LA-based actress, model, and artist, Bean Dunn redefines the term triple threat. From a young age, Beau Dunn was immersed in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the extraordinary art world, as she was raised in Beverly Hills by an actress/model mother and a businessman/art collector father. At age 18, Dunn began modeling, eventually appearing in Vogue, Smashbox Cosmetics advertisements, and Santa Barbara Magazine. At the same time, Beau studied studio art at Pepperdine University, launching her success as a contemporary artist. In much of her artwork, Beau incorporates familiar symbols of consumerism—like Barbie and Hello Kitty—a comment on society’s obsession with materialism, perfectionism. Dunn’s most notable works, such as Barbie-series “Plastic” and photography-series “Next Generation”, have been exhibited at Art Basel and LACMA, garnering the attention of prominent clients.
After graduating college, Dunn booked her first TV pilot, NBC’s Up All Night; she also has appeared on CSI, Entourage, and Melissa & Joey. On top of her natural talents, Beau Dunn is a philanthropist. After being diagnosed with Lipedema in 2010, Beau founded Cure Lipedema, an organization that raises awareness for the painful fat disease.
We recently caught up with Beau and discussed her artistic influences, Kris Jenner’s closet, recent travel adventures, and much more.
Can you tell me a little bit about Lipedema?
In 2010, I was diagnosed with a genetic lymphatic disease called Lipedema. Lipedema affects nearly 11 million women worldwide – and is still considered a rare disease! Lipedema causes swelling of the lower extremities and is known as a painful fat disorder. The day after being diagnosed, I co-founded Cure Lipedema (www.CureLipedema.org) alongside Dr. Herbst, as a platform to raise awareness. Being diagnosed with a rare fat disease has shaped my life and my artwork, in a society that pressures young women to be perfect.
Being diagnosed with a rare fat disease has shaped my life and my artwork, in a society that pressures young women to be perfect.
Tell us about your role with the Cure Lipedema foundation.
As the co-founder and creator, I have always been very hands on. A few years back I worked closely with the FDRS (fatdisorders.org) and Dr. Herbst speaking out about being diagnosed and living with Lipedema, and how it has shaped my life. As I am so busy with a lot of different projects – I run the day to day of Cure Lipedema, and curate our website with updated information, store products, and try to raise awareness the best I can.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I love the quote, “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” The best advice I was ever given by my parents is to be humble, appreciative of everything you have, and to help others.
Do you have any advice for young, aspiring artists?
Never stop creating. I will have bursts of creative streaks, and other times, uninspired- but I have never given up. My latest series of sculptures entitled Gold Digger and Sugar Daddy were ideas I’ve had over five years – and always kept coming back to and finally created!
What is the one thing that you can always count on the boost your creativity?
Traveling. I am so close to my ideas and projects while in the states, so traveling the world I feel is the best opportunity to clear my head, and boost creativity. This past year I spent almost a month in Thailand, traveling the country and teaming up with the Four Seasons Hotels. I am able to get a fresh perspective on reality, philanthropy, and always come across amazing new materials.
What is your favorite place in the world?
This is a tough one. I LOVE traveling, but if I could choose one place in the world I would have to say Turks and Caicos. I just spent a week at the Aman resort in Turks and Caicos, and have never felt more relaxed. You can’t beat the crystal clear water, and white sand.
What’s your ideal breakfast on a workday?
To be honest, I am not a huge breakfast girl, but have always been a big fan of intermittent fasting – so usually start my eating with a light lunch after a workout. My ideal meal would be a salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, chicken, avocado, and goat cheese.
What’s your favorite song at the moment?
I have so many, but currently loving “Good As Hell” by Lizzo. Such a fun song to blast in the car – and great for strong independent women!
What was it like installing a piece in Kris Jenner’s closet? Is there a particular word that comes to mind?
Working with Kris was amazing. I grew up with her son Rob, so I had known the family since we were in middle school, well before the days of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Kris is one of the most humble, hardworking, kind women I have ever met, so working with her on this project was really fun. A word that comes to mind is: Exciting!
Any major plans for 2017?
Yes! Firstly, I will be attending Art Palm Beach with Oliver Cole Gallery in 2017. 2017 is a big year for me as I am getting married in the Spring – and plan to travel a lot. I am also gearing up to have my second solo show either in LA or NYC!
Words by Liam Curtis
Photos by Natalie Guardado
Originally published in Volume II, Issue No. 001 – Winter 2017.