Anne Therese Gennari


Culture - 06.08.2019
In conversation with Kerrin Smith Photography: Kerrin Smith


Anne Therese Gennari is the embodiment of what it means to be on a mission. Hers nests across multiple levels: at the highest level, Therese’s mission is to give a voice to those who cannot speak, and that calling ladders all the way back to her daily habits. Therese has found a multitude of channels through which to express the difference she is driven to make in the world, from founding the ethical modeling agency Role Models Management  - to raise up a new kind of influencer who cares about making positive change in the world - all the way to how she shares her personal practices of sustainability. Therese is one of the best examples of the Cool And Thoughtful principle of practicing Action + Faith: on the one hand, she is  unstoppable in going after what she’s out to accomplish, and at the  same time, she holds a trust in the universe & respect for the nonlinear experience of being human.


K: What do you burn for? What are your dreams?

T: I burn for empowering people to discover new ways and to educate - empowerment and education has always been what I burn for, in a positive, optimistic way. That comes through self love and self respect and respect for others. It’s about showcasing that for myself and in doing that, and collectively more towards a different future that is more regenerative, more understanding, and more sustainable - finding happiness in new realities.

K: Who or what moves or inspires you?

T: Creative people with a drive, who dare to be different in whatever sense of that word. I’m always very inspired and driven by those who have found who they are and are not afraid to know that because it inspires me to find myself and to not be afraid of showing show I am - and to use that self expression to communicate with love because then you’re not talking out of fear, but talking from a place of comfort and understanding. If you understand yourself, it’s much easier to understand the world too.With that, I also need to add that there is a huge need for balance in my life. One of the biggest parts of my life is being out in nature. Even if I lived in a very inspirational city, I still need that aspect in my life or else I lose myself.
K: What is Role Models Management all about? How is it going to transform the fashion industry?

T: RMM is all about redefining what it means to be a model and the role a model and other influencers can play in today’s world. It’s about turning the industry and profession on its end. It’s about creating a platform to empower models, help build them from the inside out, from the ground and up. To learn how to fall in love with themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, but also to find that voice - and to understand that if you were born with that gift (of being beautiful), it’s almost a responsibility to use that gift for good. Unfortunately models usually come from a background of feeling uncomfortable for being different, of not fitting in. Then they’re tossed in a world where you are constantly getting compared to others, how you could be better, or how something is wrong with you. It’s not even hearing that (necessarily), but being in doubt all the time, and also being told as a model to be quiet, follow instructions, and don’t voice your opinion. In our world today, where we believe it’s so important to move in a better and positive direction, we need influencers who can lead that with intention, to make sure that whatever culture we step into and create for the future is a positive one. Not only do we want to empower these models, we want to educate them on the industry they’re working in and promoting, and help them to be powerful inspiration for the rest of the world.



K: One of the things we’ve talked a lot about recently is collaboration and the power it can unlock - would love to hear a bit about how you’re thinking about the power of working together and the power of building community.
T: Collaboration is a big answer to many questions we have. There is a sort of urgency. There are many wins we want to have in this whole movement, but on a bigger spectrum, we want to transform not just the beauty or fashion industries, but consumerism as a whole. There is an urgency to do that now, for we are, at a rapid pace, depleting the earth. We are driven by that ethos of needing positive change and needing it now. If we have the mentality of being the only ones to do this, we’re not going to succeed. Anytime you encounter others who are interested in positive change reaction, there’s always this energy of “we’re in this together” in the sense of understanding that of course there’s competition, but even with that, we’re still working for the same goal, and that is so empowering. I have learned a lot by trying to do it all myself. I grew up wanting to do it all, and it was hard for me to let go of that control. Being a person with so many ideas and wanting to do so many things, you realize fairly soon that there is power in doing things with others. Most times, if not all times, your idea is not the perfect one, and it can never come close to perfect if you don’t express it to others and invite other opinions, other qualities, strengths, ideas, and viewpoints. It’s cultivating that mix of differences.

K: I feel like Role Models in particular manifests this in two ways: one, through the community you’re creating for your models - this is one of the things that makes Role Models so unique, in that it’s not just agency representation, but it’s actually something that is building ties between your models through a common experience. And then two, it  lives in what you and (your cofounder) Val say around, we don’t want to be the only ethical modeling agency, we just want to be the first one.

T: I think sometimes we don’t realize how unique it is. We do already have events, and we’re going to have a lot more. For example, the first event of the year was in LA where we had a vision board party. We just want  to create space for models to get to know each other. It’s intimidating, even when you’re with the same agency, to not know each other. It was incredible to see how they all got to know each other, created these beautiful vision boards together, and became friends. Especially in an industry as competitive as the modeling industry, where literally the person next to you could take the job from you, to just have this feeling of support and to have somebody to talk to, to not be isolated, and to empower each other (means a lot). We also try to create that same culture with the other clients we work with. We try to establish a lot of direct relationship through brands, casting directors, photographers, producers etc. 

K: What advice might you have for somebody who wants to be on a mission but maybe hasn’t found that calling yet?

T: Nothing is going to come from you forcing it. Try to create room for silence. A great way of doing that is to allow some creativity into your life. That could take form in so many ways - it could be journaling, coloring books, it could be walking in nature just for the sake of doing it (versus, for instance, taking pictures), it could be truly listening to music. Allow yourself to be in silence without thoughts - and that doesn’t have to be in a meditation position, it doesn’t have to be forceful.

You can probably already make an impact even though you don’t know it. You don’t have to start a company, you don’t have to make this huge profile on Instagram.You can be influential just in your choices everyday - you can be more influential than you might think. We need to start sharing with each other as soon as we learn something (that could make a difference). When you first find out about something, you don’t feel entitled to share that yet, as you might feel like you’re not a professional! But the thing is, that new knowledge will soon manifest and become a new normal in your life, and then you forget that it was once a novel learning. Feel entitled to meet anybody as an eco warrior, if for instance that’s your mission, and don’t feel like you have to pass a test to claim that. You are one by telling your you are one, and just by the choices you make everyday, you are planting seeds in other people’s lives. 
K: To dive into your own practices of mindfulness or development - what are your touchstones that help you stay grounded or present?

T: My mornings. I’ve realized this all over again recently though a period of feeling off balance. I asked myself, what have I done differently? The answer came to me right away - my mornings have not been what they used to be. I need that first hour of the day to just be me, whether that is taking a walk by myself or having a cup of coffee by myself. Running my own business I try to find work in any hour of the day possible, so I started working at 5:30am, diving into other people’s emails and lost that magic that I needed to stay balanced.

It hit me very recently that it is such an incredible experience to be human. The journey humans go through is so beautiful and challenging. We always strive to achieve all these things in technology, business, ideas, writing, that we can forget to really embrace the journey of being human. We address that journey as something that is on top of our lives - we see it as something that’s blocking us from our “pure mission,” but maybe our actual mission is to be humans, to grow, and maybe that’s where we can make the biggest impact.


To stay true & balanced in our outer missions, we need to really respect our inner missions too which is to grow as humans. We need to create space to invite that in our lives. 


K: Is there something you are practicing or improving on right now?

T: I’m practicing the organic folding of my journey and to trust the way things unfold. And I’m really practicing just being here. I’m practicing being present - not just in my own life but in other people’s lives. To be truly there in somebody’s situation - not just physically or listening, but mentally there, spiritually there. As an Aries, a fire sign with so many different schedules intertwining at the same time, I’m almost always thinking of what’s coming up next, what am I going to do when I get home, what am I going to eat tonight, what do I need to pack for tomorrow. Rather than being in my square at the time, I’m always in the next square. My new challenge to myself is to really try to be present more, as cliché as that might be! 

K: What’s a favorite learning you’ve had recently?

T: My presence or lack of presence impacts others. For the majority of my life, I have lived in the idea that I am in my own bubble. I’ve always thought that I wanted to be present because it’s good for me, but recently, it really hit me that it’s for others too. It’s to fully invest oneself in something so that everyone there has a great experience. That’s not to say I’m just doing things for other people, it comes back to the fact that we are all one, and if we can all be more intentional about that, and the fact that our energies impact one another. We have a huge impact on how we all experience life - not to say you can’t have bad days because I think that’s really important to accept. But the learning is that I’m not just in my own bubble, but in this world with others and that is a beautiful and powerful thing.
K: What does being Cool And Thoughtful mean to you?

T: You have somewhat planted this in me, but I’m really practicing it - Cool And Thoughtful means not just falling on your first reaction but to allow yourself to take a step back and ask yourself, how do I want to act in this moment? What would make me proud of myself? Those moments are the absolute hardest when you are upset. It’s very easy to fall on those triggers and to then reflect back afterwards and regret. Being Cool And Thought applies to my life as an eco warrior - just because I am craving a coffee, but I didn’t bring my to-go cup that day, I can wait till I get home, or I can just not have a coffee. It means being bold enough to question the habits we have and why we do things, and to really look at things and ask how I could be more intentional. It ties into being okay with having been wrong. Cool And Thoughtful means that you are open to the fact that things can be different, and you are okay with following that path. You are respectful enough to yourself where you can peel off those layers and understand that you are not perfect but that you can always improve.

K: What difference do you think being Cool And Thoughtful could make in the spaces (environments, industry, communities etc.) that you travel in?

T: It’s the core to everything I’m doing. People often come to me to ask questions about how they can help the environment. There are no black and white answers - be a conscious consumer and slow down. Being Cool And Thoughtful means slowing down and to ask oneself in a situation, what feels right to me right now? You usually get the answer. It’s very easy to be governed by other people’s opinions. In our world we need to stop putting up titles and instead, strip back the titles to see what you believe in, because sometimes those believes can change as you learn new things.

It’s imperative that we are Cool And thoughtful on the journey toward a more sustainable, just, loving, thriving world - it’s about being open to being wrong, to new options, but at the same time, to respect yourself enough to ask what feels right to you me. That’s where we need to go, we need to be better about listening to our own intuition. Being Cool And Thoughtful on an eco journey is about stripping back the layers - what really matters? What is it that I really value, and usually it’s the simplest things. If we can come back to that, then already we’ve created a more sustainable world.

K: If you could wave a magic wand and generate a productive solution to something, what would it be?

T: Reverse global warming! That being said though, even if we created a magic wand, we’d be back at the same position because we would have solved the problem on the surface without getting at the root behaviors that cause it. My mission that fuels me now comes from an awakening I had years ago: if there’s one thing I want to do in life, it is to give a voice to those who can’t speak. So aligned with that mission is to give Mother Earth a voice at that table. So if I could give her a real voice at this table to make decisions, that would what I’d do with my magic wand.