Inspired, Freeman scrambled to enlist a photographer to help her put together her entry in only a few busy days, she told the station.
On June 11, Freeman posted her contest submission on Instagram: side-by-side photos of a model stylized as both an ethereal, angelic figure and a raven-haired character shrouded in dark waters.
In keeping with the theme, Freeman appended the entry with a quote by the fictional television character Emily Thorne from the ABC television series “Revenge”: “Just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every person. One that we reveal to the world and another we keep hidden inside.”
She said she was later tagged on Instagram as the winner of the contest. The grand prize? A $500 Sephora gift card and a trip for two to Los Angeles to attend the launch party for Von D Beauty’s “Saint and Sinner” perfumes, according to the contest rules. The total value of the prize was estimated to be about $2,100.
However, it wasn’t long after Freeman won that someone found an Instagram post she had made on Election Day in support of then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Von D herself sent Freeman a direct message via Instagram that night, the Wichita Eagle reported.
In images obtained by the newspaper, Von D noted she was “concerned” after other Instagram users had referred her to Freeman’s pro-Trump post.
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@katvondbeauty @mercyhanna_15 #SaintandSinner #KVDContest Photography and water/milkbath concept @jennbischof Model @numinous.model MUAH/wardrobe @facesofgypsy #kvdcontest Foundation @temptu As Hamlet said to Ophelia, ”God has given you one face, and you make yourself another." The battle between these two halves of identity...Who we are and who we pretend to be, is unwinnable. "Just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every person. One that we reveal to the world and another we keep hidden inside. A duality governed by the balance of light and darkness, within each of us is the capacity for both good and evil. But those who are able to blur the moral dividing line hold the true power. -Emily Thorne
“I just wanted to make sure you are aware that even though I don’t consider myself political, I definitely have drawn a personal line in the sand between myself and anyone who supports that man,” the reality star wrote. “My launch party celebrates many things that Trump is against. And I just need you to know that I personally have a hard time with inviting anyone who would support such an anti-feminist, anti-homosexual/LGBT, anti-immigrant, and anti-climate change fascist such as Trump.”
Freeman replied that she both appreciated and disagreed with the president but emphasized that she was “not Trump,” noting that she had friends and family in the LGBT community and that her sister’s boyfriend was an immigrant.
“We would love to be there, of course, but I sincerely do understand if you decide to replace us with someone who supports the candidate you support,” Freeman wrote, referring to the Los Angeles perfume launch party.
Several more paragraphs of a lengthy text conversation followed, according to images obtained by the Eagle, in which both women stated their case but repeatedly insisted that they were not upset with the other.
“Won’t beg to come somewhere I am clearly not wanted. The last thing I would ever want to do is upset people or make you uncomfortable at your own event,” Freeman wrote, according to the images. She also suggested to Von D that the rules be clarified in the future “so someone like myself doesn’t put in the effort or embarrass myself at the possibility of being chosen and then deselected due to my choice of president.”
Von D emphasized that she was “not deselecting” Freeman. The two left on apparently cordial notes, with each saying they admired the other’s talent, according to images of the exchange.
Freeman told KQAM radio that afterward, however, she was untagged from the Instagram post that had declared her the winner. As of Tuesday, any posts relating to the “Saint and Sinner” contest appear to have been removed from the Instagram accounts belonging to Kat Von D Beauty and Von D. However, Instagram users continued to debate what had happened in the comments under unrelated posts on her account, with some supporting her and others calling for a boycott of her brand.
“Even though she said ‘I am not deselecting you,’ when a brand removes your name from the post … yes, that means you’ve been disqualified,” Freeman told the radio station.
The Wichita Eagle reported that Jenn Bischof, the photographer who shot the winning images for Freeman’s contest entry, attended the perfume launch party in Los Angeles instead. A June 22 post on her Instagram account showed Bischof with Von D and others celebrating at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
Freeman, Kat Von D Beauty and Kendo Holdings, the parent company of the makeup brand, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. On the “Voice of Reason,” a conservative talk radio show in Kansas, Freeman told host Andy Hooser she had received messages from all over the country and “respectfully declined” interviews with CNN and ABC.
Von D, a tattoo artist-turned-reality star, launched her makeup line with Sephora in 2008.
Meanwhile, Freeman has said she is disappointed by the Kat Von D Beauty brand, which she told KQAM radio she had used before this exchange.
“I won’t lie. I was shocked that she had allowed politics to enter into an art contest. It was never in the rules. It was never mentioned in the rules as being a disqualifying factor of any sort,” Freeman said. “I just don’t feel that a brand should go about behaving that way toward their consumers.”