In Conversation with Chloe Tesla

You might have seen Chloe Tesla in an advertising campaign (she models for several mainstream brands, as well as many vegan ones, including French brand Ashoka Paris); or on Instagram, where her feed is a combination of shots from the latest campaigns she’s working on, and her personal life, including pictures of delicious vegan meals, her gorgeous dog, and heartfelt pieces on animal welfare.

She has been both vegan and an animal rights activist for a number of years, and has done much in her native France to raise awareness of the cruel practices in the meat and dairy industries, and the wide range of vegan alternatives available (both food and fashion). Whilst of course making veganism look super attractive to boot!

Why do you do what you do?

Modelling: well, it's my job and I feel lucky to have it because it gives me precious free time to focus on things that matters the most to me. Spreading the vegan message: because this is the very least I can do.If you weren’t doing that – what do you think you’d be doing instead? If modelling wasn't my job, I guess I would like to work for a fully vegan company, or give speeches about anti-speciesism, or work with animals that have been mistreated by human folly.

What drives you, and where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m driven by justice for all. Whether we want it or not, we are all inspired by one another. People that inspire me the most are animal rights activists that step out of their comfort zone in the name of animal liberation. I'm also really inspired by people trying to have the lowest impact on earth: vegans of course but also minimalists, people consuming local, seasonal raw food and living in sustainable homes and/or self-sufficient ones.

What has been the greatest challenge while getting yourself where you are today?

People. I find it really difficult to express who we truly are in such a judgemental society. When you don’t fit in the mould, you can feel pressure from people and their energy can easily put you down.

Any advice you could share with us?

Try to avoid peoples’ opinions (still struggling with that one!).

We believe that the world can be changed one choice at a time. How would you describe sustainability and a sustainable lifestyle? Is it actually achievable, or even necessary?

Sustainability for me goes together with ethics. So it has to be something sustainable for the animals, the humans and our nature all together. A sustainable lifestyle for me is a lifestyle that has the less negative impact on the planet and others. Once we realise we are all sharing the planet together, then we understand our choices are rarely only ours. I’d say it’s totally achievable ,even though it can be really challenging to let go on the comfort we have been born in, but it’s totally necessary and an emergency.

Is there anything that keeps you awake at night? Or constantly puts fire in your belly?

Picturing animal suffering in factory farming, being scared in slaughterhouse trucks and yelling out of pain while getting slaughtered. But I’m against all type of oppressions so thinking about injustice at night would make me have an insomnia for sure.

What do ethics and aesthetics mean to you? Have you ever had to compromise one for the other?

It wasn’t the case years ago when I wasn’t aware, but today I would say I have trouble finding anything aesthetic when it’s not ethical. So for me, both go together. 

Regarding veganism and my personal consumption, I never compromised ethics over aesthetic. Regarding sustainability, I’m working on it but I’m still far from being perfect.

What three words would you use to describe your style ? And what’s been your biggest fashion mistake?

Comfortable, minimalist, mostly-black. I had many different crazy styles during high school (skater style, gothic, emo, colour block…etc) I'm not sure I regret any of them as it was part of my personal development but I don't wanna look or share any old pictures! Haha 

Who is your style icon and why?

Nobody in particular. I guess I get my inspiration from everywhere/everyone but I'm really fond of black, elegant and slightly 'rock/dark’ outfits.

What are your favourite brands?

Matt & Natt for fashion and Oden for cosmetics. 

What is your most treasured fashion item?

Despite the fact I'm a model, I'm not a 'fashionista'. I'm just in love with my Matt & Nat backpack. It's simple and practical and I've been wearing it every single day for 3 years now :) 

What would you like to see more of in vegan fashion or beauty?

Maybe more technical and aesthetic trainers for fitness or running! I need one pair and I would like to find some as comfortable and safe as some Nike trainers are. I would like to buy vegan, fair-trade and sustainable, I’ve struggled to find something that meets those criteria. For beauty, I would like to see more spas using vegan beauty products.

Do you have a beauty routine? And what beauty product could you not live without?

I start every morning by washing my face with a really simple face soap and some fresh water. I’ll then use some hazelnut oil enriched with vitamin E as a day cream. It’s from the French cosmetic brand ‘Oden’, I love what they do! Then depending on my day, I’ll do my make up or not :)

When did you become vegan and why?

I became vegan 6 years ago for the animals.

Is there anything you struggle with being vegan? Any top tips for those who are thinking of trying going vegan? 

The only thing ‘I struggle with’ being a vegan is my job. Working as a model to promote food, clothing and cosmetics in a speciesist world is quite complicated. I do my best and sometimes even refuse contracts, but I’ve noticed that only a few people have a 100% vegan job,  even less a 100% ethical one. By definition, can a job in a capitalist society be totally ethical? Always focus on the victims: the animals. The pressure you may feel from society being a vegan is nothing compared to what animals go through. Can we really allow ourselves baby-steps when animals are suffering every-single-second ?

How do you relax and unwind?

I go to the gym at least 4 times a week. If I can go more I’ll go. Fitness is the best therapy for me! Sport is as good for our mind as it is for our physical appearance.

Who do you think we should interview next and why?

I would be happy to know more about you Annick (Immaculate Vegan Founder). I’ve followed your Instagram for quite a long time now but I don't really know who is behind it :) 

Autumn Colours