s the veggie-vampire Kristin Bauer van Straten. I hope you liked reading this as much as I liked talking to her, and getting to know a bit about the woman who plays the vampire with the “lesbian weirdness” on HBO’s True Blood.

She’s now a series regular and it seems that the Witchy problems of the Sookie Stackhouse books which the show is based on have resolved themselves for the time being. But since Vampire King Russell has come back now, it seems that things at our favorite vamp haunts Bon Temps and Fangtasia are going to heat up in season five.

Stay tuned to find out what happens next season on TRUE BLOOD and keep up with Kristin on her twitter and facebook accounts: @BauervanStraten and or on Facebook as “The VanStratens”.
I’m on the tweety:@MediaTsarina


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