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Former model Kimberly Barnouin is the co-author of the best selling book Skinny Bitch. Since she wrote the book along with her former modelling agent friend Rory Freedman, she’s penned a few other books on her own, including Skinny Bitch Vegan Swaps and The Ultimate Everyday Cookbook, as well as several others with Rory.
For those of you who haven’t read the book, Skinny Bitch advocates a purely vegan diet and includes sections on the sad realities of factory farming and animal cruelty. The ‘Skinny Bitch’ rules for a perfect body are rather simple: avoid smoking, booze and caffeine, chemical additives, animal products and refined sugar, and you can basically eat to your heart’s content without ever thinking about getting fat.
The New York Times said of the book “It’s definitely the most entertaining diet book I’ve ever read,” and many critics have claimed the sharp tone and beauty of the authors contributed greatly to the success of the Skinny Bitch series: “You look at the photo of the authors on the back, and they are both drop-dead gorgeous. If you look at the photos of authors on the crunchy granola books — maybe not so much,” says bookshop owner Dana Brigham.
When Victoria Beckham was seen purchasing a copy, sales exploded, and the fame of the two authors was assured.
Here, in our exclusive interview, Kimberly tells us about chick lit, sneaky ploys and changing lives.
What motivated you to write Skinny Bitch?
I had basically changed my health so much from just changing the way I ate that I wanted to let other people know how powerful food can be. Writing a book seemed like the best way to reach a large amount of people.
What was the initial reaction to the book?
In the beginning people were mad because the book seemed like some chick literature book and not a diet book so much because of the catchy name and the cover. Then when people read the book they realised it was a vegan diet book, which seemed to annoy some people. It was a conscious decision not to put the word ‘vegan’ on the cover because we didn’t want to scare people off that wouldn’t normally be into a vegan book. Then people started to talk about how funny the book was and how much they learned from reading it. The sneaky vegan ploy worked and people eventually got over it. Ever since the book came out I have had so many people tell me how much the book impacted their life, it’s such a great feeling.
Besides being vegan, what’s the most positive thing you do for the environment in your daily life?
I wish I could say I’m out there rallying for more environmental causes, but really I’m just focused on helping people eat consciously. I wrote Skinny Bitch Home, Beauty and Style a few years ago which is an Eco-Friendly guide to living a clean life. I love that book, it was a lot of work but has such great information in it to live more consciously in all areas of your life.
What’s your greatest eco ‘sin’?
I don’t always buy organic. I try to stick to the dirty dozen list and buy those fruits and veggies organic but I’m not a lunatic. I just do the best that I can.
What would be your eco-friendly dream travel destination?
There’s a beautiful resort in Bora Bora Tahiti called the Eden Beach Hotel. That’s my dream vacation.
What are you proudest of so far in your career?
I’m always so happy when people tell me that I helped changed the way they eat or the way they buy food. I wanted to help people eat healthier and cleaner from the very beginning of my book career and I still do today. It’s a great feeling knowing you have impacted someone’s life. So it makes me proud when people say Skinny Bitch changed their life!
What are your favourite ‘green’ skincare, food, home or fashion brands?
I love anything from Josie Maran, she knows how to make a great beauty product, I love make up from Jane Iredale, Kure Bazaar nail polish, and Amazon Beauty Rahua shampoo and conditioner. As for cleaning products I usually use vinegar and baking soda, they can clean and disinfect anything. For the home I love Bambeco organic cotton bedding. My husband builds most of our furniture so we don’t need to buy anything, and he uses wood that he’s found or given to him or taken from another piece of furniture.
Which high proÃ¯ ¬ le person trying to make a difference do you most admire, and why?
I love Jessica Alba, and her Honest Company. She saw a need on the market for all natural products, especially for babies, and she Ã¯ ¬ lled it with great products. It helps when a big name personality can promote healthy products because people look up to her and trust her.
When and where are you happiest?
At the beach with my husband and our son, Jack. I’m a Pisces which is a water sign and I always need to be close to the water, it keeps me happy and calm.
For which cause would you die, if any?
Anything that has to do with children is a cause closest to my heart. I think that once you become a parent, causes that affect children become more important to you.
Which environmental issues are most important to you?
Sustainable Agriculture, which means the production of food using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, and animal welfare. We spray our crops with harmful chemical pesticides, use genetically modiÃ¯ ¬ ed seeds, and have deplorable factory farms that raise our meat supply. There are talks in the works about this very topic, but I’m sure it will take a long time to implement.
What’s the main thing you think we all need to do to ensure a better future?
If we can get everyone to do a few things to become more Eco friendly such as recycle, buy organic foods and support our local farmers, reduce the amount of meat we eat, and try to reduce our overall carbon footprint as much as possible, the world would be a better place.