Katarina Van Derham Interview x Marie Westwood Magazine
Katarina Van Derham is a sight for sore eyes. A beautiful soul born in the former Czechoslovakia, she found her way in America and is thriving. After going through culture shock and eventually finding herself, she has started her new journey creating her make up line “Glamour Garden” with gorgeous long-lasting matte lip colors! After making a name for herself in America and bringing all her experiences with her, here’s what she had to say:
You have a docu-series about your life called The 90s Girl where you discuss your roots and humble upbringing. Tell us more about where you are from and your childhood.
I grew up in the former Czechoslovakia. My mom was a server in the Endocrinology treatment center and my dad worked for the national I grew up in the former Czechoslovakia. My mom was a server in the Endocrinology treatment center, and my dad worked for the national railway. Growing up in socialism during the ‘70s and the ‘80s was simple since the system provided the basics for living. Because of that, my parents didn’t really have to worry about much, so I grew up in a peaceful and loving household. I loved spending time at home. I also loved school but didn’t like to learn about things I didn’t care about. I didn’t like literature, math nor history class. On the contrary, I enjoyed gymnastics, languages and physics. I had a photographic memory, so I would study by memorizing the layouts of my books. I was into beauty and fashion, and I liked to sew.
What brought you to the United States?
At the end of 1989 after the fall of the Berlin wall, Eastern Europe opened up to the Western world. I had just turned 14 and became obsessed with everything Western. I was the epitome of the 90’s teenager who was crazy about pop culture. The ‘90s were really fun for me, and I had a great time being a young girl in that time. Towards the late ‘90s, after I worked for a French company for about 4 years, I hit a plateau. The company I worked for started to go under, and I didn’t see myself working anywhere else in my home country. I was still very much drawn to everything American, so I decided to re-locate to the U.S. I didn’t really have a plan, and I had no idea what my journey was going to be like, but I guess that was the fun part. So, with $500 in my pocket, at 22-years-old, I headed out for an adventure.
Your career has taken you from model and actress to makeup artist to entrepreneur. Tell us about your journey.
Once I was in the U.S., I bounced from one job to another, gaining experiences in many different areas of the American life. When I was a waitress, I was approached by the wife of a photographer who was sitting in the restaurant I worked at. They wanted to test-shoot me because they thought I had the potential to be a model. I was already 26, and I didn’t think I was tall enough. But the modeling standards in California were very different than they were back home. This couple jump-started my modeling career. When I was a model, other models would ask me to fix or do their makeup and hair for them. They always liked how I did those things on myself. That’s how I fell into the makeup industry, but I never planned on staying in it. I didn’t want to make money standing on my feet applying makeup. So, after a decade of being in front of and behind the camera, I decided to start a business. I compiled all my experiences and knowledge that I’d accumulated over the years and started a magazine. My magazine, VIVA GLAM Magazine, is where compassionate glam meets ethical luxury.
You have also decided to develop beauty products. What led you to this?
Since I’ve always loved beauty and fashion, my passion for them has led me to create a couple of beauty products. I want to believe that I’m a good artist and that I can paint pretty well. Especially faces. I also understand makeup products. I wanted to share some of my talents with other women and help them feel beautiful and powerful. Good makeup can do miracles to your self-esteem. It can make you feel like you’re a goddess who can rule the world. Being a vegan, it was important for me to create products that are both vegan and cruelty-free. Glamour Garden is a set of 4 long-lasting liquid lipsticks created to make women feel more feminine. I also have a line of false lashes made of 100% human hair called KAT lash.
Speaking of veganism, you’ve been a vegan for quite some time now. What influenced you to become vegan?
First, I became a vegetarian while I still lived in Europe when I was 18. Then when I was 34, I decided to go vegan. It was after I read the book “Skinny Bitch”. With social media taking over the mainstream media, information travels much faster now. I’m happy to see veganism grow around the world so rapidly. But I’m not your typical vegan. I believe we shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of our lives for veganism. I like to live a fun and glamorous life filled with luxury vegan products and experiences. I believe veganism will soon become the norm.
What’s your ultimate goal for your brand?
I would like to develop a full makeup line that would be sold in Sephora, Ulta and of course, online. I feel that I have so much to add to the lives of women who want to be fabulous. Feeling beautiful is very important in life, and I don’t mean shallow or narcissistic beauty. When we truly feel beautiful, we don’t tend to judge as much. We’re also more content and happier. I design my products with one goal in mind: to make women feel beautiful and powerful.
Do you have any beauty tips for Marie Westwood’s readers?
I have a bunch of beauty tips, and you can check them out on my Instagram @glamourgardencosmetics. But I’ll leave one here for you: Remember to keep your eyes and lips in a good balance. They are the two key features of your face, and you always want to make sure both are framed nicely.