ANNE THERESE | Conscious Model, Co-founder of Role Models Management & Host of Hey Change Podcast

written by JILL August 30, 2017

I first discovered the lovely Anne Therese from  reading an inspiring interview she wrote that was featured on Reve En Vert’s website for their Women Crush Wednesday spotlights. I was instantly drawn into her passion and drive to move towards making a difference in the world through modelling and advertising. I used to live in New York in my early twenties (right when social media was first coming out) and was always so drawn to the colourful bright and very impactful advertisements (as anyone would be).  I have since realized that the path to making lasting change is in the way of influence and what better way to influence our culture than through the most popular medium: advertisement and marketing! Now that’s not to say it’s the only way to make a change  (definitely not), but Luke and I (like Anne Therese as you will read below) believe that making culture shifts happens when you disturb the existing norms and start to make changes for the better, which we can really see in our present culture with movements to support the environment, socially good businesses and advocacy for equality within all people groups.

And with that, I introduce you to Anne Therese. She is the co-founder of Role Models Management – an ethical talent agency and the host of her inspiring pod cast Hey Change. I hope you take a few minutes to read more about her and her projects to hopefully spark some inspiration for yourself!


+ We love that you are a lady of many talents, please tell us a bit more about you, your business and podcast? 

My name is Anne Therese, a Swedish model who recently moved from New York to San Fransisco, and with a tiny passion to help save this planet. I use my modeling as a way to promote brands I believe in and to speak up for ways of living that I think is beneficial for the people and for the planet as a whole. I’m obsessed with life hacks, fashion, and new innovative designs that help us live more sustainable and compassionate lives, and my podcast – Hey Change – is a  way for me to share with you as I learn along the way. Hey Change Podcast features a variety of inspiring change makers who actively work within their field of passion for positive change, and together I want to show ways to how we can find Happiness in New Realities.Besides running this podcast I’m also the Co-Founder of Role Models Management – an Ethical Talent Agency on a mission to start a movement in the industry of fashion, beauty, and society as a whole. The agency got registered in March 2017 and now, not even 6 months later, we have over 70 models on our board and growing by the day. It’s such an exciting and empowering journey – building my very own army of Role Models and change makers!

+ We believe in brands and people that are doing good and are making an impact on the world. What is the good that you promote and support through Role + Models Management and your Pod Cast and what inspired you to start them?

We [at Role Models Management] believe that any change in the right direction is good change and we want to make sure we support all actions like that. Ideally, we want to work with brands that are 100 % ethical, sustainable, healthy and cruelty-free, but the reality is that it’s hard and we want to show that trying is good enough. We love that big brands like Patagonia, Adidas, Timberland and even H&M are trying to move into a more circular way of thinking about fashion and production, and if we can get big players like those on board, we’re also paving roads for smaller, authentic brands to grow and take place. There needs to be a trend shift happening and we’re supporting that shift by all extends!


+ What got you started in the modelling industry?

I had just finished my undergrad in business and marketing and felt a bit frustrated because I realized that despite all I’ve learned in school, I still didn’t have the influence to inspire and change the world. I believe in the power of marketing and that if done right you can use it for something good, but I also know that today with social media you have to switch up the game. I remember looking through my Instagram feed, when one of the Victoria Secret models I followed posted a picture that instantly got 100,000 likes, and I thought to myself “wow, does this girl even realize the influence she has?? Like, she can change the world!” I understood then where the true power lies and so on that route it was, and as I was doing my first year of my Masters Program in Branding and Integrative Communication at City College of New York, I also set myself off on a mission to become a model. 
I wanted to know all about this world and I wanted to figure out a way to use it to “save the world”. I remember one of the first photographers I ever worked with. I told him that I wanted to be a model so that I could become a role model, someone for younger girls to look up to, and he said “That’s very sweet of you but it’s quite a mission you setting yourself out for.” In January 2017, my partner and I started Role Models Management and a few weeks ago, that photographer posted a picture of me on Facebook with the caption “Role Model”. It made my heart sing. I’m still very close to this photographer.

+ Tell us a bit about who YOU are: name three things you like or like to do?

I grew up being a tomboy and I don’t think I realized the day I actually really turned into a girl. In my world, I’m still very boyish but I keep hearing that I’m a lot more feminine than I think. However, I’m all about natural beauty and I don’t really feel too comfortable getting all dolled up. It’s fun every now and then but I’m fortunate to have found a partner that likes me best the way I am, with no makeup and in clothes and sneakers that make me feel comfortable all day long.
What else – I’m obsessed with nature and I sometimes even go out there and hug trees. I like to believe in magic even though I know it sometimes makes no sense and, don’t laugh, but I’ve howled at the moon with friends and I always carry chrystals in my pocket. I mean, isn’t life just more fun with a little magic, anyways?
Besides that, I’d say that I’m a huge believer in change and the power in letting go. I used to resist change as a child and not until I tapped into the unknown did I see what life could really be like. It’s the whole reason behind why I started the podcast Hey Change and I want to empower other people to believe and see the beauty in it too. Change is inevitable and the more you fight it the harder it gets. I recently had a beautiful butterfly land on my arm and I knew it was trying to tell me something, so I had to look up the meaning online and it said:

“Remember not to take life too seriously. Awaken that sense of lightness and joy and get up and move, because if you do not move, you cannot dance.”

I thought it was so beautiful.

+ What has been the greatest difficulty you’ve faced so far, and how are you dealing with it?

I’d say when I in the beginning of the summer of 2016 decided to quit it all and finally start traveling the journey that I know was mine. I quit my masters half way through, I quit my part time job at a digital agency in New York, I lost my VISA as a student and hence that also my ability to be represented by my modeling agency in New York. Basically – I let go of everything that was safe ground, but a part inside me just knew it was the right thing to do. I had to finally listen to my inner voice and figure out what I’m put on this earth for.
The time that followed was terrifying. I wanted to prove to myself and to everyone else that I’d made the right choice and I definitely didn’t want to give up on New York. For the past year, I’ve been back and forth between New York and Sweden on my tourist visa, not being able to stay longer than 90 days at a time. I’ve worked longer days than I’ve ever done before in my life – trying to build the empire that is now mine. Many times (and I say many) I’ve doubted myself and my decisions but if I didn’t take that leap of faith the following wouldn’t have happened: I wouldn’t have met Marci who introduced me to the world of sustainable fashion and later also Val who is now my partner in Role Models Mgmt, I wouldn’t have had the idea or the time to start my own agency, and I definitely wouldn’t have figured out that I wanted to start a pod. 
Looking back I can see how beautifully everything has unfolded due to my faith and my strong will to make a change, and slowly but steadily all pieces are starting to fall into place. I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve had from my families, both my new ones in America and the one at home, and I’m so grateful for all the mistakes I’ve done and all that I’ve learned. I’m so grateful for it all!

+ Who is your greatest inspiration and why?

I’ve always had a lot of gurus and people I look up to and they tend to change depending on the current journey that I’m on, and right now I must say that someone who truly inspires me is Dawn Gallagher – a dear friend of mine and also my most recent partner in New York. She’s a true role model herself and a badass business women and I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone with a bigger heart. But now when I start thinking about it I know I also have to mention my other partner, Val Emmanuel, who started this business with me despite being a mother of a two-year old and having her plate full already and, of course, my own mother will always be there when I need her the most. I guess I’m raising the skies for women right now – I’m so grateful to have such hardworking and humble women in my life!

+ What is a quote or saying that could sum up who you are or what you’re about?

Easy – it’s tattooed on the inside of my arm and it’s taken from the song “Dancing in the dark” by Bruce Springsteen: “You can’t start a fire without a spark.” That’s my motto and that’s how I live my life – you never know what the future will look like but one thing is clear, you get what you create and you won’t go anywhere unless you set some spark to that fire and just start.

+ What is one nugget of advice you would offer someone who want to follow their dream or start their own business/brand?

Back to the last question and my quote: Just do it! Or I guess that’s more Nike’s slogan, but it fits perfectly as well. Life is too short to just wait around and let it happen to you, you have to make happen to life! Don’t be too afraid to start because you don’t have the whole journey figured out, just figure out one thing you can do right now and you’ve set some spark to that fire. Once you get going you will be introduced to new possibilities, meet new people, try new things and you will learn. But don’t be too afraid of failing – failing is when we truly know we’re on the right way.
And for some more inspo on the subject, I would suggest checking out my podcast and my first series of episodes where you find my “3-course journey to embracing change“. It’s 3 episodes where I’m reading out the E-book I wrote that is about the exact same thing – gathering some strength to embrace change and finally live the life of your dreams!
Hope you have a beautiful, adventurous and joyous life!
Anne Therese

You can follow Anne Therese on Instagram at @annetheresebengtsson  & Role Models Management at @rolemodelsmgmt

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