MEET VIKKI LENOLA: MODEL & ACTIVIST

Updated: May 18

This is Vikki.

Vikki, tell us more about how you got started in modeling?

In 2014, I was a bridal accessories designer.


I made custom veils, headpieces, sashes and things like that. My brand was the exclusive supplier of accessories for a bridal boutique in Cambridge, ON.

Sometimes I’d help as a seamstress or pattern drafting. Business was good. Only a few months in, a new friend invited me to a fashion week she runs.


I attended because I was considering showing my work there one day.


When I got there, I kept getting mistaken for a model because of my height and ended up walking for a couple designers.


It all sort of unfolded from there. I guess I got caught up in the glitz and glam!


Meeting so many people in the industry has lead to a wide variety of opportunities besides walking down the catwalk.

What would you say has been most important in becoming a successful model?

You have to be willing to put yourself out there, travel a lot, work with a lot of different people and crowds, keep up with the fast pace, and keep track of so many different things.


It’s not like a 9 to 5 where you wake up and go to the same place everyday.


For social media you also can’t just post things and expect the world to discover you.

You have to put work into that too, so it’s good to have some marketing skills.


Personally, I love all of this! It’s like an adventure.


But it is nice to have some down time occasionally to have some balance.

Where is the furthest you've traveled as a model?

I had some work in Iceland years ago where I was photographed for the advertising of a European art gallery.


Another time, I modeled for a show for the Black Tape Project in Jamaica.

How did you get into becoming an animal rights activist?

I was the oddball of my friends and didn’t have internet growing up.


Once I was older, I finally got myself a computer so I could start my post-secondary education.


I saw a PETA ad that opened my eyes to animal cruelty being all around us.

I remember being shocked and angry that these things are hidden from us…from me, for my entire life.


I felt like everybody else deserved to know the truth too; and I feel the need to be part of the solution.


Because if not me, then who?


It’s like that saying, “I used to think somebody should do something about that. Then, I realized I am somebody."


Animals need us to be their voice.

What did you study in school and how has it helped with all your accomplishments?

Taking business in college has helped me understand how to serve brands better.


Taking environment, resources, and sustainability has helped me understand the connections between people, animals, and the planet.

I’ve just finished my studies, yay!


It’s funny though, I applied to take another course over the spring semester just out of interest.


My last course was waste management which really helped me understand what needs to be done to get to a circular economy.


But this extra course I’m taking is strictly about sustainable fashion, so I felt it was a must-have.

Could you tell us more about the non-profit you started: Vegan Fashion Canada?

Vegan Fashion Canada is a fashion show featuring conscious brands.


I noticed a lot of people still don’t know about how many alternatives there are to fur, leather, wool, and so on.


I wanted to show people the growing number of alternatives. There will be a sustainable, vegan textile display so you can see all these newer innovations in fashion. Performances and speakers are lined up as well. All proceeds benefit Animal Justice, the organization leading the legal fight for animals in Canada.


We have a few designer applications already. But so far, we will have Doshi, a brand I have worked with already on numerous occasions. They’re known for their accessories made from durable vegan leather, paper, and cork.


We will also have The Honest Whisper, showing their up-cycled clothing. This brand is run by my friend Lucy Loo Ellis whom I met doing activism. She is the sweetest! All proceeds from her brand are donated towards the animal liberation movement and she has also helped set up Vegan Fashion Canada.


The launch date is likely sometime in 2021 but tentative, depending on how things go with health and safety regulations for the current pandemic.


The first show may not end up happening until the following year.


You can join our Instagram, Facebook and newsletter to be the first to know more.


We will announce things like model castings, designer calls, giveaways, and details about the date and venue.

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