Kate Mara Celebrates Dawn’s 40 Years Of Helping Save Animals In NYC

kate mara, international bird rescue, marine mammal center
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Four decades ago, some kindhearted, plucky, and astute human soul at International Bird Rescue realized that Dawn dish detergent — a household name for a household product — is actually pretty brilliant for getting oil off of the birds they were rehabilitating. Wouldn’t you know it, the Marine Mammal Center, “a nonprofit veterinary research hospital and educational center dedicated to the rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals,” finds it pretty useful for doing the same for its own titular creatures, among them elephant seals, harbor seals, and California sea lions.

The best part is, after 40 years, thousands of bottles donated and countless animals saved, I got to talk to actress Kate Mara about it!

Well, er, the animals being saved is pretty cool, too.

Seriously though, Dawn set up shop in New York’s Grand Central Station today with a pretty unique display to celebrate 40 years of being a good friend to animals and those who rescue them and Ms. Mara was on hand as well. She opened up about recent developments in her career, being inspired, her choice to go vegan and her dream role.

Kevin Tall: Hi Kate, how are you doing today?

Kate Mara: Good; how are you?

KT: I am great. What have you been up to lately?

KM: In life or, like, you mean work?

KT: How about a little bit of Column A, a little bit of Column B?

KM: Got it. Well, I just wrapped my series, ‘Pose.’ We shot it in New York, which was awesome ’cause it’s so rare to get to actually work in a city that you call home. I don’t live in New York, but, because I’m from here, it’s so exciting to be able to do that. So we wrapped that and the season finale is actually on Sunday in a few days so that’s pretty exciting.

KT: And ‘Pose’ just got picked up for Season 2 about a week ago.

KM: It did, yeah.

KT: Now, this isn’t your first rodeo with Ryan Murphy.

KM: No, this is our third show together.

KT: Right, ‘Nip/Tuck,’ ‘American Horror Story’ and now ‘Pose.’

KM: That’s right. It’s so nice. It’s one of the things about Ryan that’s so unique is that he, y’know, he likes to keep it all in the family. So I was really excited when he called me and asked me to be a part of it.

KT: Speaking of interesting projects in New York City, I know you’re passionate about animals and the environment and you’re working on something pretty interesting today at Grand Central Station. What’s going on there and how did you come to be a part of it?

KM: We’re celebrating Dawn’s 40 years of helping to save wildlife with this really cool 3D exhibit that shows 75,000 birds flying above our heads, so that you can really experience the amount of wildlife that they’ve helped save over the years. It’s one thing to hear a number, but it’s another to actually be able to visualize it; it goes a long way, I think, for people, and I just find it very inspiring.

They work with International Bird Rescue, which I went to last week in California. They’ve been working with them for 40 years; they actually discovered, back in 1978, that Dawn was amazing at getting rid of oil on these animals.

I was able to actually experience [that] and watch them clean a bird that was very soon going to be let back into the wild after they saved it. It was really inspiring an eye-opening for me.

KT: That sounds awesome. They’re also partnering with the Marine Mammal Center.

KM: Yep. Yeah, the Marine Mammal Center as well, they’ve been working with them, I think, for about 10 years. They’re based out of San Francisco as well. When you hear about the places that they partner with that really trust and take advantage of their product, it’s inspiring to see all of these incredible volunteers and experts who actually know because they’re hands-on with these animals and have been for a very long time.

KT: I know you’re an animal lover, like I said, and were vegetarian, and you went vegan after reading Kimberly Snyder’s book. I’m wondering, since vegan products have become almost ubiquitous, has it reached the point where it’s actually going to be officially mainstream? You’ve got the Impossible Burger in White Castle at this point.

KM: [Laughs] Oh, I didn’t know that.

KT: My boss actually told me that; he said he’d had it and it was amazing.

KM: It is really good. They also have Beyond Meat, like, everywhere. You can get Beyond Meat burgers in really random sort of fast food places as well, which, to me, is so incredibly exciting and it makes life a lot easier. ‘Cause, y’know it can be difficult, depending on where you are in the world, to find an actual meal that’s not just, like, a bowl of lettuce.

Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you don’t like to eat.

So yeah, that, to me, is exciting, and I do think every year we get a little bit closer, for it to be sort of, as you said, mainstream and not so abnormal for someone to say ‘I’m vegan.’

KT: Are there any upcoming properties that you’re excited about as an entertainment fan?

KM: I can’t wait to see ‘Boy Erased.’ I’m, like, incredibly excited to see that. And what’s the other one starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell? The trailer came out the other day; it looks so good. I can’t remember what it’s called. Like, ‘Beautiful Boy’ or something? Am I making that up? Those two movies I can’t wait for.

KT: I mean, Steve Carell is always good.

KM: I love him. Timothée Chalamet is rather talented as well.

KT: What would you consider a dream role or dream casting for your career?

KM: I would love to be in an animated Disney movie where I can sing and, you know, make my childhood dreams come true.

KT: An animated Disney movie? I will make that happen.

KM: Or, like, Pixar. Whatever.

KT: Ok.

KM: Alright, make it happen.

KT: I’m on it.

KM: Cool.

KT: Thanks so much for your time today, Kate; I appreciate it.

KM: Thank you. Thanks. Bye.