We love everything about Cornelia Guest! A fascinating background which included a legendary style icon as a mother, she grew up surrounded by artists, designers and celebrities. Her sense of style and love of animals evolved into a cruelty free brand which includes a vegan cookbook, event catering and amazing handbags which can hang with any top designer in the industry. She took a few moments to speak with us about her brand, lifestyle, and what is in store for 2016!

What led you to become cruelty-free?

I can’t stand to see anything suffer. Especially animals that have no recourse. And if I could show the world that there’s an intelligent alternative, I’ll be a happy camper.

What are your influences for your bags?

Mother nature really is quite amazing. There is beauty everywhere. So, when I sit down to design a collection, I draw inspiration from her. Sometimes, in the funniest ways! When we were first testing out the prototype for our oversized hobo, the Sebastian, we put in as many of my little dogs to see how many we could fit in there. The answer is four, in case you were wondering. But really, from the folds on an elephant’s trunk to the colors in a peacock’s feather or the veining on a leaf, I am heavily influenced by the beauty and perfection found in nature.

We have 5 office dogs currently at Vickerey, and we have heard you have quite the menagerie yourself! Would love to hear about your current fur family members!Bruce Weber photo Cornelia

Well, I currently have eight dogs, a donkey, and my beloved turtle, Socrates. They all have such amazing little personalities. They really are like my children. I love them all equally and cannot imagine my life without them. Now that I have this farm, I’m really looking forward to growing my family. I’m constantly browsing the web for little critters to rescue.

Tell us about your relationships with Farm Sanctuary and Peta and how you have worked with them over the years.

One of the main inspirations in my life has been Gene Baur. After reading his book, Farm Sanctuary, it changed how I saw the animal world. I think that book is unbelievable. And then I met him and have worked with him since. Not only do
he and his team save animals, they teach people about what’s going on. Gene is one of the first people to fight for animal legislature. He has such a love for animals. Gene and Farm Sanctuary have really inspired me to buy my farm in Ancram and start my own sanctuary.

Similarly, I think the work that Ingrid and Peta do is just incredible. I love working with them. Ingrid has brought to light all the horrors of animal testing and the fur and meat industries. Both Ingrid and Gene have changed the way people view animals. They’re really amazing.

What does the future hold? Any big plans for 2016?

2016 has started off with a bang! I just wrapped a great part in the film Carrie Pilby with Bel Powley and finished another role in a Showtime series that’s still a secret! I hope to continue the year with more great roles. This fall I’m launching a line of faux furs under the Cornelia Guest brand which I’m thrilled about. We’ve also been very busy at Cornelia Guest Events. I love my catering business, planning parties is fun! I would love to start doing weddings soon!
Five years ago, I started out wanting to save animals one handbag at a time. Now, I have my hands in so many different and wonderful pots. These projects will hopefully help me grow my brand and gain a larger platform through which to share my message of compassion. I’m also really excited to start renovating my new farmhouse and spending time doing what I love to do: admiring and respecting Mother Nature’s beauty.

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