Friday, September 5, 2014

EDGEucate dont HATE Protesters (pt 2 Victor de Souza- Horse Carriage Clash)

I received this response on the blog yesterday and felt that before I conclude my study with these horses by touring the barns Sunday and talking with both sides- it was important to say say something constructive to the protesters.

Constructive comments will come to the drivers and maintenance people after I see for myself how they treat their animals.

Thank you very much, I appreciate you connecting again. I will most certainly be looking at these links and while I am travelling in between fittings today. I enjoy the opportunity to review both sides of the argument.

DISCLAIMER: Now I recognize that there were a Melange of groups there to protest the carriage rides. Each person in my opinion is an individual. You may or may not have been involved with some of the activities that took place. I will walk away from this conversation with positive intentions and thoughts of you, and if ever to meet you in person, would most certainly have tea and a great conversation with some awkward laughter in it and human topics. I dont not brand you good or bad. I know that if you were there protesting, I can assume that your intentions were good and thats the important part. I really appreciate that you are sharing with me. However, everything I have to say from this point forward---- its a general address to the whole mob of people there protesting. it int personal, its just a general observation from someone who couldnt see very well an therefore everyone seemed like one angry blob to me.

Educate dont Hate.

Its really important that when protesting your goal is not to hurt the people you are targeting, even if they are guilty. Unless you can legally murder- you arent going to get rid of them. But publically shaming them, it just makes them feel isolated and frustrated. You have to think of your cause as solution you are providing and the goal of that solution is to rehabilitate everyone. To bring everyone on board. ESPECIALLY the guilty.You want them on your side more than anyone so that they truly understand why they should stop what they are doing.

I had a lot of fun at the protest surprisingly, but one of the models was so hurt by what the group of protesters was saying to her about her looks and what they were saying about her character that she actually left fashion week and went home early to her family in Colorado. As a model, she was simply subcontracted to do her job and none of us were aware that when we stepped into that situation you guys would be there. But yet, the protesters didnt see us as potential friends or potential non-involved. They immediately labeled us as if we were the blond haired Michael Vicks of the world and treated us quite poorly. You call any of these girls ugly or horrible and they will never ever ever listen to a decent piece of information you have to give to them- no matter how true it may be.

If your group is truly convicted in its ways to save lives, you MUST get every person on board you can. You MUST be peace oriented. You MUST be education oriented. You MUST be solution oriented. Or you will isolate and discredit yourselves as a group and therefore discredit the valuable information you have to share.

A protest is not like going to a football game. It is not THIS SIDE vs THAT SIDE. A protest is an council meeting opportunity. For both sides to meet and express their views. There does not need to be a resolution, only the common interest to educate each other and continue on positively.

Now to wrap this up, I have THREE other statements for you and protesters in general just for future- and I say this with integrity and love because I want your intentions of Animal Welfare to be respected and preserved. I want you to succeed in saving and influencing positively as many lives as possible while you excercise your freedom of speech.

FIRST of all, the way that everyone was running out at the horses was unacceptable. As someone who is that classic model grown up on a farm, Ive been raising horses and goats since I could see. Several people were telling me (as a point of protest) that the horses could spook and run into traffic. But... your group was NOT acting in the horses' best interest and it was disheartening because you put the animal, other innocent passerbys, and myself in harms way. Why would you do that if the cause was a really to provide better conditions for the horse? It likely can not understand why people are shouting around it and running out angrily. This is one way I could tell the horse is at LEAST not physically beaten daily because it never spooked. It wasnt afraid to be hit or harrassed by those swarming it, because it likely had never been hit before. It didnt even flinch. It trusted the intentions of its driver- who although had a riding crop never once touched it. So the fact that drivers viciously beat their animals... you might want to check into that one. I was told by a group of three protesters right in the beginning that MY horse specifically was beaten every day and fed pigeon poop. O.O Perhaps my horse was a special case, and Ill be investigating and of course educating myself on both sides of the manner. But if that fact is NOT true you will want to remove it from your protests because it is not only a lie but slanderous and discredits the TRUTHful things you have to say. If your goal is to solve things, you MUST be solving it with honesty... not trashing someone's image. Whenever- and I have several backup for this- anyone said to ignore you and your people for the unkind personal things they said to me not regarding the horses at all- they would say you were crazy. And I would correct them that you are passionate people attempting to save lives exercising your rights to assembly and free speech. I did not go home and write slanderous material about the protesters afterwards.

SECOND of all, I really recommend that you and the protesters use at LEAST RECYCLED paper and RECYCLED materials for their signs. I saw several newly white sheets swathed in markers, glue, glitter, paint etc. All items that are mined from the environment and are a contributor toward deforestation and habitat loss. More animals likely were displaced or killed in the creation of the base of your promotional content then horses you could save in central park. Animal lovers must protect creatures outside of the domesticated realm. All things with beating hearts are capable of feeling pain and suffering- including mosquitos. Every move you make from the clothing you wear to the house you live in to the signs you protest with have a damaging effect on animals you will never see. And unlike horses, they will not be individually swept from their environments, found a place in society, and given new habitat. They will be exterminated. Is death better than a lifetime of servitude? If you believe them to be equal or death to be worse- then please spread the message to your fellow animal rights activists to not only be animals rights oriented but environmentally oriented too so that they can truly maximize their efforts to be the best most loving being possible for all creatures. Unless of course you are ONLY a horse lover and the type of person to say Screw You to a deer, mouse or a cougar and their young.

THIRDly I will tell you that Victor de Souza is simply a designer. Of COURSE he's cash driven, he needs money to live- unless YOU are on a barter system, you are cash driven too. But the important thing is that Victor did not have a horse and carriage display because he is an animal abuser. He doesnt go home and kick kitten at night and put puppies in a blender. Nor does he get off on the mere thought of a horse eating pigeon poop for breakfast. He, like many people, grew up with a romantic idea if what a horse means to society. Cinderella- as mentioned in my blog and during the protest- is a great example of that. Instead of trying to educate him on alternative artistic forms of expression rather than "horse abusive carriage rides", the crowd of people immediately, as they did me, labeled him as "Victor De Souza Animal Abuser". But he simply was moving forward with the education he had--- he checked the stables himself, talked with the carriage riders and did research. His findings may or may not have been conclusive- as you have not had the opportunity to share those links above with him or talk to him one on one. But that show was the opportunity to do so. And you all blew it. If you cant speak with love for the people speak with love for the animals you are trying to save. Speak, dont yell. Empower dont Devour. The knowledge of the designers own knowledge of what he was getting into--- was education itself that every protester should have had. Period. Because you likely made an enemy for life and discredited every word those various groups have to say by isolating him. (As stated above.)

Anyways, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog once again. I hope you hear my comment as a heartfelt honest perspective and see the gift that is presented that I am able to communicate with you honestly. I am not saying you re a good or bad person. I am not blaming you or commending you for my experience the other night. And I am not going to take one side or another on this matter.

I am going to take my own side. Based on my own perspective. Its neither team. Its knowledge.

Thank you for providing the links so I may further educate myself. I hope to find them as valuable as you did!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

EDGEucation: Victor de Souza fashion show from models perspective

For more photos and an inside view:

I arrived to the fashion in a private car and stepped into a swarm of press in my red poofy skirt and white Edwardian shirt. I was not prepared for what would happen.

Hundreds of protesters surrounded me. I had no prescription contact lenses in because I was wearing fake blue ones give me by the designer for the evening.... What the heck did the papers these folks were waving say? I squinted.

Someone hastily shoved a sticker into my hands. It read Save our Horses campaign. "Hold this up so I can take a few photos please." They yelled.

"I'm sorry but what's this for? I don't understand what's going on..." I leaned in so they could hear me better.

"It's for the Save our Horses campaign, I'm from the Daily News, we are going to make you famous girl!" The Daily News reporter was a short excited lady double fisting a flash and a camera.

I rolled my eyes. Everyone with a yacht or a camera has said this to a lady in a dress at some point in their lives. Sigh. "Can you pull this campaign up online so I can look at it?"

"Why? It's just a quick picture!" She furrowed her brow.

"Because I don't want to be published supporting anything I don't actually support."

This seemed to make sense to her, so she pulled it up on her phone. It seemed that the campaign was to keep the horses in the park pulling carriages, it listed the ethical practices used for the horses, and documentation of those ethical practices, it also had a quote about humanizing people through animal exposure. I took the picture.

"Oh one by the carriage too please! One by the horse now! Ohhh can you take one near the driver? Now just one of your alone please-" 

I was getting pulled away by security escorts who were adamant about keeping our group together. There were seven models.... 6 of them had big fluffy white wigs on. I had my natural dark hair spray painted white. I didn't exactly fit in... And because of that, when we got slammed by the real blob of protesters shoving us and screaming, it was no surprise that I fell back and out of security into the crowd. I followed the group of models as various random people called me ugly, hideous, a waste of human life. 

These people didn't even know me. I laughed up loud, which upset many of them. If only they knew I heard this on the daily from other people in my own industry. What were they so angry about?

Apparently, after I questioned a Protester named Rose, it turned out that they were protesting on behalf of PETA against animal abuse, and that they saw the horse carriages as a form of animal abuse. I listened to the facts she gave me.

"They are fed grain that's old and moldy with pigeon poop in it everyday. They never go outside. They have to walk to work everyday no matter the weather, they are neglected, and their owners beat them."

Well... That's a lot of intense information. I surely don't want to support animal husbandry of those proportions. By all means, if this were true I should walk out of is show right now. I mean I grew up on a farm with horses... and these ones seemed pretty fat and happy- still...

But I'm not one to believe facts just because someone yells them out at me. I need time to educate myself and do my own assessment before I act on convictions. I took this as a moment to absorb as much information as possible and investigate.

Someone threw a slushy. It missed its target and hit a reporter... I could see the headlines forming in his disgruntled head already "VIOLENCE IN TIMES SQUARE!!"

I ducked back into the arms of security. It was louder near them, protesters smushed their whole bodies against mine like They could liquefy me by squishing me, security an police yelled at them to get back.

"You're making a big mistake!" "You're so ugly, I don't know how you could be a model!" "Shame shame shame on you!" They changed over and over again. Even an elderly lady about 80 years old was calling me ugly. 

For some reason I couldn't help but laugh through the whole thing. I honestly just needed some information, I had no idea what I was in the middle of. Or minute I was showing p for a fashion show and the next I'm being seen as a supporter of animal abuse.

One particularly loud protester caught up to me. "You're disgusting! Shame on you!"

I turned to her and halted much to the dismay of my security guy. "Look educate don't hate girl... Empower don't devour. Seriously how do you think people like me can make an educated and worthy effort if we don't have the facts? Don't scream and shout at those that you are trying to dissuade... PERsuade them to be a better person. Persuade me. What am I missing out on here? When you publicly shame people, it doesn't make it easy fr them to join your ranks or to see your vision. Calling me or any of my beautiful model friends here ugly is not going to make it simpler for them to help you realize your goal... Which is obviously is to get these horses ethical treatment. And my friends are clearly not hideous or evil. What you are doing is spewing hate language.... Not education language. And you're turning valuable assets against you. So educate don't hate, tell me what's up."

She blinked at me. Then before you know it she went on the same drumroll Rose did as if she had memorized it. Pigeon poop food, beaten horses, never see the light of day etc.

I was shoved into a private car to hide until our carriages were ready.

There were six of us in there. Two of the girls were crying. They hated the fact that this was happening, felt overwhelmed, and on top of that- they were animal lovers. One other girl was foreign and didn't know what was happening, she was just excited about the press then worried when the other models told her it was a bad thing.

When they were ready for us to come out, the whole car was a wreck of fluffed white wigs tweaking out on the static electricity the ceiling provided, feet that forced themselves back into heels, and lipstick stained cigarette butts from the three girls who couldn't help but "destress".

At this point, each model was pushed through the crowd and hoisted in pairs onto carriages. I was put into one by myself. 

Of course.

Someone hands me a Gay Marriage button... For good luck they said.

Photographers are clambering over each other, shoving protesters out of the way to get good shots. I can't help but grin ear to ear, the whole thing is like a drunk version of Circ de Soleil. 

The horse takes off.

Like a soft version of a haunted hayride, the protesters popped out of the woods suddenly, screaming now and again. Their signs waving. Some walked alongside the carriage shoving their papers at me. If only I could read them... But without prescription lenses in I was unable to see anything other than blurry white boxes with scribbles on them. I felt bad for the horse... It must be an awkward day on the job for him.

Speaking of horse... This was a great time to get the other half of the story. So I struck up a convo with my horseman driver Larry.

"Come here often?" I joke.

He laughs and says "I prefer the aggro homeless people to these ones, their scaring my horse."

"Talk to me about your horse sir, seems you care for him, how long have you had him?"

He turns around and smiles, "about nine years. He's actually retiring in two years so these are special times for us."

I look at the horse as it trots forward. It shakes it's head.

"These people seem convinced you are an animal abuser.... Convince me you aren't?"

He sighs and nods. "The horse industry in nyc is heavily monitored due to rights activism in the 60s-now. The animals have an air conditioned facility, work only 3 days a week for 7 hours a day, are walked through the park and not into traffic as protesters suggest, are fed organic grains, purified water, are turned out to pasture in Amish country 3-4 months a year, are not allowed to be whipped or spurred, and must be impeccably groomed. If the protesters win and the horse industry is shut down in NYC... What happens to the horses? They will either be sold to farms where they would spend the rest of their lives working in much less comfortable environments tilling, pulling, and driving- with no air conditioned stables. And the ones who are not able to be sold and evacuate the city horse facility within the deadlines would be euthanized. As in KILLED. That's 483 horses at risk of being put into a much harder way of life or KILLED."

Wow. This was also heavy news.

"Can I visit the stables at any point to see their living environments? I heard they were in the city." I shifted the poofy skirt awkwardly.

"Absolutely, come by anytime you can see any of the horses no problem." Then he gave me his business card.

Suddenly a news reporter comes running alongside the carriage. "Excuse me! Scuse me! How are you feeling right now? Scuse me?" She was gasping for air.

"Why don't you hop in here and ask me." I laugh.

She asks the driver for permission and he pauses the cart for her. She re-adjusts herself. "Ahem, thank you... Er.... How are you feeling?" 

"Great, how are you feeling?"



"The park is stunning at night isn't it?" I say. A protester throws a cup at the cart. 

"You ugly whore! you are supporting animal abuse!" He shouts angrily.

The reporter looks shocked then turns to me. "How do you feel now?"

I'm beginning to see a pattern into how she conducts her interviews....

"I feel great! Seriously really really great right now."

"You don't feel bad about about what these protesters are saying to you?" She asks.

"No, it's great to see people so passionate about something. I think their delivery is a bit harsh, but it's inspiring to see people exercising their freedom of speech and right to assemble. I'm an animal rights supporter so I can appreciate the intentions of their efforts."

"Do you feel like any of it is striking home for you then as someone who supports animal rights? Do you feel more on the side of the designer or do you feel like an activist?" She's a little more excited now.

"At the current moment I'm doing my job. The designer is actually a very talented and kind man and politics aside, I'm simply a mannequin for his artistic vision tonight... Not his political preferences. As an activist, this is a great opportunity to be educated about a topic I didn't even know was an issue in this city. I've collected information from both sides, but will wait until I'm off the clock to do my OWN research... Then will take action  based on my findings. But, I really can't just take what people tell me and act on it as fact. I have to know it for myself."

She nods and bits her lip. "So... Victor, what's he like?"

"Like I said, personally outside of this horse thing, he's been really kind to me. He's a talented designer, he works hard, and he's unique. Definitely a character."

"Why did he do this horse carriage runway? For the press?"

"To my understanding he just wanted a Victorian styled entrance... Like Cinderella. But you'll have to interview him for that information."

She nods and takes my name. The horse comes to a halt. Protesters surround again chanting. There is a small group of elderly women cheering for me telling me how glamorous I look and how well I did. I have no idea where they came from.

One reporter steps into the carriage foothold and hold a mic in my face. "Victor how did this collection turn out- do you think it was even seen above all the racket?"

I laugh and squeeze my breasts then say in a low voice, "I'm not Victor."

He scuttles away.

Then suddenly before I'm hoisted down, a girl comes running up dressed in all black, she's the drivers daughter. "Dad, are you ok?"

He smiles, "yes it's fine sweetie, are you having fun?"

She nods enthusiastically then whispers loudly "my friends and I are watching.... just in case..." 

I'm whisked into a cab. Somehow, I end up with three older women... instead of the private car with all the models. They commend me and talk about bravery etc.

At the end of the night, after the runway, the lights close, and the people leave I hit a major issue. Someone took my contacts case...with my contacts in them. I'm in so much trouble, I have a fashion show the next day and I won't have the time to get new ones. I'll be walking blind.

I saunter down the street with my friend Kate, she helps me identify streets signs since I can't read them. Ugh. 

Suddenly it hit me, this is how people walk when they don't educate themselves on the things they find passion in.... Blindly. They walk blindly.

For video and photos of the show check out this EPIC blog by