The Official Green Queen: Changing The Meaning Of The Word Influencer Channels Due

Sunday September 1, 2019

My name is Luissa Burton known online as “The Official Green Queen”. My mission: to make being green and acting green, hip, aspirational and cool especially amongst the younger generation. What does it mean to be green? To reduce, reuse, rethink, recycle and have respect for our planet. My background is in pageantry and modelling. However, I am not, as people like to stereotype models “just a pretty face”. I am passionately changing the meaning of the word model to role model.

This is an age where the internet has taken over with the average user spending three hours and fifteen minutes on their mobile phone every day. It is important to me that my platform, voice and visibility is used in a positive way, to educate and inspire humanity on issues facing our planet. I have built up an online following across various media channels due to my pageant history and modelling career through which I have now created my “The Official Green Queen” brand, coining the motto “green is the new sexy”. However, the word “influencer” has been overused. Being an influencer is when you are able to provide value to a life or a cause and produce results. You do not have “influence” because 20,000 people liked one photo. True influence comes from what you do and the example you set. Change is created from the consistency of your words and actions and as a result, others will rise up to the challenge to join you. I want to shift the way we view what authentic influence is and to inspire the world to do the same. A little history about my environmental journey. In 2016, I attended Miss Earth, an environmental pageant in the Philippines. Among other awareness initiatives, we spent one month visiting schools and universities talking about important issues to students and also planting trees at many different locations throughout the country. Later, in 2018, I took part in and won Miss Europe World. The first British woman to accomplish this. After winning, I set a goal to climb Europe’s highest mountain wearing the sash to help raise awareness to other issues that affect millions of people including myself, which are skin conditions. I was able to raise $15,000 for the British Skin Foundation.

When working as a model, I noticed a concerning lack of regard for the environment within the industry. I was constantly being encouraged to shoot with animal furs which I refused to do. Makeup products were tested on animals, an avoidable horror that we no longer need to partake in and it hurts me how “fast fashion” is the second biggest polluting industry to our planet. I have worked in an industry based on perfection whilst suffering from both eczema and psoriasis. At times it can cover my entire body and face in painful sores. This led me to do deep research resulting in me now only using non-toxic, vegan, cruelty-free beauty products which I insist I use during photo shoots. We all have a personal responsibility to take care of our health and to be conscious of the toxins we are putting into and onto our bodies as well as the impact we are leaving on the planet and further generations. This naturally led me to work with an eco couture fashion designer named Deborah Lindquist in Los Angeles shooting sustainable high fashion that is chic and stylish. The outfits contained organic materials, recycled fishing nets and other reworked materials.

My passion to spread the eco message has now expanded far beyond the fashion industry. Through my extensive travels it has hurt me to see the damage we have done to the world. A clear example was during my visit to Bali on an eco tour. Although I was staying at green lodges and partaking in eco-tourism activities, what I found outside those walls was very different: piles of discarded single use plastics on the pavements where children play; at the beach where marine life can ingest and ultimately die. It is interesting what tourism boards and social media do not show on the true conditions of this premium vacation destination. This was not the idyllic photographs one sees on Instagram. With my platform gaining strength, I met with the First Lady of Ghana in Accra as Miss Earth England to talk about the sanitation problems and environmental issues there due to the lack of trash bins in the city. The President and the First Lady pledged to budget for more trash bins around the city after our meeting, which has now been implemented. Several beauty queens along with myself worked with the local community to clear up trash from the streets. It was a beautiful scene of camaraderie as everyone worked together for the restoration of our planet one step at a time. Micro effort equaling macro effect.

In 2011, I decided to hike Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I must confess it was exhausting, emotionally draining, mentally testing and at times I wanted to give up. Regardless, it was worth it when the sun broke through on the final summit night where I got to see the earth in all of its glory. The rolling clouds below me looked crystal white and pristine. The glacier walls on the final stretch to the summit looked like glistening paintings. The scenery below of grassland and savannah made me think of all the magnificent animals that majestically wandered its plains. In that moment I realised the vulnerability of our Earth, our home, and our need to protect it. Furthermore, I also helped to raise money for Child Reach International charity during the climb. We have forgotten to be good guests and to walk lightly on Earth like its other creatures do.

Why is it OUR combined responsibility to make protecting the planet the number one priority? It boils down to simply the sustainability of all life. We knew about these problems decades ago and we have made political agreements and business decisions that we are now having to deal with the consequences of today. We cannot be blind to this and postpone action any longer, we are in fact late. Everything was created to be interconnected. Everything has a ripple effect as a result of the decisions we make. We cannot continue to pretend or remain unaware that we have a global problem. My purpose as “The Official Green Queen” is to make a massive difference in creating a better tomorrow.

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