Photo: Courtesy of Gelila Bekele.
Just a few seconds in, we meet Bekele, alongside Cleo, Aine, Mari, Amber, Kenza, Ebonee, Teresa, Renee, and Hartje. They're women who, like non-models, have been inspired to use their social platforms to take action more and more in the past few months. Most of them work with social and charitable organizations on the side, and Bekele is helping them share their stories. "The reason I transitioned from modeling to documentary filmmaking and storytelling is because I'm inspired by untold stories of people, and how one person’s story can breathe life to an idea and a movement," Bekele told Refinery29. The model-cum-director is also an advocate for young girls' right to an education in her homeland of Ethiopia, and finds the fight against cultural traditions and lack of resources is a common battle fought globally.
When you have a true, deep love of self, there's no way you can hate other people.
Video: Courtesy of Gelila Bekele.
As she mentions in the video, each of the 10 girls — and hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands more — acknowledge their privilege of and daily comfort, but don't take that to mean they shouldn't care for the lives of others in need. "Thousands of young people are already playing active roles in solving some of our world’s most pressing issues, most as researchers, organizers, activists, trainers, and educators. I feel a responsibility to that, and it's important to create mindful content and share the unique power of telling stories that young people can relate to, so they can inspire each other," Bekele explains.
It takes time, but change will happen. If we look back at history, we will see that.
Regardless of whatever bubble anyone tries to put them in, the combination of their open minds and hearts has landed them, and their respective causes, in the right place. The video is one of (hopefully) many more to come from filmmakers like Bekele who want to create change. 'Model Activists' is not only moving, but a piece of work from within an often ignored sector of the fashion industry that, without the help of its stars, would otherwise go unseen. And as impactful as it may be, it begs the question of why more other models, especially those 'It girls' who have millions of followers, don't do more of the same.
Photo: Courtesy of Gilela Nikele.