What authentic tastes like. The PlanetShifter.com Magazine Interview with ASU Sustainability Student and Ford Model Intern Heather Hazzan
Sustainability and fashion --- two different worlds with one thing in common: me.

I am interested in seeing what lasts, what endures through time. I am not here for the instant gratification, but for the authentic accomplishments that surface from hard work, dedication, and being true to oneself.

I have found that within both of my two fields of interest, what lasts happens to incorporate the same thing: what is most natural and genuine.

--- In sustainability, the most natural processes taking place in the environment will have the least amount of unintended consequences, therefore promoting health and vitality for our world. [Ex. Organic farming techniques over the use of chemicals and pesticides]

--- In fashion, the most simple, classic pieces will remain timeless over the decades. [Ex. The LBD]

--- In modeling, the most genuine women with a strong sense of who they are will have the longest, most successful careers. [Ex. Heidi Klum]

--- In photography, those who can capture one's honest, candid personality will continue to captivate unceasingly. [Ex. Annie Leibovitz]

So, for me, it doesn't matter what field I'm in at the time -- be it sustainability or fashion. All I want is to make a bona fide positive difference in the world. And my passion to make this a reality is unbounded.

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Do you buy used clothes? If yes? Where and what specifically?

Rarely. But when I have, it has been at Buffalo Exchange in Tempe, Arizona. Minimalism and quality play a big role in many aspects of my life -- including the purchase of clothes. I'd rather spend more money on a high quality piece that could last me over the years than a couple lower quality pieces would wear down in six months.

Do you give away clothes? When and where?

Yes -- every few months. I get rid of clothes that I haven't been wearing for months to places like Buffalo Exchange, Plato's Closet, and local charities.

Do you see any collation between the number of shoes one owns and how authentic one is?

It definitely depends. I do, however, think that very authentic people may be more inclined to care about the deeper, more impalpable experiences of life, and those who are more superficial may have a tendency to be drawn to lighter, more tangible things. But at the end of the day, we must remember what is more important to ourselves: the two pairs of Jimmy Choos we found on sale, or the two people we really took the time to listen to?

Anything sustainable about the Ford Agency these days?

A model's success over the years is based upon if he or she is sustainable. If a model can only be a certain size for two months -- this isn't sustainable and she won't last. The best models know who they are, accept their natural state, and market themselves with what they've got. Crystal Renn is a perfect example of this within Ford.

Define natural and give us some examples of un-natural.

Here are random words that first come to mind:
Natural = raw, equilibrium, flaws, sustainable, plain, unprocessed, wild, free, feeling > thinking, genuine, candid
Unnatural = faking, superficial, constrained, complicated, refined, cookie-cutter, thinking > feeling, misleading, untrue
Here is what one of my favorite photographers, Billy Kidd, once wrote about models on his blog:
"I find the best girls are the ones who
drop that wall, and don't care what others think of them.
Too often, I shoot new girls, and they are pre-occupied
with the thought that their "friends" might not approve.
STOP! don't care. be yourself.
If you're into punk, be punk.
If you're sexual, be sexual.
If you're a sad person, be sad."
I could not agree with him more.

Is green washing part of your ASU experience? Details please.

Unfortunately, some of it is. Students mean well, but sometimes the little things can put blinders on the big picture. However, some of the upper division School of Sustainability courses really do delve deep into different issues -- thinking systemically versus linearly, distinguishing the unintended consequences of a seemingly beneficial action, and proposing solutions that start at the core.

Do you design and build your own clothes?
I wish!

What are your fears about the future?

I am actually quite optimistic about the future. I think that problems in past generations have erupted when they felt they had to fit a certain profile or role to be successful in life. The status quo wasn't something to mess with. Fortunately, I feel there is a big push for people in my generation to find their true selves and expand upon that in all aspects of their lives. Many of us have the freedom to choose our own career path.

We no longer have to become the doctor just because our father is one. Others of us are taking the liberty to get educated on all the different religions of this world and choosing the one that feels right, rather than being forced to go to church like many of our parents were. We are beginning to know what authentic tastes like again. And this, my friends, is a very, very beautiful thing.

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Connections -

Heather Hazzan
heather.hazzan at asu.edu