From 125+ entries into the Project Green Search Model Competition, a top 10 have been picked to go to Los Angeles for the November 6th crowning of the new Green It Girl. Now I (and the other PGS judges) have an even tougher job; crowning a winner from these 10 amazing women who combine beauty, brains, compassion, environmental dedication, and strong voices in defense of the Earth and the health of its people. Take a look: It's going to be a difficult choice!
Zion Francis is not only a model and activist, she's also a civil engineer, who hopes to "....prove that who you are as a citizen and consumer doesn't have to disagree with what you do for a living."
Ariel Clay is a Fair-Trade activist who knew "... early on that I wanted to help to bring environmental awareness and beauty to this world while at the same time helping those in need," and plans to donate her volunteer time to the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy.
Vanessa Meier is a surf-loving California-based green girl who is also a geologist by training. Working with several local water-quality organizations (Surfrider Foundation and the City of Santa Monica) she uses her knowledge to preserve and protect the Bay near her home. She has other green passions too: "Although my degrees are in geology, and I planned a career in environmental research science, I couldn't deny the fact that raising animals for food is actually the number one emitter of green house gases."
Leilani Munter has been dubbed by CNN "an oxymoron: a tree hugging race car driver." And it's true. Leilani calls herself a vegetarian, recycling hippie chick who just happens to be a race car driver. And uncommon messenger and a unique voice, to be sure.
Rachel Avalon wants to show people how to have fun going green, and her energy is infectious. She's also a pretty serious greenie at home so she knows whereof she speaks when she advises those around her to go green. She writes, "With compassion and dedication, I believe there's a real opportunity to inspire people to make simple changes in every aspect of their lives and show them how rewarding and transformational that can be."
Jessica Williamson is the ginger Aussie looker who hosted the hilarious and fun Zaproot web series for over two years. Jessica says "green living can be narrowed down to respect. Its respect for the planet, respect for each other, respect for ourselves and respect for all things under the sun."
Erika Schmid is not only gamine-gorgeous, she did one of the toughest environmental jobs out there. "Having the door slammed in my face 327 times during the course of three months was not exactly my idea of summer fun. Yet when you have a passion, you stick to it. Yes, I was that annoying door to door canvasser working 12 hour days, trying to convince you not to water your grass during the day and to stop using pesticides." Having canvassed for environmental and human rights organizations myself, I know this is tough work!
Juliana Tran is a girly-girl with a heart of green. She writes, "I doubt I was the first President of the University of Kansas' bold environmental organization, Environs, to enjoy getting dirt under my nails, but I may have been one of the first to do it in Organic Cherry Red nail polish." Gardening is still her passion, as is reconstructing clothes to make fun new outfits from old.
Rachael Joy was crowned Mother Earth in her hometown's annual parade and is a water girl at heart (which is why her volunteer time will go to Reef Check). "Growing up at the beach, I'm particularly drawn to ocean conservation and I am always on the water or in it!"
Karen Pannochia teaches environmental science and for her masters "worked in the Dominican Republic for four years implementing a USAID-funded Environmental policy project. While working with the Environmental Policy Project in the DR, I came to understand that Environmental protection efforts can be enhanced if they are presented and carried out in ways that produce an economic return. I believe that environmental protection and sustainable use of natural Resources can also be economically rewarding."