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Transforming the modeling industry from the inside: meet anne therese gennari

Transforming the modeling industry from the inside: meet anne therese gennari

Aug 13, 2019



We met Anne in San Francisco. Having recruited her through Instagram for our fall catalog shoot, we were excited to get to know this eco-warrior and learn more about her mission. As a co-founder of Role Models Management, an ethical modeling agency now based in New York and Los Angeles, Anne has set out to change the modeling industry for the better by empowering models and giving them a voice to use their platforms for good. It’s a mission we wholeheartedly support and are excited to follow. Read on to learn about the inspiration behind the agency, the tactics it’s using to change the game, and Anne’s thoughts on slowing down and living a more mindful life.


In The Responsible Flannel and Sunrise Somewhere Pullover 


Anne, how did growing up in rural Sweden shape your view on nature and how we protect it?

I grew up on the countryside of Sweden, with a bird watching dad and a mom who would take me on hour long night walks through our surrounding open fields. As kids we would go on family vacations by bike (yes I had to lug around my own shit) and camp out in tents when other families took flights down to Spain. But I never asked for anything else and, looking back, those simple trips are what brings me the warmest memories.

So yes, I grew up with a closeness and respect for nature that many other kids don’t get and for that I am super grateful. However, it wasn’t until I moved to New York and was taken outside of my small-town bubble that I realized that the world is actually like. I remember being in shock over the amount of to-go containers and plastic wear that would fill the garbage cans in Bryant Park at lunch every single day and how frequently people went for that Starbucks coffee. I thought I had been a good eco-warrior by turning off the tap, biking to school and recycling everything in my way, but it hit me then that the problem at hand is so much larger; it’s about human consciousness and behavioural patterns that subconsciously shape the way we live. So that’s when I decided to make it my mission to work for the planet. 


In the Sway Button Down Shirt Dress


What brought you to the Bay area?

Love, haha! No, seriously, my boyfriend at the time and I had just started to get real about stuff and I remember returning to Brooklyn from a month back in Sweden when he gave me the news that he had a job offer in San Francisco. I had just started the agency then and could technically work from anywhere as long as I had my computer, so we decided to make the move. And hey we got married hereso I guess it was a pretty great move after all!

What’s your favorite thing about living in California?

HIKES! I cannot get over how much remote and absolute gorgeous wilderness there is within a short drive from San Francisco. We have gone on so many hikes these past two years that I’ve lost count and they always bring so much magic. I will truly miss being able to just hit the road for a day of nature bathing and come back all tired but refreshed. That will always be my favorite thing about this city.


In The Relaxed Responsible Flannel and the 5 Pocket Twill Pant


You started an ethical modeling agency on a mission to redefine what it means to be a model. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your agency?

Shortly after I moved to New York and decided to fight for the planet I started my journey to be a model. I thought that if I were to become one, I would be “cool enough” where people would listen to what I had to say, and I would gain a platform to speak my voice and inspire others. However, as I finally got signed with an agency in New York and thrown into the industry, I soon realized this was not the case. Quite the oppositeas a model you’re supposed to show up, be on time, follow instructions and never voice any opinions. I felt such a huge disconnect from my mission and thought that there must be other models out there that felt the same way, who wanted to be able to work with brands they truly believe in and be validated for who they are as humans, and not just a pretty face. I voiced my idea to a few people about an ethical agency and later that year I got introduced to my now business partner, Valerie, who it turned out had a similar idea. One phone call was all it took for us to realize we had to do this and so it was: Role Models Management was born.


In the Axis Sweatpant and Quilted Mockneck Sweatshirt


What needs to change in the modeling industry?

We hope to change how the industry and the world look at models, and to make sure they’re seen as the beautiful and strong individual they are. In doing so we hope to empower models to feel entitled to speak their voices and to use their platforms for good, so that we can foster agents of change that will help move our world in a positive direction. For ages (if not through all of history?) we’ve looked up to models, actors, singers, musicians, athletes and celebrities alike. We worship them and want to be them, and we will listen to whatever they have to say. So why don’t we make sure that whatever they say is something good, and help them understand the incredible power they have to make an influence and inspire  others? That right therethe empowerment of modelsis exactly what we want to change.


In the Long Sleeve Ridley Swing Dress, with The Responsible Flannel and Forsake Maya Sneakers


How is Role Models Management going about this?

First of all we have a pretty strict recruitment process for bringing new models on board, where we ask them who they are and the kind of change they wish to see in the world. We’re looking for people who are on this mission with us and who have the sort of attitude that goes with that. You don’t have to be one way or the other but we are looking for that sort of… spark! And then we work really hard on creating that family feeling that being in something together comes with. We host event with our models where we get a chance to get to know each other and have fun, like doing a sweaty workout or the event early January this year when we all gathered at our office in LA and made vision boards. We also send out monthly newsletters to all our models where we update on what’s going on and the amazing work our models are doing, inside or outside the industry. We’re also excited to announce that we just launched our sister platform, Role Models Educate, where we aim to educate models and industry professionals on model laws and practices for a long and healthy career.


In The Responsible Flannel and 5 Pocket Twill Pant


Do you think, as a whole, consumers are getting more energized about sustainable fashion and ethical business practices?

Yes, for sure! I think it’s all about transparency and bringing awareness to these issues and to then create a new path that people can follow. We don’t want to make bad and harmful choices, we just don’t necessarily know that our behaviours have a negative impact on the planet and those around us. I’ve seen a huge increase in interest for sustainable fashion and I hope that curve will only continue to go up as we learn and share more!


What do you think stops people from prioritizing this while shopping?

Habits! Like I mentioned earlier, I've realized that humans are creatures of habits and to do something differently takes a lot of effort and brain power. Most of us are maxed out and don’t have the energy to think differently about things, and so sometimes the easy way out is to simply close your eyes and continue doing what you’ve always done. We’ve built a world around convenience and it’s not the individuals fault that we now live according to this world. However, we do need change, so I think that as a society we have to redesign those habits and make the default option - the normal - the positive one.


What are some easy habits we can all adopt to live a more ethical and sustainable existence? 

I always say this but it’s the best answer I could possibly give: slow down! Understand that you are trapped in this ecosystem of habit and convenience which means that many of the choices you make on a daily basis are made by default, sometimes not even thinking twice before you make the move. So slow down, bring yourself to the now and allow yourself to tap into the moment and yourself. What habits are part of you and which of them would you like to change? If grabbing a coffee on your way to work is part of your daily survival then how can you “upgrade” that habit and make it better? What if you invest in a reusable to-go mug (that you love, so be picky) and then make a rule for yourself that unless you’ve brought your own mug, coffee will have to wait. I know rules like that can seem extreme, but isn’t it more extreme to use something once to then just throw it away? Hm… See, it’s insights like those that will hit you once you slow down, and before you know it you’ll see the world with completely new eyes. So yeah, slow down and be curious. Those are my two favorites for a more mindful and sustainable life.


In the Sunrise Somewhere Crew Pullover and 5 Pocket Twill Pant

Take a closer look at the agency making waves in the modeling world and follow along as Anne continues to share her thoughts on ethical business practices and climate activism: 



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