Sara Ziff is the Founder and Executive Director of the Model Alliance. She has worked as a model for over two decades and produced the feature documentary Picture Me, which chronicles her and other models’ experiences of their industry. Sara spearheaded and oversaw efforts to pass the Child Model Act in New York State and the Talent Protections Act in California. She also helped to draft and introduce legislation that would create the first federal protections for child performers. She has worked to develop and introduce the RESPECT Program, which invites companies in the fashion industry to make an enforceable commitment to stop harassment and other forms of abuse. Sara is the recipient of the National Organization for Women's Susan B. Anthony Award and was named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in 2018. Sara received her B.A. from Columbia University and her M.P.A. from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Sydney Giordano is the Associate Director of the Model Alliance. Prior to joining the Model Alliance, Sydney worked in the field of patient advocacy to champion patients' rights with respect to drug development. She has worked with several non-profit organizations and has experience in research, organizational capacity building, and with operating a crisis support line. Sydney graduated from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health with her Masters in Public Health and a Certificate in Health Policy and Practice. During her studies, she conducted a research project and wrote her masters' thesis on the drivers of exploitation across the garment supply chain.
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez is a Filipina-Italian model and legal advocate who has modeled internationally for major fashion and lifestyle brands since she was 19. In 2015, Gutierrez was one of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and cooperated with the police in an elaborate sting operation to expose the disgraced media mogul’s history of sexual crimes. Although the Manhattan District Attorney’s office eventually dropped the charges against Mr. Weinstein, Ambra persisted in her fight for justice and eventually provided Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ronan Farrow with the key evidence he needed to take down Mr. Weinstein and catapult the #metoo movement into the spotlight. As a member of the Model Alliance’s Leadership Council, she now aims to help create a safe and fair work environment for other models.
Amelie Honore is a Paris-based model that has worked across the globe in the industry for 15 years. Her family is actively involved in Force Ouvrière , one of the main French labor unions, where her father served as a joint commissioner. Besides being an expert on demonstration rallies, which she affectionally calls a French national sport, she has always had an interest in the legal rights and representation of models across the globe. It is with great enthusiasm that she is joining the Model Alliance’s Leadership Council and she looks forward to supporting the organization’s actions to give workers in the industry a voice.
Ava Smith has been a successful model for 16 years. Ava has appeared in advertising campaigns and fashion shows for prestigious brands including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, Gucci, Burberry Prosum, Versace, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana. Through her long career, Ava has developed an intimate knowledge of the industry and has used her experience to guide and represent the next generation of aspiring models in numerous industry workshops and panel discussions. Also an active animal welfare advocate, she worked as a director of an animal rescue non-profit for four years. A summa cum laude graduate of Penn State University, Ava completed her degree in Law and Society and is preparing to attend law school with a focus on labor law.
Carré Otis has long been one of the most recognizable faces in modeling, headlining in campaigns for Guess, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Revlon. As a supermodel, Carré has appeared on the covers of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She’s worked with many of the world’s greatest fashion photographers, including Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, and Peter Lindbergh. In her book Beauty Disrupted: A Memoir, Carré shares her unique insight into the business of beauty and the high price it demands by giving an honest account of her struggle with love, identity, and spirituality. Now a wife and busy mother of two she’s found a new voice as a passionate advocate for young women in and out of the modeling industry.
Chloe Hayward has worked internationally as a model since the age of 15 featuring in campaigns for Agent Provocateur, Topshop, Clinique and Mulberry and in publications such as Dazed and Confused, Glamour, Elle and British Vogue. She completed her BA honors degree in English and Drama at the University of Birmingham. In 2018 she participated in Sacha Pfeiffer and the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team’s investigation into the sexual exploitation of the modeling industry. She now works as both a model and filmmaker in New York with a particular focus on giving space for women’s stories to be represented in film and fashion.
Erin Pasquet lives and works in NYC as a model, doula, prenatal yoga teacher, and mother. She has over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry, beginning her career at age 13 while in her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho. She is passionate about advocating for improved working standards and safety in the fashion industry and has publicly spoken out against sexual harassment and racism. In addition to her passion for creating a better fashion industry for models coming up, she is deeply involved in birth work and advocacy, after becoming a doula in 2015 and a mother in 2018. She is honored to be a part of the Model Alliance and supports the RESPECT Program.
Fitz is an LA-based fashion model who also works in NYC and Europe. She has a B.S. in Health Policy Management from Providence College and an M.A.S. in Health Informatics from Arizona State University. Her career goals are to work in population health research and consumer health informatics. Fitz is passionate about tackling unhealthy practices and habits that lead to the development of eating disorders in the fashion industry and distorted perceptions of what it means to be fit for employment opportunities. In addition, she feels strongly about addressing racism and working collaboratively with industry stakeholders to improve the current environment.
Kai Braden is a NYC and LA-based Actor/Model, and is thrilled to serve on the Model Alliance Leadership Council. He founded and directed a 501(c)3 nonprofit protecting Burmese refugees in Thailand and is highly-certified in fitness, training others to become healthier and fit. Kai’s noteworthy acting credits include supporting roles on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan”, Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black”, and ABC’s “Revenge”. His modeling highlights consist of campaigns for J. Crew, features for Men’s Health Magazine, and showrooms for COACH. Cumulatively, Kai’s professional opportunities enlighten him to understand working conditions in the entertainment and fashion industries and inspire him to help make them even better for the next generation. Kai received his B.A. from Pepperdine University and is writing nonfiction based on his travels modeling overseas— for more on his works visit www.kaibraden.com and follow @kaibraden across all social media platforms!
Madeline Hill is a former model. She graduated from The University of Georgia with a degree in Sociology. She spent part of her academic career at Oxford University, studying Human Rights through a sociological perspective. In addition, she completed research under Dr. William Finlay on the modeling industry in Japan, which was conducted with oversight from the Institutional Review Board at UGA. In addition to advocating for models, she is a digital media strategist for brands and publications.
Madisyn Ritland has over 15 years of experience in fashion. After a decade of working as an international model, she co-founded The Lions Model Management NYC with a vision to create a modeling agency that would address industrywide issues she had personally encountered as a model, including problems with financial transparency, sexual harassment, and dangerous weight-loss practices. Partnerships with various designers, publishers, and retail companies provided further insight into the many voices and interests that make up this multi-trillion-dollar sector. She continues to advocate for labor rights and career longevity with the Model Alliance. In 2018 she spoke out about the sexual harassment she faced while modeling in a Boston Globe exposé. She currently writes and works in film, TV, and commercial development in Los Angeles.
Meisha Brooks is an actress, model, and mechanical engineer splitting her time between NYC, LA, and Tokyo. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Harvard College and is passionate about enhancing how humans experience the world around them, specializing in human interfaces, specifically accessibility, prosthetics, smart apparel, and humanoid robotics.
In addition to being an advocate for financial transparency in the fashion industry, Brooks's volunteer work focuses on providing technology education for underserved students of color.
Michael Boyd is a New York-based model, mental health advocate, and graduate student. From runway shows to music videos and editorials, his experiences as a model have been both rewarding and fundamental in informing his aims for change within the industry. In 2017, he detailed instances of adversity that he faced to WWD in an effort to shine a light on the various types of abuse and harassment that models are often subject to. Since then, he has spoken in a publication about the need for agencies to implement mental health services for models, has appealed to publicly elected officials in favor of adopting bills to protect models and actors, and has assisted with the development of the RESPECT Program.
Michael Boyd earned a B.A. from the New School for Public Engagement, finishing on the dean’s list, and is currently completing a master’s degree in psychology at the institution’s School for Social Research. His current research is centered around children and families who have experienced trauma, with specific interest in intergenerational transmissions of parenting and attachment-based interventions. Following the completion of his M.A. degree, he intends to pursue a PhD degree in clinical psychology.
Michon van As is a Dutch fashion model and entrepreneur. She grew up moving across Southern and Eastern Africa: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya. In 2015, she graduated with First Class Honors from the London School of Economics (LSE) with a focus on Environmental Economics and Sustainable Development. For the past eight years, she has built her portfolio of work as an industry-recognized model, that includes luminaries such as Dior, Stella McCartney, Paul Smith, and Mulberry. She is also a committed mentor to young women in fashion. Part of her holistic approach to mentorship is addressing mental and physical wellbeing, which she is able to maximize through her practice as an IIN certified health coach. It is her mission to make the fashion industry a healthier and safer industry and to help models develop the necessary toolkits for competitive career transitions.
Nathalia Novaes Originally from Brazil, Nathalia Novaes has been a successful model for over 10 years, working around the globe with prestigious clients including Elle, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Clinique, TRESemme, Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden. She became a strong voice in the advocacy for body diversity in fashion after recovering from an eating disorder.
A summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University, Nathalia completed a double major in Communications and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies. She is currently preparing for a graduate program in Journalism in New York City
Shivani Persad is a full-time model and activist from Toronto, Canada. In 2012 she completed her honors degree in Political Science and French at McMaster University. Her interests include diversity, intersectional feminism, and social justice. She resides in NYC where she produces her podcast More Than Model Radio, which explores the lives that models lead outside of the fashion industry. In 2019 she started @liveshivmedia social justice driven storytelling platform, to tell the stories that aren't being told. As a member of the leadership council, Shivani aims to contribute to research on race within the modeling industry.
Board of Directors
Dorian Warren is President of the Center for Community Change Action (CCCA) and Vice-President of the Center for Community Change (CCC). He is also a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. A progressive scholar, organizer and media personality, Warren has worked to advance racial, economic and social justice for over two decades. He previously taught for over a decade at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, where he was Co-Director of the Columbia University Program on Labor Law and Policy. Warren also worked at MSNBC where he was a Contributor, Host and Executive Producer of “Nerding Out” on MSNBC’s digital platform. Warren received his B.A. from the University of Illinois and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.
Mark Barenberg is the Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University, the Director of the Columbia Program on Labor Law and Political Economy, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Amsterdam. Professor Barenberg specializes in the fields of domestic labor law, international labor law, and constitutional law. He has taught at Harvard and Yale, and at the Universities of Rome, Cologne, Beijing, and Tokyo. He helped design the Worker Rights Consortium and the Fair Food Standards Council, two pioneering organizations in the field of worker-driven social responsibility. Professor Barenberg has served as an independent expert for the United Nation’s International Labor Organization, and as a consultant for the Department of Labor in the Obama Administration, members of the United States Senate, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, the Service Employees International Union, and many other worker rights organizations. He holds degrees from Harvard College (AB, summa cum laude), the London School of Economics (MSc, highest honors) and Harvard Law School (JD, magna cum laude), where he was Editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Scott Nova is Executive Director of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). The WRC is an independent labor rights monitoring organization that conducts investigations of working conditions in factories around the globe. The WRC’s purpose is to combat sweatshops and protect the rights of workers who sew apparel and make other products sold in the United States and Canada – in particular, garments bearing the logos of the WRC’s 157 affiliate universities and colleges. Prior to joining the WRC, Nova was Executive Director of the Citizens Trade Campaign, a national coalition of environmental, religious, human rights, labor and other public interest groups. Nova has written and spoken widely on international labor rights issues, in the United States and abroad. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
Anita Teekah,Esq. is the Senior Director of the Anti-Trafficking Program at Safe Horizon. She oversees a dynamic multi-disciplinary team of attorneys, social workers, trainers and administrative staff that provide holistic, wraparound services to all victims of human trafficking. ATP clients are both sex and/or labor trafficked, comprise all genders, and come from over 80 countries. Anita also spearheads ATP’s policy and advocacy efforts and represents the program in national, state and local level coalitions, including the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), Freedom Network USA, and the International Labor Recruitment Working Group. On behalf of ATP, Anita has lobbied in support of reauthorizing the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act. She co-leads the Brooklyn Human Trafficking Task Force with the Kings County District Attorneys Office and the US Attorneys Office for the EDNY, and co-chairs the Task Force’s Labor Subcommittee. Prior to coming to Safe Horizon, Anita worked with child labor and sex trafficking victims and child laborers in the Philippines and was a litigator.
Audrey Winn is a Skadden Fellowship Attorney working with the Model Alliance on the RESPECT Program and the MA Support Line. Before joining the Model Alliance, she graduated from the New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar, executive editor of the NYU Law Review, and a two-time recipient of Peggy Browning Fellowships. Her Student Note on labor issues in China appeared in the NYU Law Review, and her article on discrimination in the modeling industry won the New York State Bar Association’s Stein Award for best student writing on a labor and employment topic. After her fellowship, she will clerk for the Honorable Richard Paez on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hilary Jochmans is president of Jochmans Consulting, LLC, a boutique government affairs practice. She works with clients to determine their policy goals in Washington and New York and to craft an appropriate and effective advocacy plan at the federal and state levels. She focuses her business on policy areas important to New York, including financial services, technology, economic development and fashion. She is also the founder of PoliticallyInFashion, an on-line community for all those in fashion – designers, manufacturers, artisans, retailers, models, lawyers, reporters, fashionistas – to learn about legislative issues of key importance to the industry. The mission is to educate individuals on public policy; empower them with this knowledge; to engage with elected representatives on how these issues impact the industry and all those working in it.
Hilary has over 15 years of political and government experience in Washington and New York. Most recently before founding the company, Hilary was the Director of the New York State Governor’s Office in Washington for both Andrew Cuomo and David Paterson, and the Deputy Director for Eliot Spitzer. In that capacity, she served as the Governor’s chief liaison with Congressional leadership, the NY Congressional delegation and federal agencies. Hilary also spent 11 years on Capitol Hill working for Senator Tom Carper of Delaware and for Congressman Gary Ackerman of New York.
A native New Yorker, Hilary holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. She is admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar and the New York State Bar. Hilary is a frequent speaker in New York City and Washington DC on panels concerning fashion and politics including.
Jonathan Michael Square is a writer and historian specializing in fashion and visual culture of the African Diaspora. He has PhD in history from New York University, a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and B.A. from Cornell University. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design, and currently at Harvard University. He has have written for Fashionista, Fashion Studies Journal, Refinery29, Vestoj, Hyperallergic, and the International Journal of Fashion Studies. A proponent in the power of social media as a platform for radical pedagogy, he also run the website Fashioning the Self in Slavery and Freedom, which explores the intersection of the institution of slavery and the fashion system.
Marissa Nuncio joined the Garment Worker Center (GWC) in February 2013. Marissa proudly identifies as a Chicana. She became aware of worker struggles growing up in Magnolia Park, the oldest Mexican community in Houston, TX, surrounded by the City’s port and oil refineries. As a young adult, she studied in Mexico three years after NAFTA was implemented and learned of its devastating impacts on workers and communities throughout North America. Her commitment to worker organizing was solidified there, and in 2001 she joined Sweatshop Watch, a co-founding organization of the GWC, where her role was to support the newly established Center and its first campaigns. Inspired by work at the intersection of law and organizing, Marissa went on to earn her Juris Doctorate at Loyola Law School. She has represented unions, car wash workers, day laborers, and farmworkers. She is proud to have returned to the GWC to help frame its strategic organizing direction with its members and amazing staff. Marissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Mount Holyoke College. She is a member of the National Lawyers Guild. Marissa lives with her husband, mother, and two energetic children in East Los Angeles. When she catches a minute, she likes to make things; she bakes, sews, and makes jewelry.
Dr. Meredith Dank is a Research Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Her areas of focus include human trafficking, teen dating violence, LGBTQ issues, victimization, and qualitative methods. She has served as principal investigator on almost two dozen human trafficking studies, many of which have been funded by the Department of Justice, US Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services and private foundations. Her research has covered the labor and sex trafficking of adults and children, both in the United States and overseas. Dr. Dank has conducted research in over a dozen countries, including India, Nepal, Vietnam, Uganda, Belize, Cambodia, Brazil and the Philippines. She has also participated in a number of federal level stakeholder meetings on trafficking, including a White House stakeholder meeting on victim services for survivors. She holds a Ph. D. in criminal justice from John Jay College. She is the author of The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (LFB Publishing, 2011).
Rachel Gilman is a NYC based fashion stylist originally from Ventura, California.
Rachel moved to NYC to study fashion design at F.I.T. and went on to work as a design assistant to Betsey Johnson for three years. It was whilst assisting Betsey Johnson that she became aware of the impact of the role of fashion stylist and so she made the career change. Her styling work has been featured in M Le Monde, Vogue Ukraine, Teen Vogue, Bust and Dazed & Confused. Rachel is an advocate for animal rescue, having fostered six dogs consecutively out of her Manhattan studio apartment. In her spare time, she loves watching horror movies and dreaming up her next photoshoots. A safe environment on set for everyone is of the utmost importance to Rachel, so she is thrilled to join the Advisory Board.
Dr. Rachel Rodgers, Ph.D. is a researcher and clinical psychologist, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at Northeastern University, and director of the APPEAR research lab (http://nuweb9.neu.edu/appear/). She trained in the UK, France and Italy, and received her Ph.D. from the University Toulouse-le Mirail (France). Her research aims to examine socio-cultural determinants of body image, eating, and weight concerns, and develop effective prevention strategies targeting these factors, as well as to generate research which may inform public policy. Particularly, she is interested in informing policies with potential to decrease exposure to and pressure to attain social appearance ideals (media, advertising, fashion, etc.). She is the author of over 100 scholarly articles and book chapters.
Sanjay Pinto is a Brooklyn-based sociologist focusing on labor, social policy, and socioeconomic inequality. His current projects include research on gender and the political economy of care; the development of worker owned and controlled enterprises; and the impact of race on views about government in the American context. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology and social policy from Harvard, an M.Sc. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics, and is a fellow at the Worker Institute at Cornell and the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.