People / Resolutions

Models Bridget Hollitt and Montana Lower on planetary wellbeing and leading with integrity


Montana Lower is perhaps one of the most positive people you’ll meet. I say this not because she breezes through life without trouble or worries, but because the model, mother and founder of skincare brand Bluem and non-profit organisation, Murals For Change carries a certain sense of lightness that is as infectious as energy comes. Underneath Lower’s on-screen persona of a relaxed, climate-conscious, Byron based mother and model, is a passionate activist, entrepreneur, and environmental engineer who has applied her degree to real life. The result? All power, and all intuition, all the time.

Like Lower, for model and student Bridget Hollitt beauty means energy, and a lot of the good kind is the only energy she is interested in. Hollitt’s activism spans beyond her Instagram page, where she often speaks on social justice and human rights issues (in which climate change falls under) and takes root in her work as a model, establishing clear boundaries with herself on what kind of work makes sense to her.

Here, Lower and Hollitt speak to us about sustainability in everyday life, maintaining a sense of integrity while modelling, and cultivating joy through planetary wellbeing.


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A post shared by Bridget Hollitt (@bhollitt)


What does a sustainable future look like to you?

ML: It looks like people doing what they love for a living, experiencing true fulfilment from a purpose-driven life. It looks like brands no longer having to share their ‘sustainability pillars’ because sustainability has become the norm. It looks like being able to see bees buzz around flowers & birds nests in the trees around your home. Sustainability to me is less about complex and technological advancements - it’s about returning to nature and respecting its simple wisdom. It’s actually mind-blowing to think that something so simple could still look so out of reach for the vast majority. We just need to return to who we are as humans instead of machines, and everything would be a lot less complex.


How do you incorporate sustainable practices into everyday life? Particularly when you are so busy.

BH: For me, it’s always been about stripping back rather than adding in. Asking constantly what do I need? And is there a better, more self-sufficient way to get it?

ML: Having a strong inner value set makes everything else easy. Navigating life from an inner compass based on ethical choices rather than trends and media influence not only leads to a more sustainable present & future but also makes life far more fulfilling.


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A post shared by Bridget Hollitt (@bhollitt)


As a model, do you ever find it hard to navigate working with brands that are not sustainable?  Is it challenging to do so?

ML: Honestly at the start - yes. When I first started modelling around 6 years ago, I was supporting myself through an environmental engineering degree and had just moved miles away from any family or support. I remember my modelling agency at the time telling me I was crazy to be turning down so much commercial work when it made me financially vulnerable. At the time, sustainability was a new concept in the fashion industry. But I’ll never forget walking to uni one day from a shoot and having a huge realization that it didn’t make sense to be fighting for the environment on one hand and then sabotaging it on the other. As we all now know, Fast fashion has devastating effects on our planet and people all over the world, and unless people start putting their money where their mouth is and making tough integrity-based decisions, it’s never going to change. I’m honestly so proud to see how far the fashion industry has come, but the war is by no means over.


When it comes to climate justice, what would you like to see a change in from a systemic lens?

BH: I think at the end of the day, the system itself is the problem. You know, we’re living in a world where predominantly the measure of success has been GDP, not global human health and wellbeing, or the sustainability of our practices. We need an ideological shift from seeing growth and expansion as the number one priority, to genuine holistic health. I heard Livia Firth recently distinguish between growth and development and I thought, aha! That’s it. What is our definition of development?

If our processes are resulting in marginalised communities being over-polluted, underfunded and malnourished but promote “growth”, they are not in our best interests.

But until a generation of business leaders with this mentality comes around, I think we need some serious laws to police production processes that pollute and drain the earth and in turn hurt people. We need some caps on the mass of production, and in general, we need to individually change our habits to force businesses to change their philosophies.


When have you had to be most courageous?

ML: Honestly, giving birth to my beautiful daughter, Blue. I always say, ‘heal birth, heal the earth’.

BH: The first time on set I ever said: “No I’m not comfortable wearing that”. It took a lot of courage, clear-mindedness and most of all the knowledge that at the end of the day it was my right to say no. It’s scary because you just naturally fall into the mindset that you do what the client wants, no matter what, because they’re paying you to be there. But our name and face and body are attached to our work, so at the end of the day, there is a license there that isn’t monetary that we have to claim. What I was being asked to do had the potential to negatively affect others, which is why I said no. And although I didn’t have final say over whether that effect was going to happen on the shoot, I had control over whether I was a part of it. And in the end, my speaking up changed the decision of the brand which was cool.

Our current issue theme is ‘Joy’. What makes you most joyful?

ML: Nothing makes me happier than piling into our bus home and heading off into the unknown. No reception, plans or worries. Just family and nature.

BH: Music. Sunshine. Friends. Creative collaboration. New people and energies. People who are passionate.


Do you feel as though looking after the planet can be a catalyst for cultivating joy?

ML: Absolutely. This is one of the biggest motivations behind creating my organization, Murals for Change. It’s all about inspiring hopeful activism and painting a better world. Through our monthly art classes & collaborative public mural workshops, we draw from principles of art therapy to encourage hopeful conversations & meaningful impact with participants all over the world. It’s all about not having to wait to be perfect or a professional before you start making a change in your life, you just need the courage to show up.


Do you have a favourite book on sustainability or talk? 

BH: I’ve been listening to the “mothers of invention” podcast on recommendation from a friend. It’s like a little smorgasbord of tasters on ideas about sustainability and how we can reframe our philosophies towards the earth. Really good, and I want to go much deeper on some of the topics I’ve been introduced to.


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A post shared by Bridget Hollitt (@bhollitt)

What advice would you give someone looking to incorporate sustainable practices into their life?

ML: Start in your own back yard. Start simple. The biggest thing about sustainable living is changing the routines & practices that are engrained to us in our childhood, which as we know, the world is a much different place to when we were kids, so its time our practices caught up. I actually recommend starting with one meal at a time. If we simply just look at what and how we eat we are able to pretty much tick off every sustainable pillar. You can reduce your meat intake, reduce your waste, cultivate more mindfulness, support local business and give back to the earth (through compost) and more literally just by changing what you eat for breakfast. Oh - and look into your bank & superfund - because that is what is funding mining and other gross stuff that we really no longer need.


I know you just launched your sustainable, natural skincare line, Bluem, can you talk a bit about why it felt like the right time to do this?

ML: I was born with a passion for natural beauty having grown up on the coastline of Fiji. Professionally, I’ve been working with natural beauty lines all over the world since the conception of my modelling/ambassador career - travelling to rural African communities investigating fair trade, petitioning for histories largest campaign against animal testing in cosmetics, speaking on panels about ethical beauty and more. Honestly, while I’ve been so inspired and appreciate these opportunities so much - I couldn’t find anyone that was focusing on Australia and still small enough to know everybody in their organization. I wanted to meet ALL of the suppliers, see where ALL of the product grows/comes from, and know wholeheartedly that every part of the business was ethical - from who is involved. From farm growers of our pure & potent ingredients to Bluem being a family run business, to what our product is sent in (compostable mailing packaging and almost completely zero waste across our entire range), to who we bank with and charities we support with our give-back programs and more. Bluem is about utilizing only pure and potent ingredients from nature and feeling truly comfortable in our skin.


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