#GUNASGIRL: Katarina Van Derham

It’s hard not to do a double take when Katarina walks into the room. It’s even more difficult not to be astonished at everything this model, actress, enterpreneur and philanthrophist has accomplished. Katarina, a Slovakian native, had her last meat dish at age 18, following a breif encounter a with non-meat eater on the train. Fifteen years later, after reading the acclaimed Skinny Bitch, she became fully vegan.

Her modeling career began at age 26 in California. A photographer approached the at-the-time waitress, launching Katarina’s career. She has since acted in movies, music videos and t.v. shows. Additionally, Katarina has graced the cover of over 60 magazines worldwide. Rather than focusing on herself however, Katarina exploited her influence to pursue pro-animal projects, including her now established  VIVA GLAM magazine and Cruelty-Free Eyelashes.  As a world traveler, her future plans include starting a foudation to build small vet clinics around the world. Needless to say, our team was incredibly excited to sit down and speak with this amazing #GUNASGIRL.


What’s your typical day like?

I get up around 6 am, make myself a cup of coffee and check social media. Then I feed my kitties, Tinkerbell and Sparkle, and my pit bull mix, Daisy. After that I get to hundreds of emails. Every day is slightly different but since I work from my home studio, I just end up working on the computer all day long, having employees coming in and out. I go to bed when I’m tired which varies. It almost sounds boring but because I travel a lot, I have a decent balance. I really love what I do.

We know being vegan in the fashion industry isn’t common (yet). Have you received backlash about leading an animal free life? If so, what do you think the best responses are?

Because I live in California, I don’t really receive a backlash for being a vegan. LA people are pretty accepting, understanding and supportive. I love when my Southern friends living in LA invite me for a dinner and go out of their way to make me vegan food. I don’t think they realize how much I truly appreciate it. I get super excited when I learn about a new vegan brand making high quality products. The world is changing and I’m happy to be a part of it.

You made an unprecedented move in cosmetics by launching a line of cruelty-free 100% human hair eyelashes. Do you feel your influence has also helped grow awareness? We know these lashes did!

Absolutely! Every day I receive messages from people who get inspired by my posts. The trend of mink eyelashes really bothers me. Products are purposely mislabeled and the consumers believe they are buying cruelty-free products. Because I work with Chinese manufacturers, I receive their offers of mink eyelashes and they are happy to share what other brands they also supply. I do my investigation and it’s clear to me these “cruelty-free” mink eyelashes are a scam. And then you see the blogger whose name is on the product making a video swearing her mink eyelashes are cruelty-free. These bloggers have millions of followers and it’s hard to compete with them for the attention. As a result, the consumer ends up believing her and unintentionally supports the cruelty. My line of false eyelashes KAT LASH makes women look classy and beautiful. I offer styles that I’ve learned work the best and enhance the beauty instead of covering it.

Speaking of unprecedented moves, we’re so excited about your plans to build small vet clinics in rural parts of the world! Tell us a little more about what to expect & how we can participate.

With VIVA GLAM, I visit many places around the world. I love to do shoots on tropical islands and I often see animals without any help or care. The stories I hear from the locals are for the most part heartbreaking. People there still treat animals as “just animals” and whether they starve to death or die from an injury, they don’t care. Once my company gets more established, I would love to start building small vet clinics on these places to provide basic care. It will help the animals as well as give the locals job opportunities.


How would you describe your personal style? Do you have any style “trademarks”?

My personal style is all over the place just like myself. Haha. I am many different things…deep inside I’m a “rock star” and on occasion I like to dress like one. I am a “soldier” and I love to wear my camouflage gear while on a road trip in the Grand Canyon. I am a “90’s supermodel” and I love to wear my big hair and big belts. I am a “Goddess” and I like to wear my bohemian long, flowy dresses…In general, I love to wear floral patterns because they beautifully express my happiness. But at times, my mind also goes into dark places and that’s when I like to wear black with strong eye makeup.

We know you’re a model but your skin and hair are AMAZING (especially considering your nonstop schedule!) Is there a particular food or beauty regime you recommend?

Thank you for the compliment. I believe everything is energy and how you treat your body and face, that’s how it’s going to look. Many people judge themselves when they look into the mirror and complain about this and that. Then the mind sends the signal to the molecules in the body and they start responding negatively. My secret to beautiful skin is this: Love it! Play with it. When you apply your moisturizer, take a moment to acknowledge the beauty of it. Express gratitude while smiling at your mirror reflection. NEVER judge yourself. When it comes to hair, brush it gently, don’t pull it. Treat it as a living thing and acknowledge it by expressing a gratitude towards it. NEVER judge it. It’s the power of mind and love and light that over rule everything else.

Living the kind of life you do- modeling, running a magazine and a lash line, and contributing to animal welfare- can’t be easy. Are there any quotes or words of wisdom that keep you motivated?

I love many quotes such as: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi. But it’s the everyday people who keep me motivated. It’s me seeing others hustling to make a difference. Seeing the people who are as passionate as I am that make me feel I’m not alone and it’s all worth it. It’s the results I see and the difference we are all making together that motivates me.

What do you love the most about GUNAS & what can we find inside your favorite bag?

What I love the most about GUNAS is the trust. I feel I can trust this brand because it’s fueled by true passion to make a difference. It’s the drive and restless days I see Sugandh and her team put into it. I also appreciate the attention to detail and high quality.

What’s in your favorite GUNAS bag?

– 2 cell phones
– wallet
– pen
– a pair of sunglasses
– a pack of tissues
– touch up makeup


Katarina is living proof that you can be super successful and busy, yet still integrate veganism into your life (no matter how big or small the ways may be). We can learn a lot from this #GUNASGIRL, particularly that despite our achievements, animal activism should always remain a number one priority. We can’t wait to see what Katarina’s future endeavors have in store!

Stay up to date with Katarina by following her on social media.



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