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Life and Work with Vikki Lenola

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vikki Lenola.

Vikki, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been an animal lover. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I learned about the horrific ways animals are exploited. I was so shocked and angry that this had all been hidden from me and the public. That’s when I started to get involved as an activist.

To get through school, I’ve worked as a model and have worked with hundreds of brands. This allowed me to understand their needs better. Sometimes I’d also help with marketing, media relations, distribution or fashion show production. To get consistent and well-paid gigs, I had to work on my own branding too.

I love how The Vegan Fashion Canada really ties in my experiences, passions, knowledge and connections with others.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Problems will always happen. Expect problems and be ready to eat them for breakfast! Planning in advance and being adaptable is helpful. I have so many interests so it can be hard to balance everything. I find it helpful to have clear goals. Both short and long term. It’s good to challenge yourself, push yourself close to your limits and be dedicated, but remember to give yourself a break from time to time. Otherwise, you just become stressed and inefficient, and who wants that?

Please tell us about The Vegan Fashion Canada.
The Vegan Fashion Canada is a non-profit organization. The main event is a vegan fashion show with proceeds benefiting Animal Justice (the organization leading the legal fight for animal rights in Canada). There are speakers and performances as well. In the intermission area, we have a sustainable, vegan textile display, displayed like an art gallery. We bring a portable version of this display to other events throughout the year. The display lets people to see the growing number of alternatives available for fashion that are kind to the planet and animals alike. We co-host a friendly designer competition for youth as well to support and encourage aspiring designers.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
Of course. The more you want to do or say as a female, the more misogyny will be waiting for you. But don’t be afraid to be bold when you need to be. Being confident in your message helps things go smoothly. And especially when challenging the status quo, I really believe the saying that knowledge is power.

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