Behind the Scenes on a Vegan Beauty Shoot

This month, we had the luck to connect with photographer Annika Lundkvist, who planned and executed a wonderful photo shoot in luscious Hawaii, starring cruelty-free beauty brands Au Naturale, Everyday Minerals, LaFresh, Devita, Harvey Prince, Crazy Rumors, Marie Natie and Hurraw! and models Haylee and Eliana, made even more gorgeous by makeup artist Janessa.  Presenting the brands in a joyful, effervescent light, Annika and her crew brought a sun-drenched summer vibe to the shoot (and made me resent the grey London skies even more!), while showcasing all the beautifying potential that vegan brands have to offer. Here’s an exclusive peek backstage, narrated by Annika herself.



As a photographer with interest in the fashion and beauty industry, it is essential for me to be well acquainted with a range of vegan lines so that I can promote their use. Consumer awareness is, I believe, a very critical part of affecting change. When consumers express a lack of interest in supporting brands who test on animals and more and more bans against animal testing for cosmetics are put in place across the planet, we get closer to bringing to an end to these cruel practices globally.

Organising the shoot

In late January 2015 I decided to organize a vegan beauty shoot. The very first thing I did was put up a post on a local vegan Facebook page for volunteers to be photographed.  I have worked with models before, but for this shoot I really just wanted the participation of anyone who is passionate about the promotion of vegan lifestyle.  The makeup artist for the shoot was someone who I met while eating at a fantastic local raw vegan restaurant who I am currently working on photography for (see more here).

I then got to work doing extensive research of vegan brands to contact.  I have been a subscriber of both Petit Vour and Vegan Cuts monthly beauty boxes and have been introduced to many fantastic brands via them. I also used Logical Harmony’s reference guide (link here) when researching brands.


Now that I have done a shoot like this, I certainly have ideas of different ways to approach it in terms of organisation.  I am very excited to do more shoot events like this in the future to help cultivate awareness about cruelty-free lines in general, as well as promoting these brands.



Approaching the brands

For the shoot, I was very grateful to have the participation and support of eight North American-based vegan lines offering cosmetics, skin care, body care and perfume.  I wrote to them, presenting the concept of the shoot as an event to celebrate and promote vegan beauty and ended up in some great dialogues with the companies.  I also sent each company a few questions about their brands, their outlook on the vegan beauty market as well as their favorite vegan restaurants and places to shop!  Seriously, every aspect of this shoot was so interesting and fun, from initially writing to the brands, to hearing their interest to participate, to hearing their various answers in the Q & A and of course to the actual shoot.





The location of the shot

I shot right at our current home in Manoa Valley in Honolulu, Oahu!  This was my first time doing a shoot like this and I really wanted a relaxed ‘girly party’ type of atmosphere.  My home provided that casual atmbiance where the ladies were able to relax, chat with each other and munch on snacks while having their makeup done or getting photographed.

My family and I will be leaving the Hawaiian Islands this spring.  It is not yet determined where we will go, but once I know I will certainly start researching doing more events like this!



Voices from the Shoot

‘As a participant in today’s vegan photoshoot,  I had the opportunity to meet some amazing girls. So wonderful to be surrounded by fellow vegans! The vibe was very warm and positive.  I really enjoyed trying new cosmetic lines and am always happy to support vegan companies.  The photographer Annika made the shoot so much fun! She is very hospitable and made me feel confident and beautiful! What a wonderful way to spend my Sunday afternoon.’Haylee (model)

‘The photoshoot was a blast! Having the chance to support vegan beauty was heart-warming. The products are wonderful and will definitely be recommended to friends and family. I’m stoked to see the photos! Thanks for having me.’Eliana (model)

‘I loved the products, very light and easy to use. This was an amazing project to be a part of to spread the awareness of cruelty-free products. All the girls who attended were super sweet and I look forward to working together again.’ Janessa (makeup artist)



In the words of the brands


‘Even if customers are not all vegan, they perceive that vegan brands are safer and cleaner and they seek them out as a better option.  There is a very real paradigm shift and the consumer is gaining enlightenment.  They are becoming more aware of the body burden connection and how putting on toxic products 24-7 can lead to long-term negative results.  They are also becoming aware of  factory farms and how mainstream companies use many animal products or fillers from those same factory farm animals. This overall awareness will fuel the need for more and better natural vegan brands.’ –DeVita Natural Skincare
‘People in the New York-New Jersey area are very knowledgeable of and interested in vegan cosmetics and beauty products. It’s a market that has been relatively untapped in the past, and we foresee an increase in its growth. In general in our region, the awareness of vegan-friendly beauty products is steadily increasing among individuals of all generations — not just young people. It’s fantastic to see!’ – Harvey Prince 
‘Our design, our flavours, our process, our structure; everything about our company is internationally inspired. We’ve been making fresh balms DAILY for five years and we’ve found that it’s not about what country you’re from or what celebrity endorsements you have. People want quality products. We’ll continue to make them as long as we can!’ –Hurraw
‘There is a strong community of individuals that seek high-quality and effective products yet feel animals should not suffer to achieve these attributes. As this community grows and generates brand ambassadors, ethical and cruelty-free claims will influence the growth in vegan beauty care.’ –La Fresh
‘Europe has been on the forefront of banning animal testing since 2009. We believe the USA will follow these high industry standards very shortly.’ –Everyday Minerals
‘ When the idea of Au Naturale was born,  I wanted to empower women with ethical cosmetics, but I also wanted to create a corporate culture that gave back.  You will see that as our company grows, so does our philanthropic reach. I wanted to create Au Naturale to make a difference in the world.’ –Au Naturale
‘I do envision a growth in vegan cosmetics in the future. However, I find that although these vegan products are available, a lot of consumers who are used to buying mainstream makeup are skeptical of the functionality of vegan cosmetics. In Toronto, for women who want to make that change, there are tons of boutiques available that offer vegan and organic products.  However, this is not as common in LA, especially with the much larger population here.’  –Marie Natie








About Annika Lundkvist

Annika is a freelance photographer who loves integrating aspects of vegan lifestyle in her photography work.  She currently lives in Hawai’i yet is set to move with her family this spring.  She is very excited about the global vegan community and thrilled to collaborate with mindful individuals, companies and brands doing interesting, beautiful work. See her work here.

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Sascha Camilli

Founder and Editor

A passionate changemaker, Sascha Camilli is the founder and editor-in-chief of Vilda Magazine. Born in Moscow and raised in Stockholm, she has also lived in Los Angeles, London, Milan and Florence, before landing in her current hometown of Brighton, UK. She was selected as one of GLAMOUR UK's Most Empowering Nu-Gen Activists and is a frequent public speaker on the topic of vegan fashion and material innovation. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books.

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