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Actors call for more vegan and vegetarian make-up

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Actors are appealing for more stage and screen make-up to be suitable for vegan and vegetarian performers, after concerns were raised about professionally used cosmetics that include animal ingredients.

Equity’s council has agreed to discuss the issue with BECTU, which represents hair and make-up professionals, in order to address the requirements of the “significant number” of actors who are vegetarian or vegan.

Vegan make-up refers to products that do not contain any ingredients derived from animals, as well as products that are cruelty-free – in that they have not been tested on animals – while vegetarian make-up may include animal-made products such as beeswax.

Animal hair can often be found in make-up brushes, while other products such as nail varnish, lipstick, blusher and bronzer regularly include animal products, including colourants derived from animals.

A motion was put forward by Equity’s north and east London general branch, which called for the unions to negotiate with employers around meeting the needs of vegan and vegetarian actors at work.

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“People may be vegetarian or vegan for cultural, religious, health, personal or ethical reasons. They are all entitled to respect and consideration as much as anyone else. We positively value the richness and diversity they bring to Equity and the profession,” the motion said.

Equity and BECTU are currently working on an initiative to develop the skills of hair and make-up professionals working with black, Asian and minority ethnic performers, and the motion called on Equity’s council to use the channels opened up by this to “offer BECTU our support in negotiating with management bodies for the provision of necessary resources to meet the needs of our vegetarian and vegan members”.

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