Model Emma Fried (you may know her as @instagremma) is using her platform to inspire her followers to become more kind to animals and the planet. She has loads of advice for people who are trying to become vegetarian, vegan, or just a little bit more eco friendly—plus some pointers for models to stay safe.
What's the biggest struggle you face as a model today?
I would say that the biggest struggle for me as a model today is the payment process. The industry has come a long way in terms of accepting and being open to all shapes and sizes, hence why I am even able to model full time at 5'7, 130 pounds. Yet I still think that the industry is very archaic in the way that it pays their models. This is our job and our livelihood- and the fact that we don't get paid for sometimes up to 6 months is unacceptable. We provide a service and we deserve to be paid in a timely matter just like any other working person. I don't think agencies do enough to get our money and I don't think that clients take the payment period very seriously. Because of this gross delay in payment, myself and many other models, rack up credit card debt and can fall behind on monthly bills because no one is fighting to get our money. The State of New York passed a freelancer bill that helps independent contractors deal with situations like this and while its a great start, more needs to be gone to get working models their money that they work very hard for.
I love that you're so vocal about what you believe on in Instagram. What gave you the courage to do so?
I initially began sharing of my vegan journey as a way to hold myself accountable more so than to educate my followers. As I kept sharing my journey, I started receiving a lot of positive feedback and encouragement which was so inspiring! It gave me the courage to use my platform as a way to share my passion for animals and the planet and to educate people on the horrors of the meat and dairy industry and their effects on the planet. Nothing makes me happier than getting a message back from someone who I have inspired to go vegetarian, vegan, or even just skip meat a few times a week! Knowing that I have the power to save lives is such an empowering and incredible feeling.
What advice do you have for people who are trying to go vegan?
My advice is to take your time!! I would would not suggest going cold turkey if your goal with veganism is long term. Habits are hard to break and if you go cold turkey with anything, I think you are less likely to achieve longevity with your goals. Start off by going vegetarian or by cutting red meat out of your diet. From there, once you master cutting something out, add another animal product to your list! You will build stronger habits and it won't be such a shock to your routine and your way of thinking. I also HIGHLY recommend following farm animal sanctuaries on Instagram. My favorite accounts are @boochaces, @woodstocksacntuary, @afelice16, and 1000 more (my feed is comprised of baby goats pot bellied pigs and cuddly cows, its the greatest). These accounts give a lot of motivation and are very informative, I have learned a lot from them. I also encourage my followers to message me any time with questions/advice- so slide into my DMs and let's do this!
What's one little thing everyone can do everyday to be more eco-friendly?
Bring a reusable water bottle and a set of cutlery with you and say NO to straws (or get some stainless steel ones—super cheap on amazon) ! This is such an easy way to avoid single use plastics and papers. Swell bottle is great for hot and cold drinks and Que bottle is an awesome space saving bottle. For cutlery, I just bring a set from my kitchen. It will feel weird at first and you will forget to bring them with you every time, but once you get used to it, its totally second nature and you can start doing even more! Also follow @packagefreeshop!
What are your feelings on the blacklist of photographers going around right now?
I am here for the blacklist!!!! As a model, you put yourself in a lot of very vulnerable situations and its so important to do research before working with any one! This list makes that research so much easier. While I have been fortunate to have worked with so many amazing, not creepy or aggressive photogs, I have been in one terrible situation before. When the list came out and I saw that that a particular photographer didn't have a star next to his name [editors note: the star means a photographer has been reported 3 or more times] I shared my story and now he has a * next to his name which makes me feel so much better knowing that hopefully no one will ever go through what I went through with him.
How can female models stay safe in a time when there are so many shitty and creepy photographers with bad intentions?
Research research research!!!! Don't be scared to reach out to models that have worked with them before and get your questions answered. And remember you can always bring a friend with you if you are feeling unsure! I still have my boyfriend come with me to shoots where I have gotten a weird vibe and let him leave once I asses the situation. Going back to the blacklist, there are names on that list that I have never had a problem with, so like I said, always do your research and never feel pressured to show up or do something if you are feeling uncomfortable.
Follow Emma on Instagram HERE