Rachel Trachtenburg Is The Activist We Need

Photo by Hailun Ma, Animated illustration by Shibo Chen. Dress by Carven, vintage beret.

We premiere her band Wooing’s latest song and talk cruelty-free beauty

You could consider Rachel Trachtenburg something of a champion multitasker. The 23-year-old musician, actress, model, and animal activist has her hands in quite a few different pots.

For one, she’s on the verge of releasing her new band Wooing’s debut EP, Day Dream Time Machine. Having been an accomplished musician since she began playing drums in her parents’ band, the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, at the age of just six, only to later play in bands such as Supercute! and The Prettiots, Wooing is finally a band she can consider her very own.

Wooing originally started as Trachtenburg’s solo project with guitarist JR Thomason. Eventually, she had the desire to have a band once again, and thus Wooing became what it is today. “I didn’t want to have to keep being like, ‘Come to my show. My name. Me, me, me,’” she says. “That’s kind of how it started—and then it built into this whole thing. Now we all write the songs together.” Today, we’re excited to premiere “Tear World” off of the forthcoming EP, which is due to drop next month.

As a passionate animal activist, Trachtenburg incorporates political messages into her music. While “Tear World” may sound like your typical moody, head-banging psychedelic track, it’s actually inspired by the heart-wrenching documentary Blackfish, the story of the killer whale Tilikum, once held captive by SeaWorld. The lyrics come from whales' points of view, reflecting their suffering and desire to be free. Much like the documentary, the song tugs on some serious heartstrings with lyrics like, "Do you think the children can hear our screams?/ It’s enough to make their ears bleed."

The main inspiration behind the song is the fact that unfairly confined whales, who are in possession of their own languages, can't communicate with their fellow captives. “These mystical, amazing creatures are being jailed for our entertainment, and I think a big part of what urged me to write this song is how they can’t even communicate with each other due to being from different parts of the ocean,” says Trachtenburg. “How sad and depressing is it to think you’re at least in there with someone who’s just like you, but then you can’t understand what they’re saying?”

Photo by Hailun Ma, Illustration by Shibo Chen. Blouse by Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, tank top by Orla Kiely.

Trachtenburg’s persistent animal activism flows beyond her music and into other aspects of her life. Initially sparked by her mother’s own passion for animals, this movement has pretty much been a lifelong no-brainer for Trachtenburg. “I was raised vegetarian, so I was just always aware of that kind of stuff,” she says. “I watched Meet Your Meat at way too young of an age. I remember thinking, Why are my parents showing me this? I just was always exposed to the reality of things.”

This, naturally, led to her being as active as possible from a young age. “Since we moved to New York when I was younger, we started getting involved with more activism as far as local issues—such as getting horse carriages abolished, stopping pigeon netting, and other city-centric matters,” she says.

She’s also particularly aware of how problematic the beauty industry can be—especially on the animal testing front. We asked her how she keeps her regimen animal-friendly, and what beauty brands she chooses to fill her medicine cabinet with.

Aveda, in particular, stands out in Trachtenburg's routine. The skin care, hair, and cosmetics brand focuses heavily on creating products that are both luxurious and eco-friendly and has a slew of Earth Day initiatives, such as a Light The Way candle, with profits donated fully toward bringing years of clean water to those in need. Additionally, Aveda has just been officially PETA-approved as cruelty-free, making them the perfect match for Trachtenburg. (Not to mention, we can thank Aveda salon FOURTEENJAY co-founder Frank Rizzieri for Trachtenberg's flawless bob, pictured throughout the story).

The rest of her beauty regimen? Quite simple. You won’t catch her applying 10 products every morning followed by a nightly skin-care ritual. Rather, Trachtenburg keeps ingredients down to the bare minimum and, of course, cruelty-free. “I like to be able to pronounce the actual ingredients and be able to understand what they are,” she says. “I use things like coconut oil and rosehip oil and other super-natural products, which is why I get so excited for Aveda. They’ve been all-natural for so long, and they’re one of the far and few big companies that stand by that.”

Trachtenburg also has some advice for anyone looking to make their beauty regimen more animal-friendly: Read everything you can. “Just read. Read the ingredients, read about the company, read about who they’re owned by. Whenever I go to the pharmacy to get a new beauty product, or I’m excited about something new coming out, I sit there and Google everything about them. Just a few minutes of research will make you feel much better about what you’re putting on your skin.”

Photo by Hailun Ma, Illustration by Shibo Chen. Dress by Cynthia Rowley.

So, when Trachtenburg isn’t writing killer psych rock songs with powerful meanings or fighting the good fight for animal rights (or modeling, or acting), what else is she up to? Well, on top of her May 10 EP release and a month-long residency at Pianos on New York’s Lower East Side, she has a video project in the works. It involves an upstate barn, a cult, and a little girl magically healed of blindness. Sounds a little mysterious, a little weird, and we’ll for sure be keeping our eyes peeled for it.

For now, though, check out Wooing's "Tear World" for yourself, below.

Photographer: Hailun Ma
Illustration/Animation: Shibo Chen
Stylist: Sam Bates
Makeup: Nana Hiramatsu
Hair: Frank Rizzieri
Photo Assistants: Sookyung Jung, Casanova Cabrera.

Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Which one, though?

Kim Kardashian is suing fast fashion retailer Missguided, claiming that the brand uses her image to spark interest in and sell its clothing. This lawsuit comes a few days after a theory, that she may be selling her own vintage clothing designs to fast fashion brands so that they can rip them off, made its rounds on the internet.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kardashian's attorney Michael Kump writes that "Missguided systematically uses the names and images of Kardashian and other celebrities to advertise and spark interest in its website and clothing." Other celebrities that the brand has tagged on its Instagram include Cardi B and Dua Lipa, along with the other members of the Kardashian-Jenner family.

Kump uses the example of the Yeezy dress that Kim posted to Instagram, which was ripped off by the brand within a couple of hours. "Recently, for example, after Kardashian posted a photo on Instagram of a dress that was made for her... Missguided quickly responded with its own Instagram post... boasting that it would be ripping off the design within 'a few days,'" Kump continues. "Missguided purposefully inserted Kardashian's Instagram username (@KimKardashian) into its post to capitalize on her celebrity status and social media following in promoting the sale of its upcoming product."

Kump also draws attention to the fact that the brand uses Kardashian's name so much that it may lead others to believe that she works with the brand, which, he wants to make clear, she does not: "Missguided's U.S. website has included entire pages that are devoted solely to the sale of clothing inspired by Kardashian, and on which Kardashian's name and likeness are prominently used without her permission to promote the products."

Some are noting that it's suspicious that Kardashian is not suing Fashion Nova, as well, since the brand most recently ripped off a vintage Mugler gown that Kardashian wore. Though it may be harder for Kardashian to make any claims since timestamps have revealed that the dress was made before Kardashian premiered the dress.



Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.

He previously claimed to be a victim of a hate crime

According to reports, actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested by the Chicago Police Department. As CNN outlines, he's facing a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report. If found guilty, he could face up to three years in prison.

The Empire star previously claimed that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime on January 29. He alleged that two masked men attacked him, tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and yelled, "This is MAGA country!" Brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo were eventually arrested and brought in for questioning, during which news broke that one appeared on Empire and the other worked as Smollett's personal trainer. Now, according to both men and reports, it's being said that Smollett paid them to "orchestrate" the attack.

Smollett's attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, have issued a statement regarding their client's defense. "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," they told Deadline. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."

If this is all true, this unfortunate turn of events should in no way take away from the fact that there is an abundant number of racially and sexually motivated attacks happening all of the time. They also still remain vastly underreported, so it's essential to listen to alleged victims, always.