The move from rural Missouri to New York City was a difficult one for Angela Lindvall. Pursuing a modeling career meant trading in the ample fields and windy trails of her childhood in favor of tiny apartments and harsh runways. With her newfound big-city life came the realization that pristine, untouched nature is not the norm.
"I hadn’t really even considered the environmental problems we faced, so when I moved to New York to start modeling, I started asking simple questions like, ‘Where does our trash go?’ and looking into ingredients in food and wondering, ‘What the hell is Red 40?’" Lindvall tells mbg from her Los Angeles home. "After researching what was going on with our food, our water, and our waste, I was kind of mind-blown. I got a case of environmental anxiety and started wondering why people weren’t talking about these issues on the front page of the newspaper every day."
Back then, green issues didn't have the traction they do today, and Lindvall reports that her peers probably thought she was "a little kooky" to be diving so deeply into them. That, combined with the fact that she was a tomboy in a glam industry, made her a bit of an outsider in the high-fashion realm. But that didn't stop her from going on to grace covers of major publications the likes of Elle, Harper's Bazaar, and Marie Claire—and start an environmental nonprofit along the way.
"Getting into fashion made me realize the power of the entertainment industry and showed me that people knew more about their favorite celebrity than they did about these issues at that time," she says. "But I actually got kind of inspired by that. I wanted to use pop culture and media to get the issues out there." There, her Collage Foundation was born to educate young people about visionaries in the green field.