Animal Protection >
Cutting to the Chase – Models with
Heather Chase set up her own cruelty-free model agency in
America, 'Models with Conscience', and has gone in to bat for the
animals in a big way.
We caught up with her recently just back from her busy trip in
Here's what she had to say about animals, modelling, spirituality
and her latest book 'Beauty without the Beasts' – just out now.
Q. Please tell us why you set up 'Models with
Conscience' and was there a defining moment in your life that
lead you to this action?
A. As described in my book 'Beauty without the
Beasts,' I set up Models with Conscience, not in response to a
defining moment, but through a process of reflection. It
happened after I had been working in unfulfilling jobs and
done much soul-searching to discover my true life's work – my
unique way of contributing to the world while I am here. Based
on insights gained from personal reflection, gifted advisors,
and helpful books, I concluded that my mission was to promote
peaceful co-existence between humans and the rest of nature,
especially the animal kingdom. To begin accomplishing my
mission, I researched animal issues, adopted a cruelty-free
lifestyle which includes veganism, and explored ways to
inspire others to do the same.
Q. Could you speak about what you are doing now
Heather and what 'Models for Conscience's' philosophy is all
A. Currently, my main projects include: working to
obtain a model agency license for Models with Conscience,
successfully launching, 'Beauty without the Beasts,' and
updating our website. The first project is to enable Models
with Conscience to operate as an agency, rather than a club,
as it is now classified. The second is to bring our message of
animal protection to the widest possible audience. The third
is to share our latest news and new members with the Internet
The Models with Conscience philosophy is summarized in our
motto 'radiantly representing cruelty-free products.' It
embodies the four primary ways in which Models with Conscience
strives to contribute to the world: by serving models,
consumers, animals, and companies. The word, 'radiantly',
indicates how we serve models by giving them the opportunity
to promote products they can truly feel good about, therefore
helping them to become more fully radiant and to add meaning
to their careers. The word 'representing', relates to our
serving consumers by presenting an expanded concept of beauty
(we accept members of various ages, sizes, and looks),
offering information and tools to help consumers choose
products they can use with a clear conscience, and
demonstrating that we humans can thrive while allowing our
fellow beings to thrive as well. The word, 'cruelty-free,'
indicates that we strive to assist animals by encouraging
people to use products which do not involve the needless
suffering or death of innocent animals, and by donating a
portion of our profits to animal-free charities.
Finally, the word, 'products,' refers to the way in which
we intend to help cruelty-free companies prosper by offering
them the opportunity to have models who share their humane
ethic, and who possess the rare combination of radiance and
compassion associated with their products, bringing positive
attention and, hopefully, increased sales to their
Q. Tell us about your latest book 'Beauty without
A. 'Beauty without the Beasts,' began as a series of
fact sheets I wrote to inform members of Models with
Conscience about various animal protection issues. One day,
the idea came to me to put the fact sheets together in a book
format. I considered the concept for a while without
mentioning it to anyone. A few days later, my father expressed
the same idea to me. I took it as an affirmation that the idea
was indeed a good one, so, using the fact sheets as a 'point
of departure', I jumped into the project, researching
additional related topics and adding them to my manuscript. In
order to illustrate the concepts discussed in the texts, I
organised group photo shoots for Models with Conscience
members and integrated the best resulting photos into the
Throughout the process, my intention for, 'Beauty without
the Beasts,' was to present animal issues in a way that was
accessible to a wide range of readers who were being
introduced to these issues for the very first time, and to
share with them how they can help animals through their
every-day consumer and lifestyle choices. I strived to appeal
to the reader's eye with photos of models enjoying the
cruelty-free lifestyle, to inform the readers mind with basic
facts on animal issues presented in easy-to-understand format,
to touch to reader's heart with essays by select Models with
Conscience members and personal anecdotes from my own life,
and to uplift the reader's spirit with inspiring quotes from
some of history's great minds, and animal-related stories from
some of the world's greatest spiritual traditions.
After approximately three years of writing and refining the
manuscript, I felt it was complete and moved on to find a
publisher. I researched scores of publishers and sent query
letters to those most likely to be interested in my work.
Through a series of synchronous events, my manuscript was
accepted by Lantern Books, a book publishing company
specialising in spirituality and animal-issues – the perfect
'midwife', so to speak, to help deliver, 'Beauty without the
Beasts,' into the world!
Q. What advice would you give newcomers to modelling
especially since agencies don't necessarily subscribe to a
A. They are welcome to approach Models with
Conscience! Or, they can approach traditional agencies, state
that they only want to model cruelty-free products, and
explain why. Since cruelty-free is a new concept in modelling,
the agencies initial reaction may be negative. However, if the
agencies see enough potential in the model, they may well try
to accommodate his or her request.
Q. Your book is very much focussed on inner beauty
as well as the outer variety. Is that true?
A. Yes it is. It is easy to forget the importance of
inner beauty. I forget it myself more often than I would like.
However, inner beauty is essential and is the basis of outer
beauty. In my opinion, the things in which we decorate our
bodies (cosmetics, jewelry, etc) should be used to highlight
our inner beauty, not substitute it. Mascara cannot put a
sparkle in the eyes. Lipstick cannot put warmth in our smile.
Lotion cannot put kindness in our touch. These qualities
can only come from within.
I think that we can start developing inner beauty by
understanding that we are more than just our bodies – we are
also minds, hearts and souls. We spend so much time attending
to our outer selves – working out, styling our hair, applying
make-up, buying nice clothes, eating healthy foods, etc. In my
opinion we would also do well to attend to our inner selves –
reading inspiring books, praying, meditating, writing in a
journal, enjoying nature, etc. Such activities reduce stress
and cultivate a sense of inner peace, which is then reflected
in our outer appearance. That sparkle returns to our eyes,
warmth to the smile, and kindness to our touch.
Q. A recent poll in the States shows that 60% of
women said that they preferred products that were not tested
on animals, while 72% said they preferred synthetic fur
instead of animal fur. Have you noticed any significant
difference in your industry's attitude with regards to wearing
fur, 'cruelty-free' cosmetics etc?
A. Yes, most definitely. An awareness about animal
issues is being raised, consumer demand for cruelty-free
products is increasing, and companies are responding. In
apparel, more faux fur and faux leather items are now being
offered. In personal care, more companies are discontinuing
the use of animals in testing their products. There is still a
long way to go, but the progress that has been made so far is
Q. What are your plans for the future Heather?
A. Professionally, I aim to make Models with
Conscience as successful as it can be in all respects.
Personally, I aim to live a balanced life and be a positive
presence in the world.
Models with Conscience website: http://www.modelswc.com/