Somewhere in Scarface, Tony Montana wonders quite out loud if this is all there is, and he proceeds to list all the things that he had dreamed of when he was living in the cesspool—things and achievements that he thought would make him happy, but obviously hadn't. All of us ask ourselves similar questions about who we are and what we are trying to get from our stay on the 3rd rock. For many, it's a quest for fame or wealth. Others find it in a child or career. Some, like Stephen Hawking, look farther. Many are content not to look at all. They live in the moment, escape into stimulations like alcohol, drugs, sex or gambling. I suspect that there are nights when all of us wake up, and with a rebel yell, want more, more, more. I just live in my work, an addiction that there are no support group meetings for, and that I would be too busy to attend, anyway. I dream of leaving something behind that people look at and say, Isn't that neat?
It's a modest dream, and quite narcissistic, considering half the world is just trying to find a scrap of food or a place to get out of the rain. When I build joints, I place tables so that the people over here can see what the people over there are buying. It creates a credit card frenzy with bottles that cost under a hundred bucks going for a grand or more. Few think beyond the bottle of booze, and the hot people around them and the millions being spent on celebration. Others know that a bottle of water is a dream for millions. The club revelers often spend enough loot to feed and provide water for cities of starving and thirsty fellow humans, but nobody thinks in this way. We all work hard and cherish our lifestyle.
Together, we validate our existence. I have met thousands of fabulous folks and countless celebrities, but I have never met a saint. For me, success is being able to look myself in the mirror everyday without feeling too bad about what I know is right. I often feel like letting loose a rebel yell, because I should be doing more, more, more. I am not easily impressed with people’s assessment of self worth, and that becomes evident way too often, according to people close to me. Once in a while, I run into someone who gives me faith in my flock. A couple days ago, I talked on the phone with Heide Lindgren, a gal who has reached a level of success where she could just look down at the crowd, if she was built that way. She isn't. Heide saw something that was wrong, and is doing something about it. Maybe she falls short of Mother Theresa, but her example and her quest humbles and enlightens me. There is an upcoming event, Models for Water, to benefit the Water Project, on November 16th at Laconda Verde in the Greenwich Hotel. Here is my conversation with her.
And you are currently the face of Guess by Marciano, and you’re from Boca Raton. Are you a blonde?
Depends on the day, I’m a redhead right now but I’ll be blonde next week.
How do you get involved with a country called Burkina Faso, a very small African country that needs help?
My partner, Georgie Badiel, with the same agency as me and I have always wanted to help and use modeling in whatever way I could to do something good in the world, and I met her and I heard her story. We both really wanted to do something good and just kind of brainstormed and thought how we can help, and what’s the best way to make something happen. We came up with Models for Water, and our focus was in Burkina Faso, because that’s her home country, and we were fortunate enough to meet Peter, who is the founder of the water project and they just started in Burkina Faso, so everything really just came together for us.
What exactly are you doing there?
We are raising money for the water project. They’ve drilled wells in Sierra Leone and Rwanda, and they established programs that teach about sanitation and hygiene and the importance of water. They put a whole program into place rather than just drilling a well and leaving. They just started in Burkina Faso recently so we are raising money for them.
Is the goal to get other models involved and expand this?
That’s exactly our goal. We like to call them Global Ambassadors and we’re trying to provide an opportunity for these girls because so many of them do want to help, and do good things. To be flexible, because it’s hard to commit in our business to anything, and we can provide them with the opportunity to be involved long-term and more permanent global ambassador, or they can do something on a one-time basis, like host a dinner. That way they can feel responsible for helping to raise funds and not feel like they have to make a huge commitment.
Your boyfriend is a friend of mine, and has worked in the club business as a promoter. Why is it that so many people with a club background date models? How do you handle that lifestyle?
It’s kind of amazing how neither one of us have a 9-5, so we manage to work around each other’s schedules and just keep track of where we’re going to be. If it wasn’t for technology and us being able to communicate 24/7 while I’m out of the country, I don’t know how we would make it happen.
Where are you going to be in ten years? How do you think of the future, or is the future tomorrow?
“The future’s tomorrow” is kind of the way I like to think about things, because planning for anything in the future just makes me stressed out and I panic, so I just try and plan for tomorrow. I really love my business, and I’d love to stay in it and figure out a way to continue being part of this fashion world, even when I can’t model anymore. Look at Cindy Crawford. She’s still modeling, but she has so many different things going on, and I’d like to be that type of person. I’d like to have my own business and still be able to be involved in this world because I love it.
Tell me about the event you have coming up in November.
It’s our first fundraising event, it’s on November 16th, and it’s Models for Water, to benefit the Water Project. 100% of the proceeds are going straight to the Water Project. All of the event expenses and all that entails is paid for by us personally. That’s one of the best things about Models for Water, is that we don’t pay ourselves a salary, we don’t take anything. It’s all self-funded and 100% of the money raised goes to our project. I hate the shadiness that can sometimes be associated with charity; people are really scared to give their money to a charity when they don’t really know what they’re doing with the money.
Where is it?
It’s at Laconda Verde. Andrew Carmellini has been kind enough to put together a special four course menu for us, so it’s going to be family style, and we are going to have 60 person dinner. It’s going to be very intimate, and we’re going to have a supermodel host committee, so it’s going to be a night of good food.
How do you get tickets and how much do they cost?
The tickets are on Giltcity.com right now for $350. There’s only 30 tickets for sale on that site so they’re going to get eaten up quickly.
For dinner with super models? A lot of people pay more than that for a bottle to just sit near them at a nightclub.
Which is pretty crazy, if you think about it. You can also go here and make a donation if you can’t buy a ticket for the dinner and again, all that money is going to the water project.