Owning the Runway: My Cross-Country Walk as a Soul Model
The Fiesta. New Jersey. Route 9. 1997. I was in third grade and I had been cast in a real fashion show! It was a massive conference and wedding venue. The lights were dim except on the runway – a real runway!!! The dinner seemed so fancy that I was intimidated – which was a new feeling for me since I was at home on the stage since the age of three. I guess everything seemed bigger as a child. Spotlight rising, I might as well have been at Fashion Week in Paris. Most of the models were older. Only a few youth models were chosen. I was modeling two outfits, a dress and a bathing suit.
It wasn’t my first time either. I was crowned “Little Ms. Yachtsman” at our Myrtle Beach, SC Resort multiple years in a row. The runway there was a shuffleboard court! I perfected my strut. Hand on hip. Pose. Smile. Pivot. Strut again. When I was called up to answer questions, the Yachtsman Resort morphed into a magnitude of colors and I entered into my own Ms. America universe. Guests cheering as my string of future standing ovations in a luxury theatre flashed before my eyes.
Between then and now I have added a few extra notches onto my career. I played Selena Gomez on an MTV singing competition. I emceed the first national LEGO convention in NYC. I’ve modeled during NYC Fashion Week at the Sky Room. I have released music on Spotify and iTunes. I’ve modeled for multiple photographer portfolios and I have taken a rude amount of selfies.
When the iPhone released its slo-mo feature, I couldn’t resist curling my hair, putting on my red dress and rocking my outside patio in LA (age 24; I’m 31 now) with the best runway walk I could muster and and recording a hair flip. But today, everything is different.
Today, November 5, 2019, my hair is chopped short and bright orange. I am wearing zero makeup and while my legs are in beast mode, I’m purposely carrying some extra flab around my midsection. Men are surprised when they catch photos of me that don’t match up with my unbrushed hair and unkempt demeanor. I actually literally stink.
Today, I am writing you from 1811 miles into my ocean-to-ocean walk for radical collaboration on climate action (from Delaware to Texas thus far). This walk, this path, this route, is my ultimate runway. While I may not be at that “supermodel” status, I am owning this 3000+ mile journey from coast to coast on foot as a “soul model” – a role model on a mission to create a high impact collection of inner healing patterns that have been stitched together and worn in the material world as tools for empowerment.
Walking across the US coast to coast unsupported (no RV or on the ground pre-planned support team) is something less than 10 women have successfully completed that I know of (courtesy of Wikipedia). Every mentor that I spoke to who has completed this journey (male and female) has said that the most critical ingredient for not falling head first off the runway is you “why.”
Up until writing this very article, I answered that question with all sorts of references to my company “We Are Mother Earth,” our “SpARK 4 Humanity” and other initiatives and all of the amazing outcomes that radical collaboration can have on our habitat, climate, experiential education etc.
But today I thought about this: Why does a model walk? Why does a fashion designer have her/his collection walked down a runway? I would say that it is in the multi-dimensional realm that the art and the vision become most alive, vibrant, believable, exciting, attractive, and something to live and long for.
For someone who is interested in the living and the longing then, why not create the longest runway I can? Reach the most photographers. The most press. The most young women longing to hear more about me and me and my work. So the answer is really no different. I am walking to show off my collection. Except, this time around my collection is comprised of my stories of resilience and the art I have created from our shared suffering as women. With the SpARK 4 Humanity by We Are Mother Earth, I wish to make resilience, freedom, quality of life, human capital, women’s leadership and a love for Mother Earth fashionable. I want to gift this sustainable high fashion collection of self-development tools to the entire world, and especially to those who are naked and afraid (including those with external adornments of luxury cloth). In the words of Imagine Dragons “I feel it in my soul…Welcome to the New Age.”
More info about the Earthwalk at www.wearemotherearthwalk.com
More info about the SpARK for Humanity Initiative at www.gofundme.com/wearemotherearth
All donations are tax-deductible through Fiscal Sponsor Freedom2Fit, Inc.
Entertainer. Yogi. Writer. Artist. Mental Health Professional.
FB // IG // TW @jennymeatballs @wearemotherearth
Spotify // iTunes “Baby J Wiggle Down”
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