Model & Entrepreneur Turns Her Passion For Vegan Lifestyle Into Successful Business

  • Katarina Van Derham, 41, came from Slovakia to live the famous American Dream with $500 in her pocket and no knowledge of English.
  • This hard-working woman did everything from cleaning homes to waitressing to modelling to reach where she is today.
  • She quit meat 23 yrs ago and later turned vegan.
  • She runs her successful multi-media company Viva Glam that focuses on ethical lifestyle.

Katarina Van Derham of Viva Glam The Vegan Model Turned Entrepreneur

Passionate, brave and courageous, Katarina Van Derham is one of our favorite people. Born and raised in Slovakia in a modest family, Katarina worked her way up to be where she is now. After graduating from business school and working in marketing for four years, she decided to move to America to live the famous “American dream”. With only $500 in her pocket, and absolutely no knowledge of English, this gorgeous girl took her chance and relocated to California.

In her initial years in America, she did everything from passing out flyers, cleaning homes, to waitressing, working as graphic artist, makeup artist to being an actress and a model. It was her passion for veganism and experience in the entertainment industry that finally had her calling and she started her own multi-media company, VIVA GLAM.

On Being Model & An Entrepreneur

“Having an experience in modelling is a definite plus in the publishing business. I’ve learned things such as marketing, photography, PR, styling, makeup, production and more during my modelling years just by being around it. Some people have to go to school for 4 years to learn just one of these areas. I was also able to utilize my roster of connections I’ve grown as a model in building my business. Modeling has opened many doors for me. But even being a model is a business and you have to manage it.”

On her switch to veganism

Vegan Entrepreneur Katarina Van Derham- Vegan Model - Vegan Lifestyle

“I stopped eating meat 22 years ago when I was 18 years old. It was the day I took a train with two of my girlfriends back in Europe. As we were indulging on our fried steak sandwiches, a stranger sitting next to us made a comment about it. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it wasn’t negative. He was vegetarian. I asked him if he believed that us, humans, can live and be healthy without eating meat. He answered, “Absolutely!” I remember looking at him and sizing him up. His skin was flawless, he was fit and looked peaceful. Because I grew up near the endocrinology treatment center where they treat diabetes, I would see unhealthy people on daily basis. Growing up, I was afraid to get diabetes especially because it’s in my genetics. This man made me think that going vegetarian might prevent this. Fifteen years later, after I read the book “Skinny Bitch”, I decided to go vegan for ethical and spiritual reasons. I believe we need to eat life in order to be healthy. Eating death only makes us tired, age faster and sick. And it’s a bad karma.”

On starting her vegan business

“Veganism is what I’m passionate about the most. I believe if you follow your passion, it will lead you to your purpose. Many people struggle with finding it. I’ve found my purpose in helping others. Through a vegan lifestyle publication I want to help people get healthy, set animals free and help the environment.”

On Viva Glam’s Impact On Her Life

“Viva Glam has definitely shaped me as a person and helped me grow and learn everyday. It’s my first company and I had to learn to delegate and lead. This is not an easy thing for me since I’m a type of a person who “can do it all” and is “faster than anyone else.” I’ve learned to get rid of the people and things that were holding me back in life. And I’ve become a terrible girlfriend because I don’t have time for anything other than my business anymore.”

Her Favorite Vegan Fashion Brands

Vegan Entrepreneur Katarina Van Derham of Viva Glam- Vegan Model - Vegan Fashion and Vegan LuxuryKatarina in Gunas Handbag & Lauren Lorraine shoes (l), Dolce & Gabbana Coat (c) & Free People Vegan Leather Pants (r)

“I still don’t see a vegan fashion brand that I could say is my favourite. I like luxury and while the majority of luxury brands are not vegan, they do make some fashion that is technically vegan. For example, I love dresses and coats by Dolce & Gabbana that are made from cotton or synthetics. But I also like Free People which offers a good amount of vegan clothing. Cri de Coeur and Gunas handbags make the cut for me. I believe we need to encourage high-end designers to replace leather, fur, silk and other animal products for ethical materials. And I would like to see the newer brands taking it to more luxury level. Vegan lifestyle should be fun and more glamorous; I am hopeful we’ll soon get there.”

Her Vegan Beauty & Makeup Must-Haves

“I am obsessed with anything Charlotte Tilbury, most of her makeup is vegan and I own almost her entire collection. I also love Josie Maran’s apricot/vanilla skincare products. The Italian brand Sevens Skincare – I own an entire collection (talk about vegan luxury). Becca Cosmetic’s foundations and primers. Milani’s Brow Fix and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz.”

Fashion Necessity She Can’t Live Without

Glamarella statement jewelry

Her Favorite Vegan Places To Shop

“Spell Designs and Free People are my favorite go-to stores for my vegan fashion need, although I do hunt for vegan items in many different stores. I prefer unique, one-of-a- kind pieces.”

Her Favorite Vegan-Friendly City

“Los Angeles, where I live, is for sure the most vegan friendly city. But New York is becoming extremely vegan friendly due to the first vegan butcher shop and amazing vegan restaurants {plenty of them}.”

Her Style Icons

“Brigitte Bardot. She is everything a woman should be. Although she is over 80 now, her style remains timeless and has always been feminine and chic.“

Life mantra

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

On What’s Next For VIVA GLAM?

“Rebranding our cruelty-free line of lashes, KAT LASH, working on a deal with LA Splash Cosmetics and developing a couple of independent beauty products is on the top of our list. We are shooting our docu-series sharing story of Viva Glam and my journey:

Her Advice For Ethical Entrepreneurs

“Do it! This is the best time to get into ethical business before it takes over the world and every company will be ethical.  And I can’t imagine a more rewarding industry to be in.”

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