Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of working with a number of super-strong, no-nonsense women, and we’re thrilled to add Shirley Manson to that list. The feisty and fiercely sexy Garbage frontwoman agreed to step in front of the camera to show you what the fashion industry doesn’t want you to see: the bloody, lifeless bodies of its latest victims. Holding a skinned “fox,” Shirley tells fur-wearers, “Here’s the rest of your fur coat,” in peta2’s latest anti-fur public service announcement (PSA). Check out what else Shirley had to say in the exclusive interview below.
What prompted you to decide to do this PSA for PETA? Was there a particular incident that made you become anti-fur, or were you always anti-fur?
No, I haven’t always been anti-fur per se, in that I haven’t necessarily formulated my own beliefs, but as I have gotten older, I feel like I’ve become more political, I feel like I’ve become more conscious, and I believe very strongly in the ethical treatment of animals. And I think when PETA approached me about this particular campaign, I was really honored to be asked and I felt like I had a chance to add my voice to the dissent against the way animals can be treated all over the world by all persons, groups of people.
What would you say to someone who was wearing fur, who may not care about how it was made?
I think for me the idea of speaking what I believe in is not necessarily to change the minds of other people but to speak to those people who have that seed of empathy for animals in them, and therefore you are speaking to them and saying, “Do you want to, like, join us here?” The more people who join the movement, the easier to facilitate change.
A lot of my own fans have educated me on this kind of thing. A lot of my fans are very pro-animal rights and often, when I have been wearing fake fur, have said, “Is that real?” and really gotten upset, and I have had to reassure them, “No, it’s cool. It’s fake, don’t worry.” They have made me very conscious of it, and I am really grateful that they have made me pay attention.
Tell us something about yourself that your fans would be surprised to know.
Oh, my God—there are so many things. Where do you start? Lately I have been spending a lot of time around garden centers. I think people may be somewhat surprised by that. It’s not so much that I am into gardening as yet, but it’s certainly something that I am beginning to get interested in. Mostly because I just recently bought a house that has a garden and I want beautiful blooms in it, so I have become, “I want camellias. I want roses. I want hibiscus.” All of a sudden, all these flowers that I loved to buy at flower shops and cut and put into vases, and now I can grow them! Because I am such a frugal Scot, of course—why spend money on them when you can grow them yourself?
What is on the horizon for you career-wise?
I am just about to start recording my first-ever solo record. My band is on hiatus right now. One of my band is going back into production, another’s just had a baby, another is doing film soundtracks, so we are taking a break and I am going to start recording. I will be doing it all over—there are fabulous musicians in all corners of the world.
Who are your musical heroes or inspirations?
Oh, there are so many. The first name that comes to mind, strangely enough, is Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. I know she is a huge animal rights advocate. I have always found her really inspiring. I have met her; I have sung with her onstage. She knows I am a slavish fan. I find her very inspiring, and I love Patti Smith, Siouxsie Sioux, Debbie Harry—all the great female icons had a big impact on me as I was growing up.
Is there anything you would say to your fans about getting active to help animals?
I think you do your best to state how you feel. And you lead by example. And that, hopefully, in turn will inspire someone else to say, “You know what? I want to add my voice to this” or “I want to do something like that.”