For our latest edition of our interview series we bring you Liv Lundelius, the blogger of Liv Love Mag and vegan makeup artist. An interest in exploring new cities and love of art and design took her to Berlin, London, New York and most recently to Sydney whilst showing her skills as a vegan makeup artist. Liv’s vegan passion stretches from her food, lifestyle to her beauty and she tells us exactly why…
Hi Liv! Tell us a bit about your childhood and background and how you feel that has influenced you today?
I grew up in the German country side surrounded by animals and pets and have always felt they were my friends. As an only child my siblings were my cats & dogs. I decided very early on to become vegetarian by myself and refused to eat any animals.
My Mum supported me in this decision (and became an amazing vegetarian cook), while my grandparents sneakily continued to feed me nuggets and hidden meats until I was smart and educated enough to know. So since I was about 8 or 9 years old I have never eaten meat again. The transition to becoming vegan was then a natural one, after learning about the industrial farming, I became vegan in my early twenties.
When did you first go vegan?
I first went vegan in my early twenties (over ten years ago). I didn’t know any other vegans or had any guidance, I just experimented with the foods I could have. Back then my diet wasn’t as healthy, balanced or nutritious than it is today. I still ate a lot of vegan junk food back then, but I gradually learnt more about a healthy way of living and looking after myself not JUST the animals.
When did you decide to become a makeup artist and why?
Besides my love for animals I have always loved cities, and art and design. I couldn’t wait to move out and away as I always wanted to work within fashion, design or beauty. These industries are widely unethical, but part of what really intrigued me was bringing my two passions together. Making beautiful things that are also more sustainable and don’t harm animals.
How has going vegan impacted your career and the choices you make?
While it is so rewarding to follow your heart and stand up for your own values, it’s not always easy. I am sure most vegans would agree. Once you know, you know…and there is no turning back, but sometimes the choices and opportunities are limited. As a professional makeup artist I also want to be known for the quality of my work, rather than “just” being a cruelty-free artist or blogger.
With my work I want to show that there is no compromise in using green, healthy products, and that you can still achieve the same professional results. Similarly to food, if people aren’t educated they think vegans have nothing to eat and deprive themselves, when in reality it’s quite the opposite; there is such an abundance of choice once you are looking for it. So far I don’t think being vegan has done anything for or against my career. I think a lot of my clients book me for my services not for the fact I am vegan. I am quite sure many wouldn’t even know that I am vegan.
I am somewhat on the fence of promoting that aspect too much. The majority people have no clue about the issues of animal cruelty and toxicity in beauty products and therefore wouldn’t see the value. While I love to educate people via my blog or in person if they are interested I still like to be known as good makeup artist first and foremost with the benefit of using good products.
Has it been challenging choosing vegan products as a makeup artist?
It definitely takes a lot more time to research and find products that match my high standards of ingredients yet perform professionally. There are many vegan “junk” cosmetic brands out there, same than with food. For a product to simply be vegan is not enough for me. If it’s loaded with toxic chemicals than it’s very short sighted, in my opinion. These will end up in our waterways and environment and will harm far more animals, your health and the planet than a certified organic product which may contain beeswax. This won’t be vegan but if it’s certified cruelty-free and organic it often makes a much better choice. So again, it sometimes is about making very well educated decisions, even if they are less obvious. Yet I wish all natural beauty companies would be able to replace animal ingredients completely.
When did you first start your blog?
My new and revamped blog Liv Life Mag started a year ago, but it is a fusion of my personal blog, which has been going for over 6 years and my vegan wedding/fashion blog which has been around even longer. With life’s changes it has been time for this update and a focus on healthy living and vegan lifestyle.
Tell us a bit more about your natural approach to life?
I am a hippie at heart. I just prefer most things to be natural; whether it is my food, cosmetics or just the materials I surround myself with. We are a part of nature and can’t be separated from it. My husband often lovingly teases me by calling me “my little eco warrior”. I am far from perfect though; I always try to make the best decisions with what I know at the time, but sometimes I make silly ones too.
While I am such an animal activist and eco warrior at heart I also had to learn not to become too obsessed or angry. It is often a fine line. It is important to me to live a happy life and lead by good example, and not to be ignorant of the world’s issues. Yet you can only do so much while staying happy and healthy yourself.
What is the best thing about being a vegan makeup artist?
Let’s make it three:
- 1.That you support great boutique brands with beautiful philosophies with every makeup purchase you make.
- That you can show people that they can look great without harming animals.
- To be part of a beautiful global movement.
What’s it like being vegan in the city you live in?
I have lived in NYC, Berlin and London for many years before moving to Sydney.
New York was vegan paradise and even though I lived in Berlin such a long time ago, it was very progressive and vegan friendly even back then. Overall I was a little disappointed with Sydney, to be perfectly honest. Within the last four years there has been increasingly more and more great restaurant options but when I arrived the options were not great. Another bummer is that I live in the Eastern Suburbs and it seems that the majority of vegan restaurants are based in the Inner West. Yet what confuses me most is that there are so many “health” conscious people and professionals here that are really pro meat. I thought that even if you don’t care about animas that it was common knowledge that animal products aren’t good for you. Even in the health food store the meat and dairy sections are huge compared to the vegan options!
Within the last year I have made a conscious effort to connect to other vegans, to join Facebook groups etc and it has made a huge difference for me. I have now discovered so many more vegan options in Sydney since then.
Why do you think there has been such a rise in Veganism over the last few years?
It’s the future! For the animals, for the planet and for our health. The word is spreading and it is the only sustainable diet and solution.
What inspires you?
Life in general. People and their stories. Love stories.
What’s your average day like?
When I get up I usually do some exercise and meditation first thing, followed by breakfast. No matter how busy life gets it is important to me that my husband and I are sitting down for breakfast together. From breakfast onwards every day is a little different, as I am working freelance. On days where I can work from home I will take our pup, Dalston for a nice long walk. If I have to rush out for a photo shoot or somthing similar he goes to work into the office with my husband. Then I check my emails and make a to do list for the day (or the next day).
There is always quite a bit of admin involved being self-employed. I try to get this out of the way, then make myself lunch, or go for a lunch meeting in one of the yummy vegan cafes around. In the afternoon I will then create new content, prepare for photo-shoots or see clients for home appointments. Afterwards it’s dog walk time again, often combined with a mini grocery shop. When I am working from home it’s me making our dinner and we try eating together again, unless we are seeing friends or eat out.
Do you think you have a work/life balance?
There are so many people that say it doesn’t exist. Maybe that’s true for them. I feel that work is certainly a big part of my life and I really enjoy it, yet I do make room for times where there is total focus on friends and family or myself. With having a little one on the way, my focus will definitely shift over the next months and as much as I love my work it won’t be a priority during this important and special time of becoming a Mum.
What’s the best part of your job?
Being my own boss, the flexibility and that no two days are the same. I always get to work with and meet new people and get to travel around too. I love my job.
What words do you live by?
Your word creates your world.
It’s a big one. It’s so important to be mindful of the thoughts we think and the words we speak. They do become our reality and our life.
What’s next for you?
Baby! I am getting really close to my due date now, so the next thing is definitely our baby girl.
I am hoping to integrate blogging with family life and to be able to connect with more and more lovely people in the vegan community in Australia. I also really hope that my blog can inspire others in some way to be happy, to change their diet, lifestyle and beauty routine.
Loved hearing about Liv and her vegan lifestyle? Keep up to date on on Liv’s blog here or find out more about her as a makeup artist here. If you are a vegan brand, blogger or individual and are interested in being interviewed please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All images via Liv.