By Pavlina Hatzopoulos
A lot of the time, models are expected to be particularly submissive, always following someone else’s directions, and not their own. Models, generally, aren’t given very much power over their careers; it’s always in somebody else’s hands. So it’s refreshing to see some models using their influence as celebrities in fashion, to speak up about issues that not only affect them, but also global issues such as poverty and refugees. Here are some models with not only good looks, but also, a voice.
When this American supermodel isn’t walking for the likes of Dior and Victoria’s Secret, she’s busily working hard in the kitchen. ‘Karlie’s Kookies’ is a collaboration between Kloss and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi. Karlie is passionate about nutrition, so her extremely healthy, dairy and gluten free cookies, are not only wholesome but also real tasty. What makes this project extra special is that, for every cookie sold, FEED Project donates ten school lunches to impoverished kids all over the globe.
Aussie babe, Ollie Henderson, certainly started a riot at Australian Fashion Week in April. In between walking for top Aussie designers, Ollie found time to paint black and white tees with positive slogans. She handed them out during the course of fashion week, and everywhere you looked, there was a model wearing a ‘Start the Riot’ tee. Written on her t-shirts were protests such as, “Love Equality” and “Release the Refugees,” highlighting pressing, global issues. Ollie says “fashion is a great way to show people how we feel,” and it’s awesome to see important political statements crossing over into the fashion world.
Original supermodel, Christy Turlington, has used her celebrity status to raise awareness about women’s health issues in both first and third world countries. Her organisation, Every Mother Counts, grew from the debut of her documentary, ‘No Woman No Cry,’ which exposed the horrible health conditions faced by many women. Every Mother Counts donates 100% of its profits towards making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. Christy and her team currently support programs in Haiti, Uganda, Malawi, Indonesia and the United States.
Sudanese beauty, Alek Wek, wasn’t always gracing the covers of Vogue and Elle and strutting for the likes of Chanel and Calvin Klein. Before she found fame as a model, Alek was forced to flee her war torn home in South Sudan. Alek has used her own experience as a refugee to help others in similar situations. As a member of the US Committee For Refugees’ Advisory Council, she tirelessly campaigns to raise awareness of the tragedies that occurred in South Sudan.
The world of modeling has truly joined forces with the world of hard-core charity work – perhaps the most important collaboration of the season.