Model Amanda Rootsey took a break from the fashion world to combat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This inspirational lady has announced her comeback, but this time as an “eco model”. Amanda gave her time to chat with Beauty and Lace and described her story in her own words in the following interview:
B&L: You have re-entered the fashion world as an “eco-model”, what does this mean and how did the decision come about?
Amanda: To me, working as an ‘eco-model’ means that I will work exclusively with companies that are trying to produce their garments and products in a more eco-friendly and ethical way. For example, they may use organic fabrics, have their garments made locally or do not exploit any people or animals in the production of their garments.
Quite a few events in my life have lead me to this decision. I used to model with Vivien’s Model Management in Australia and have also worked overseas. I really enjoyed the work and I love all of the people that I met in the industry. After spending the last two years battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma I have learnt many things and it has certainly changed my perspective on life.
I went vegan for health reasons and this had a much bigger impact on me than I could have imagined. Not only did I feel better physically, but I felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I looked into it further and learned that animals are killed or treated terribly for our food, our clothes, our skin care and many other products. I also learned that the livestock industry is the number one contributor to global warming.
It is as though a light bulb was switched on inside me and I became very passionate about doing whatever I could to tread lighter on this beautiful planet. I guess going through cancer also made me realize how fragile life can be and I want to make sure that when I leave this world, that I am not leaving a giant mess for future generations to clean up!
Initially I thought I would need a change in careers as I didn’t think it was possible for the fashion industry to be sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical. But I am constantly surprised by how many companies are trying to tread a little lighter on the Earth and I’m so excited to be working with them.
(Image: Amanda Rootsey modelling for the new Sanctus Stones Warrior Collection)
B&L: What is it like returning to work after battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?
Amanda: It’s fantastic! After two years of not being able to work, it’s such a great feeling to be getting out in to the world again and feeling independent. Before I was diagnosed I think I was just sort of cruising along in life, not really 100% sure of what I wanted to do.
Now I’ve had ample time to sit back and reflect on what I want to achieve in my life and have become very passionate about raising awareness of the impact we are causing on the environment and what we can do about it. It feels great to now have the energy to work again – something I never thought I’d look forward to!
B&L: How has your illness changed you?
Amanda: It’s certainly changed my perspective on life. It’s made me realize that we don’t have much control in this life and things can change in an instant. It also helped me to grow as a person in a way that I don’t think would have been possible without going through it. I found an inner strength and faith that I didn’t know I had.
B&L: Has the modelling world embraced you and your comeback?
Amanda: The eco-fashion world has certainly embraced it! As for the modelling world, most of the models I talk to about it tend to say, “What are you on about? What is an eco-model?” This just drives me more to spread awareness of all of the good things that eco-friendly companies are doing and ensure that it becomes a common term in the future.
How do you keep “green” in your own home and life?
Amanda: At home, my boyfriend and our little staffy are big hippies. We live in a solar powered caravan on top of a mountain in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. We have a little shack on the property that we are slowly doing up and we have set up a guttering system on the roof and some water tanks to capture our water.
We grow our own vegetables and have planted lots of fruit trees. We don’t have access to power, town water, sewage or telephone lines. We don’t have appliances such as a microwave, washing machine, dryer, iron, hair dryer, straightening iron and many of the other things that I took for granted when I lived in a house. In fact we don’t even have a fridge at the moment! But we aren’t missing any of it and, while it takes a little longer to do things around the place, I couldn’t be happier.
B&L: For others considering becoming a vegan, what does this involve and how can you do it without being unhealthy?
Amanda: A vegan is someone who chooses not to eat, wear or use any animal products. This includes omitting meat, fish and dairy from the diet as well as choosing not to wear leather, fur, wool or silk or using skincare and beauty products that contain ingredients derived from an animal.
In terms of health, there is a lot of research now that suggests that a well-balanced, vegan diet is the best diet for health and longevity. In particular, research has shown that people who eat a diet free of animal products, high in fresh fruit and vegetables and low in fat, have a much lower risk of developing cancer.
From my experience, if you do a bit of background research online, collect lots of recipes and stock your cupboards full of vegan goodies, it’s easy to transition to this diet with the only side effects being that you feel lighter and more full of energy. A great site to check out for free starter kits and lots of information is www.veganera.com
B&L: You are the ambassador for Sanctus Stones, what can you tell us about the brand?
Amanda: Sanctus Stones is a motivational jewellery company based in Australia. Using the concept of “wearable energy”, all Sanctus Stones jewellery pieces are hand-made using specially chosen, all-natural crystals or semi-precious stones which have been used since ancient times to help clarify thoughts, channel energy and promote healing. All of the pieces are really beautiful but they also have a special meaning and act as a visual reminder to keep you motivated, inspired and focused on your dreams and aspirations.
B&L: Why do you think it’s a good fit for you?
Amanda: I was so impressed when I heard about the concept of motivational jewellery and the more I work with Sanctus Stones, the more I fall in love with them. I wish I had come across them when I was going through my illness as it would have been such a help to have that constant reminder around my neck that I was going to get through it.
Another reason that they are such a great fit for me, as an eco-model, is because they are committed to finding ways to run their business in an environmentally friendly and ethical way. All of the pieces are made in Australia with crystals and stones that have been sourced from places that do not exploit their workers or the environment. The packaging is all eco-friendly as well and together we have come up with ways to find solutions for any additional waste that is created.
B&L: What is your number one beauty tip?
Amanda: My number one beauty tip would definitely be to remember that you are what you eat! When you drink plenty of water and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, it clearly shows – your skin glows, your eyes are clear and bright and you radiate inner beauty.
B&L: What’s next for Amanda Rootsey?
Amanda: Professionally, I am excited to work with more and more eco-friendly brands and raise awareness that we can look good without harming the planet, other people or animals. Personally, I think I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks in the garden getting some more veggies in and soaking up the sunshine!
B&L: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Amanda: I wouldn’t go anywhere, there is nowhere more peaceful than the sanctuary we have created at our home. I get grumpy very quickly each time I have to go to the city! Although I have been thinking about going on a raw, yoga retreat at Stradbroke Island with Samadhi Flow Yoga – it looks incredibly peaceful and a great way to start some good habits with yoga practice and raw foods.
B&L: What does being a woman mean to you?
Amanda: What I love about being a woman is that we are all filled with compassion, love and inner strength. We all seem to have the urge to take care of the ones around us and are much more in tune with nature.