George Speros is an executive agent at The Society Management and a devoted friend of animals– his newest launch isn’t pushing the next it-girl, but is all about drumming support for the latter. His website MyDreamForAnimals.com aspires to educate readers to the widespread mistreatment of animals, critters domestic and exotic alike. As the name implies the site proposes achievable “Dreams” and details the dire situations, but also includes how actions can translate to positive change. The site also profiles people and organizations actively impacting the well-being of animals.
George didn’t have to look far to find other animal lovers to help him with outreach for the launch of his site, wildly good-looking ones, too. Runway and editorial stars Lindsey Wixson, Natalie Westling, Alisa Ahmann, Annika Krijt, Amilna Estevao and Catherine McNeil jumped on the chance to get behind his cause sitting for the lens of Scott Mac Donough, all subtly channeling their primal nature. It was a chance to mobilize fashion’s underpinning of instant followers with hopes to influence the collective real world. While the site doesn’t explicitly operate in the realm of fashion, George’s ties tether it to a world that has long had a complicated relationship with the championing of animals. Stella McCartney is one of the industry’s most notable anti-fur proponent and PETA pledge while most others remain cautiously hush on the subject. But the range of “Dreams” is more far more encompassing including such topics like elephants in the circus, chimpanzees and labs, bear bile farms and puppy mills. The site’s list will continue to be updated and added to monthly, much to George’s dismay, “Unfortunately the list of dreams is long as so many different types of animals are mistreated.” But while George has a lofty agenda considering the breadth of mistreatment, that doesn’t stop him, as he explains, “My ultimate wish is to help illuminate a pathway through conscious action and awareness that will give animals the voice and respect they deserve.”
Facebook – My Dream for Animals
Instagram – @MyDreamforAnimals
Twitter – @mydream4animals
All animals photographed at Star Animal Sanctuary of Long Island
A Models.com interview by Steven Yatsko
What is “My Dream For Animals” all about?
George Speros: It is a website created to educate people about animals and how they are treated. My intention is to hopefully inspire them to make different choices and/or take action to help.
In just a few words, why is this an important cause?
Because animals are feeling beings and should only be treated with compassion, dignity and respect.
You described the approach as non-confrontational, can you expand on that?
I feel the key to change is educating people about things they might not be aware of, showing them the wide range of feelings and emotions animals possess, and then letting them make their own choices. You’re not going to change a woman’s mind about fur by spray painting her fur coat, but you might if you show her the personalities and emotional lives of the animals used to make the coat.
When did this idea become something you decide to actively pursue? Was there an ah-ha! moment?
For years I wanted to do something to help animals but had no idea how… especially because I love so many types of animals. If I volunteered at a dog shelter I wouldn’t be able to help elephants, et cetera. I kept asking God/higher power what I could do and one morning I woke up with the idea. I watched “Oprah’s Master Class” the night before and felt really inspired and woke up asking myself, what is my dream for animals? I was like, “That’s it!” I pulled out a notebook and started writing down ideas for hours. It was a definite ah-ha moment.
What would you say is one precept that someone could follow to integrate themselves with MDA’s beliefs?
Just to be more aware that your everyday choices really do impact animals…the food you eat, the things you buy, the clothes you wear et cetera.
What were some difficult habits for you to kick that went against this newfound pursuit?
Pizza! I love cheese but became a vegan after I made the connection in my head that the dairy industry is the veal industry. Cows need to constantly have babies to produce milk. If the newborn is male it is sold to veal farms within a day or two after birth.
Did you have a lot of exposure to animals growing up?
Even though I grew up in the Bronx we always had a lot of animals: dogs/cats/fish/rabbits. My dad is a big animal lover as well. My earliest memory as a child was asking my dad to stop the car while we were driving by some cows in Pennsylvania grazing close to the road so I could run over and see them up close. I loved animals since I was a little kid.
Do you see any common threads from subject to subject or is it simply a lack of empathy?
I just think people don’t always make the connection that they are thinking feeling beings. I can’t imagine if they did that they would still want to hurt them.
What steps will MDA take in pursuit of raising awareness and to make an impact?
I plan on updating the site monthly with new dreams and having active social media. Unfortunately the list of dreams is long as so many different types of animals are mistreated.
If you could have one of your “Dreams” fulfilled right away, which would it be?
That’s a tough one. I chose the first 7 dreams because they are all important to me. I guess if I had pick I would say animals would not be used in lab research. I only became aware of beagles in labs a few years ago through the work of an amazing organization called “The Beagle Freedom Project”. I had no idea how many beagles are used in lab research. I plan on doing a “beagles will not be used in lab testing” dream in the near future.
Being in your position and specific industry, what sort of advantages and potential come with having that unique reach?
It’s an opportunity to give this information to many people who might be completely unaware of things that are done to animals since we are in a completely different field. The other advantages are the huge reach of social media both inside and outside the industry, the potential is huge as so many people in the industry have massive global followings.
What about within the industry–do you see any changes with regards to a more conscientious approach or a harnessing of influence?
Unfortunately, I don’t see many changes in regards to animals. There are tons of animal lovers in the industry but the industry as a whole doesn’t connect with its impact on their lives. In fact, this season I saw more fur on the runways then I have seen in ages. There are people like Stella McCartney who are vocal and doing amazing things to help raise awareness, but she, unfortunately, is more the exception.
How do you get someone to identify with a cause in order for to them to stay active when maybe they haven’t been to Africa or interacted with baby seals? Is that why MDA covers a wide scope of Dreams?
I feel that people will identify with a cause and make different choices when they connect to the individual animals and their stories. I think that’s why “Blackfish” has had such a massive impact–people related to the story and plight of Tilikum the orca; if people are connected they remain open and that’s where real change happens.
So you’ve piqued someone’s interest, what is their next move?
Each “Dream” has an action section. If someone identifies with a particular animal or cause there are many suggestions listed of things they can do to help.