Profile: Angela Lindvall

Raised in rural Kansas as a down-to-earth tomboy and subsequently skyrocketing to international fame as an acclaimed supermodel, Angela Lindvall is well-versed in dichotomies. She exists within multiple contradictory realms—an environmentalist and a figure within the fashion industry, mindful by nature yet enjoys the occasional indulgence. However, the contrasting elements of her life make her particular breed of activism all the more approachable. When she isn’t working to support indigenous cultures and help clear up landmines in Laos, she is investing in her self-care. Kundalini yoga, motherhood, and a deep vessel of self-love are buoys that keep her thriving as she delves into environmental work that can often be taxing.

In the following feature, Lindvall reveals the intimate details of her journey to today. From the first moment she felt a sense of urgency to generate action to her realization that her actions must be even-keeled and balanced, Lindvall speaks with strength and brevity. Passion is king and Angela is nothing short of royalty as she invites us into her world.

Since you began modeling, how has your relationship with fashion and the industry evolved?

In the beginning, I knew nothing about fashion nor did I have any desire to be a part of it. Once I got involved into the industry, my career happened pretty fast. I began learning a lot and there were certain aspects that were amazing – like working in a creative circle of people and creating imagery. I feel like fashion collects a lot of outcasts and brings them together, so I really enjoyed that. There were also certain challenges because as a young girl, you’re valued for your external appearances.

Living in Topanga Canyon, raising my kids, and doing kundalini yoga, I’ve realized that it’s our internal radiance that is our true beauty. It’s been an evolution but at the same time I love celebrating the career and opportunities that I’ve had in working with some of the most creative people out there. All in all, it’s a positive relationship.

“I feel like my whole life has been a strange dichotomy of contradictions. Being this nature tomboy going into fashion and becoming a supermodel was a contradiction and then being a model in the fashion industry and also being an environmentalist felt like a huge contradiction.”

What role does fashion have in your life?

It’s really awesome to have created a voice in the world of fashion that I can use to express things that I care about and possibly have a positive influence on others. Over the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to work with friends that are more in alignment with things I’m passionate about, be it sustainability or a positive representation of women. I’ve done a lot of different things, like collaborating with John Hardy on a line of recycled silver jewelry and working with DNKY on their Pure DKNY line which works with women in Uganda and the social issues behind that. I’m currently working with a company called VOZ who is all about supporting indigenous cultures, and with another company called Article 22 that is clearing up the landmines Laos.

All those projects are remarkable. Until recently, I had no idea about the very real threat that those landmines still have on children and farmers in Laos today.

I didn’t either until I discovered this company and was really moved by what they are doing. At the current moment, the collaboration is still in its very beginning stages, but timing couldn’t be more perfect. It’s the 20th year anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing, who prioritized the issues of AIDs and landmines left behind due to the war.

“I felt like a hypocrite in every part of my life and then there came a point where I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to beat myself up like this.”

How did you first become concerned with both the environment and social causes?

I grew up in nature and have been completely connected to it since childhood. I lived next to this big field, catching grasshoppers and butterflies, climbing trees and playing in the creek. My family went camping a lot. By every means, I was a tomboy.

It was when I moved to New York City to start modeling that I started asking a lot of questions. It was out of sight, out of mind when I was living amongst the trees but living in the city I couldn’t help it wonder, ‘There’s a lot of people here, where does all the trash go?’ I also started looking at what’s in our food and water and it was like opening Pandora’s box.

Dustin Yellin, my boyfriend at the time, and I came up with this idea to create a magazine that would explore pop culture and talk about real issues that were going on in the world. Through that, I saw how powerful media was in the fashion industry and how quickly trends were created. The magazine eventually evolved to a nonprofit organization that was called the Collage Foundation. We also started the Rockland Farm Alliance which is still a CSA up in Rockland county, 30 minutes outside of New York City.

Do you feel like all your initiatives have been a way for you to reconcile being both an environmentalist and also playing such a key role in an industry that’s considered to be one of the biggest polluters?

Yeah, I feel like my whole life has been a strange dichotomy of contradictions. Being this nature tomboy going into fashion and becoming a supermodel was a contradiction and then being a model in the fashion industry and also being an environmentalist felt like a huge contradiction. During my whole life, especially right now, I’m finding this aspect of balance in everything I do. I love philosophies like Kundalini yoga and the Waldorf School, but I’ve found that when you become too dogmatic and too strict in any certain area then you kind of miss the point.

“One of the hardest things in the world is to really truly love ourselves, forgive ourselves, and go easy on ourselves.”

How do you manage being an environmentalist while not feeling deprived and not feeling hypocritical?

I felt like a hypocrite in every part of my life and then there came a point where I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to beat myself up like this.’ I think the most important part of this experience is also finding joy and happiness. If we’re living constantly in a space where we’re focused upon the negative, then we’re not actually creating.

By taking care of ourselves, we begin healing ourselves which starts with choices that we make when it comes to what we’re putting in our body, on our bodies, and in our homes. There’s a lot of pain in the world and I think all of the destruction and pollution is a physical embodiment of the destruction and pain that we’re feeling inside.

I love your idea of self-care. If we take care of ourselves and buy good products not only to eat but to put on our bodies, we’re inherently going to be supporting companies that are ethical and conscious about doing things better.

Absolutely, and we’re also taking care of our soul—that’s a big part of it. I really think it comes down to self love. One of the hardest things in the world is to really truly love ourselves, forgive ourselves, and go easy on ourselves.

“Preaching is not the way to go—I think we inspire and teach through honest storytelling and setting by example.”

Going back to sustainability in products and merchandise within fashion. In your opinion, are sustainably made products superior to products made in the U.S.?

I think that the highest quality products are things that are well-made with the highest quality materials and I do believe in well made products of high integrity and beautiful material. We’re often marketed that we need more… Which goes back to what I was talking about before, the necessity of fulfilling our souls.

What is the key tactic to inspire and teach those around us?

I think it’s through setting an example and by telling your story because nobody wants to be told what to do. I believe that’s where we relate as human beings, as opposed to me sitting here telling you how I’ve got everything figured out and I’m perfect. Preaching is not the way to go—I think we inspire and teach through honest storytelling and setting by example.

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