(Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
There are many celebrities whose Instagram accounts are filled with preening selfie after selfie. (We won’t name names.) But when actress Nikki Reed’s lovely face appears on her feed, it’s usually paired with something she’s written in support of a good cause, such as protecting animals, sustainability, buying local or recycling. The latter is the reason she’s teamed up with Kiehl’s for their annual Earth Day effort, which benefits Recycle Across America. Reed helped design a special limited-edition label for the Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($29) featuring an elephant, which she considers her spirit animal and has tattooed—in white!—on her forearm. We talked to the Twilight and Sleepy Hollow actress about being how supporting animal rights affects her beauty choices and why she thinks social media is destroying society.
Oh my god, entirely. And I think it’s really a shame. I think that in a lot of ways social media is going to be blamed for the destruction of society and the way women view themselves, because I think we are constantly comparing ourselves to other people’s false impressions of themselves that they put out there and their own persona that doesn’t even necessarily match with reality. And yet we’re comparing ourselves to that and it wasn’t real to begin with.
Everything is now seen through a filter and I think — forget beauty for one second — our ability to relate on any level to human beings is completely changed now because of social media. There’s such a disconnect between what’s real, whether it’s talking or whether it’s beauty. There’s a disconnect from reality because of it and it’s really a shame. I talked to my team not that long ago, actually, about putting together a book of photography of just raw images of daily life that actually exist in the home or in your personal space, because I think it’s so important for girls to see that.
I don’t know, I’m more into manual focus or not. I think I view filters as exactly what they should be viewed as, which is, I’m putting a filter on something for fun, but not to enhance the beauty of something. I heard recently there’s a filter you can do that, like, airbrushes your skin and stuff. That kind of thing just…(shakes head)
Noooo, no. I don’t know anything about them, so I’m not like dissing an app, but no, I don’t have them.
I don’t take them! I’m the worst selfie-taker. Literally!
No, I don’t actually. I’d like to but the truth is, like tonight, this is the most makeup you’ll ever see me wear and it’s still not crazy, it’s just there’s a lip on it.
Reed, with an orphaned baby squirrel. (Photo: Instagram/iamnikkireed)
I think there’s a very great opportunity to use your voice to raise awareness and, for example, certain countries don’t abide by those laws even if the brand requires it. So China, for example, will still test on animals even though the products aren’t exclusive for China, and we use them here. China will still test on animals because in that country it’s the law, so I think it definitely is a conversation that goes a little bit deeper. You can applaud a brand for wanting to do good and being cruelty-free, and then find out later that a specific country still requires it.
I think what’s more important than anything is using any opportunity to just raise awareness for it. I think it’s a great space right now in the Kiehl’s world to openly and lovingly invite China to the cruelty-free table and say, “Hey, Kiehl’s is a cruelty-free brand,” and although they obviously can’t control the laws in China, I’m sure Kiehl’s would really like China to hop on board. I’m actually excited about that conversation because the very first question I asked when I signed onto Kiehl’s was do they test on animals, and they said no. And they don’t. China does. Instead of running from that convo or me feeling like I’m in an uncomfortable position, it’s more of a conversation I want to have openly and lovingly with China and I’m grateful to be put in the position to do that.