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The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart.—Rumi
I ADMIRE BEAUTY AND I LOVE ANIMALS. THAT'S why I'm writing this book—to help you enhance your beauty without harming animals. Beauty without the Beasts will reveal the suffering that may be lurking in products you use every day, and will offer information, tools, and resources to help you choose items that do not involve such misery.
In researching the topics addressed in this book, I've seen extremely gruesome photographs revealing the wretched results of some people's cruelty to animals. Viewing those pictures turned my stomach and saddened my heart. I trust that you share a basic sensitivity to other living beings. My aim in Beauty without the Beasts is to reveal the truth without disgusting you so much that you slam the book shut and never open it again. So, I am not going to subject you to any repulsive photos of suffering animals. Instead, I will use words and let your imagination and heart do the rest. By using cruelty-free products and living in tune with our individual conscience, each of us may naturally radiate even more of our personal beauty. It's good for us and the animals!
First, I'd like to tell you a little about myself, and share with you the journey that has led me to write this book. As an only child, I have enjoyed the companionship of animal "siblings" throughout my life. I used to spend hours playing with my animal friends—even dressing them up in doll clothes (which they patiently tolerated). When I felt sad and alone, their soothing presence gave me a solace I could not find elsewhere. At my elementary school, several stray animals visited the playground and, every day during recess, I'd give the stray dogs part of my lunch. Several times I hid stray cats under my jacket, smuggled them onto the school bus, and brought them home to live at my house. I did this so often that at one time about six different cats were living there!
Having such a close relationship with animals, I was bewildered and horrified whenever I saw people hurting them. One of my saddest childhood memories is of me looking through my bedroom window at a small, brown dog who was chained up in the neighbor's yard. When the neighbor came home that day, the dog barked and jumped around excitedly. Seeing the dog's joy made me smile. But the man didn't share our happiness. Instead, for some inconceivable reason, he beat the dog with a rolled-up newspaper. The little dog looked up with a perplexed expression in his eyes as he cowered and whimpered. Watching this sad turn of events, my heart went out to the innocent dog, but I was afraid to help him. After all, the man beat his own dog for no reason—what would he do to me if I confronted him? So, I just let the tears stream down my face as I watched through the window's sheer curtain.
This memory came back to me during my early twenties, when, after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and working as a secretary, I did a lot of soul-searching in hopes of finding my true "purpose" in life. A book called Zen and the Art of Making a Living, by Laurence G. Boldt, prompted me to reflect on what I most loved as a child and what childhood memories most stirred my emotions. It was clear to me that I would enjoy working with or helping animals in some way.
Around the same time, I met a remarkable clairvoyant named Rob Robb, who gave me profound insight into my aura colors (yellow and violet), my personality, and my potential. He told me that I have the ability to inspire people simply by virtue of my presence, and that it was my "job" in life to do this. Rob encouraged me to explore career options, such as acting or modeling, in which I could express myself and radiate in front of many people. I had done some modeling in the past, but was hesitant to pursue it full-time because I saw it as a superficial career, concerned only with vanity and money. Plus, I was shy and reluctant to draw too much attention to myself. I kept Rob's advice in the back of my mind as I continued to work and repay my student loans.
Each member of my family, including myself, was at that time working in a stressful, unsatisfying job. Like many people whose work lacks passion and true meaning, we lived for the weekends and dreaded going to work in the mornings. We finally decided to resign from those jobs and take time off to find our true life's work by going on a sojourn throughout the Western United States.
During this journey, I researched animal-related careers and came across information about the practice of testing cosmetic ingredients on animals. The more I learned about this practice, the more shocked and disgusted I became. I began to buy only non-animal tested products. Soon, I realized that I could do even more to help the animals by encouraging other people to use non-animal tested products as well, and that I could do this on a large scale through modeling. Finally, my direction was clear!
I founded a revolutionary group called Models with Conscience. Its mission is to radiantly represent cruelty-free products. Models with Conscience operates on the premise that models are irresistibly radiant when their conscience is clear—when they feel completely positive about the product they are presenting, the way they are presenting it, and the fact that no living creature was tortured or killed in the making of that product. Such cruelty-free products include cosmetics, fragrances, and hair care products that are not tested on animals, and clothing and accessories not made with animal fur. To further promote the welfare of animals in our world, Models with Conscience donates a portion of its profits to animal-friendly charities. Models with Conscience reserves the right to refuse service in any situation that is contrary to the model's personal ethics.
The word "ethics" has different interpretations for different people. Yet, to distinguish ourselves from other groups, it is necessary that members of Models with Conscience share the principle of representing cruelty-free products. From this common foundation, each member has the freedom to further personalize his or her own principles, which are respected within the group.
I chose the mountain lion to be the "mascot" of Models with Conscience. In many Native American cultures, animals are associated with specific traits or are seen as conveyers of special messages. Having some Native American heritage myself, I was especially interested in learning about these associations. A tool that helped me do this was Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals, written by Jamie Sams and David Carson. According to Medicine Cards, the mountain lion reminds us to lead through our own example, and to courageously speak and live what we feel is the truth—without demanding that others follow.
When I began Models with Conscience, I felt that the mountain lion's message summarized the essence of Models with Conscience. I still do. By promoting humane products, our members are living examples of how to be fully radiant and successful while respecting animals. Although we are entirely dedicated to this cause, we are not out to convert every single person on the planet. We do our best to respect each individual's unique growth path and understand that it takes time for people to update their belief systems and change their behavior. Meanwhile, we are doing what we feel is right and offering an example that others may follow if and when they choose to.
We have an extensive questionnaire for prospective members in order to discover their opinions on a variety of animal-related issues. Although, at this point, our primary criterion for representing products is that they be nonanimal tested and fur-free, I still believe that it is important to know where applicants stand on related topics, to decrease the chance of misunderstandings if we decide to further specialize in the future.
There are three main criteria for becoming a Models with Conscience member: a pleasing physical appearance, genuine compassion for animals, and the ability to radiate confidently in front of the camera. It's a rare combination of qualities, but I believe it exists in the men and women whom I have been privileged to work with as a fellow member of Models with Conscience. In the following pages, you'll meet some of these extraordinary individuals.
Excerpted from BEAUTY WITHOUT THE BEASTS by Heather Chase. Copyright © 2001 by Heather Chase. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
|1: My Journey|
|2: Models with Conscience|
|3: Aware Personal Care|
|4: Compassion in Fashion|
|5: Ethical Eating|
|6: More Ways to be Cruelty-Free|
|7: Cosmic Connections|