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Amanda Rootsey: Eco Model Extraordinaire!
Written by Susan McKinley - Saturday, 14 April 2012
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Amanda Rootsey, international model, was living the highlife; partying hard, modelling for top brands and living it up. The shock of being diagnosed with a life threatening disease stopped her in her tracks. Her life changed dramatically. Now, living an entirely different life as an eco-fashion model and after a solid year in remission from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Amanda took some time to share her story with EFW.  

 

EFW: It seems like you have been on an incredible personal journey that has influenced your lifestyle choices and career.  Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?

Amanda: I was living a pretty different life a few years ago; I was modelling overseas & partying too much.  But in March 2009 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and this forced me to make some positive changes in my life.  I did lots of research, went vegan straight away and started to heal my body naturally.  I eliminated as much stress from my life as possible, started yoga and meditation and found a whole different side to life that I had never experienced before. 

After about a year of treating my body naturally, I ended up having to go down the conventional path to get rid of the cancer once and for all so I underwent 6 months of very intensive chemotherapy.   Thankfully, I’ve been in remission now for almost a year. 

 

 

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EFW: What does being an eco-model really entail and how is it going for you?
Amanda: Being an eco-model means that I work as a fashion model, doing catwalk parades, photo shoots, etc., but the difference is that I work exclusively with eco-friendly companies who share my values.  

It’s going great thanks!  Consumers are starting to ask a lot of questions and the fashion industry is responding by making positive changes to the way they conduct business.  Terms such as ‘eco-friendly,’ ‘fair-trade,’ ‘natural,’ and ‘organic’ are popping up everywhere and I’m really enjoying building relationships with people and companies who are serious about minimizing their impact on the planet. 

 

EFW: Are in you in touch with other young and gorgeous eco activists like Summer Rayne Oakes and Hannah Mermaid?
Amanda: I’m not in touch with either of them at the moment but I am definitely inspired by them!  Summer Rayne’s work opened my eyes to the possibility of being an eco-model so she has played a big part in my decision to give it a go.  It is not just her work as a model that inspires me, but her various projects and passion for the environment.

I hadn’t heard of Hannah Mermaid until you mentioned her but her work looks amazing!

 

EFW: Given that it’s such a new field, do you have many ‘eco-peers’ (young models, designers etc) – pursuing the same dreams as you – that you can network with?
Amanda: It’s incredible actually; there are so many people out there with the same vision for a beautiful, peaceful world.  The success of Australian eco-fashion magazine, Peppermint, is the perfect example of how Australia is embracing this new field.  I’ve met some beautiful people through my work, such as the team at Sanctus Stones Motivational Jewellery.  I am a new ambassador for them and love everything they do and their commitment to eco-friendly and ethical practices. 

 

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EFW: I’ve often heard it said that once you start to follow your heart and your dreams, things begin to miraculously fall into place? Has that been your experience or am I just being a little bit naively optimistic?
Amanda: It’s true and I am constantly amazed at how things work out that way.  It has made me realize that when you simply go with the flow, trust in the universe and follow your heart, then, as you said, things will work out.  After making some of these changes in my life and realizing the impact that the fashion industry has on the planet, I honestly thought my modelling days were over.  But everything has happened so naturally and beautifully that it really feels like this is the path I am supposed to be on.

 

EFW: You’ve made some pretty drastic and courageous changes to your lifestyle; do you see many other young Australian women around you making similar choices?
Amanda: Since my partner and I went vegan, moved out of the city and decided to live ‘off the grid’ as much as possible, we’ve met so many incredible people who are just as passionate about the environment as we are.  It’s been amazing!   We run a website called Vegan Era and over the last few months we’ve hosted seminars all over Australia.  We have met so many people, many young women in particular, who are educated, passionate and are taking responsibility for their own health and the health of the planet.  It’s truly inspiring. 

 

EFW: Can you tell us a little bit about your vegan fashion line?
Amanda: Through Vegan Era we decided to design some fair-trade, organic cotton and bamboo tees to help us to spread the word and help us to fund the website, seminars and billboard campaigns.  This has expanded to include bamboo scarves, organic cotton hoodies and hats and some accessories. 

 

EFW: What are the practicalities of running a business, updating a blog and staying connected when you are living off the grid?
Amanda: Living without connection to electricity, phone lines, waste management or water certainly has its challenges!  We have set up a solar power system but this is limited so it means I cannot be on my computer for more than a couple of hours at a time.  This is something that can be frustrating at times but I’m also very grateful for it because it means I am forced to step away from the computer!  We spend a bit of time each week at the local library using their free internet connection and power but we have also come to the realization that most things will just take a little more time to complete. 

 

EFW: Do you miss any aspects of your earlier life?
Amanda: No not at all, I have never been happier!

 

 

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EFW: What was the best way your friends and loved ones responded to your diagnosis and your decision to simplify your life and how have they helped you through to where you are now? Have your relationships changed as your lifestyle has changed?
Amanda: The best way that my friends and family responded was with a positive attitude.  They were very understanding of my decisions and supported me with whatever I felt was right for me.  This was so important because the last thing you need to do when going through something quite drastic in your life is to have to waste energy fighting with everyone else as well.  My boyfriend in particular, dropped everything and focused entirely on helping me to get through each day.  He sheltered me quite a bit from as much as possible so that I had limited stress to deal with and he made every single day fun.  I don’t know how I could have possibly got through without him.

My relationships have changed somewhat as my lifestyle has changed.  I think some of my friends thought I was going through a bit of a phase and expected me to be out partying with them again now that I’m in remission.  But even though I have grown apart from some people, they are still very close in my heart and I have made some beautiful friends that share the same values.   

 

EFW: Working as a model you must be acutely aware of what can become seen as the ‘consumerist’ nature of fashion industry – fashion that is here this season, gone the next. People are becoming more and more aware of the impact their consumer choices are having on the world – how can you recommend they purchase/dress/live more responsibly?
Amanda: Yes; you are totally right and it’s fantastic to see that more and more people are considering what impact their choices have on other people, animals and the environment.  I think that is the biggest step – simply being aware and trying to make it a habit to consider what you are buying, why you are buying it and where it came from.  We can live more responsibility by trying to live simply, consume less in general and ensure that we are supporting businesses that have ethical and environmentally friendly practices. 

 

EFW: Thanks Amanda, for your time!

For more information about Eco-Model, Amanda Rootsey, check out her website as well as Vegan Era, the initiative run by Amanda and Dave!

EFW would like to congratulate Amanda and Dave both on their gorgeous line of vegan fashion and meeting that miraculous milestone; a year in remission! 

 

 

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