Mikhaela Maria aims to continue advocating for sustainable living through her online platform

FOR some time now, Mikhaela Maria has been a notable face in the local fashion and lifestyle industry. Since the Subang Jaya native launched her modelling career at age 18, she has rackedup a series of achievements.

As a commercial and fashion model, for instance, she has fronted campaigns and walked runways for chic brands like Uniqlo, Levi, Kree and Zalora.

And though she did not set out to be a content creator, Mikhaela has curated content for prominent clients such as Tropicana Twister, Tune Talk, and Tiger, to name a few.

“I did not really seek it out. I just had Instagram and I would just post for my friends and stuff.

“And over time, I started getting a lot of different brand deals naturally. And now I am here. I am a content creator full-time,” said the now-23-year-old during our interview at Ara Damansara.

$!Mikhaela Maria during her shoot for Uniqlo. - UNIQLO

However, the attention on her these days has gone beyond her career as a model and content creator. In fact, it is a bit more personal – and environmental.

For the past few months, Mikhaela’s public advocacy for sustainability has been making quite an impression online. She has indeed been busy utilising her social platform to spread the good word about sustainable living.

To which, she explains it as the ability to live one’s life without jeopardising the future generation’s needs. “Essentially, it is about being conscious about how you live, being conscious about what you use, what happens to the things you use.

“How much do you really need and just overall being more conscious in general about your lifestyle.”

Acting on her passion

As to why she began publicly advocating for sustainability, Mikhaela explained that the cause has always been a passion of hers. Although she initially had a basic perception of the matter, her interest grew after she stumbled upon a video online.

“I came across this video that was about a bulk food store. It was one of those stores where you can fill up your stuff. And it was in Denmark. And when I saw the video, it kind of just opened up my mind. I did not know there was actually a concept like this. A place where you can bring your own things and get daily necessities such as rice, herb spices, and flour. And I never knew things like that existed.”

This then prompted her to search if stores like these existed in Malaysia.

“There was Nude Zero Waste in SS2 (Petaling Jaya). And so, I went to check it out and I started shopping there. And from there, I started looking at different areas of my life and kind of took note of what waste I was generating.”

$!Mikhaela’s photoshoot for the KREE SS20 collection. - KREE

Using her voice

Even though she started adopting eco-friendly habits into her daily life, she was sure that she could do more for the cause, especially with her social platform. Thus, she kickstarted her online advocacy early this year.

But she ensured her support did not translate into preachiness, as she believes pushing your opinion down someone’s throat will not go very far.

“The best way to advocate for something is to inspire people by your own actions.

“So, instead of teaching, I always try to show them. In other words, I always try to walk the talk because I feel it will make it easier for people to learn and follow.”

As a content creator, she carries out her advocacy by sharing her daily eco-friendly initiatives online.

For example, she often posts about the eco-friendly products she uses and her experiences shopping at bulk food stores and second-hand clothing shops (donating there too), and even created a social page to advancing the cause.

The page titled @prettyshadesofgreen features her own original content. Each post is dedicated to spreading awareness about the benefits that come with sustainable living.

Aside from that, she walks the talk by lending her hand to enterprises dedicated to the cause.

From regularly participating in their “gotong royongs” to joining their workshops, Mikhaela is always ever ready to volunteer.

$!Mikhaela frequently attends local “gotong-royong” sessions. - MIKHAELA MARIA

Baby steps

Nevertheless, like any regular ambition, attaining an eco-friendly life can be extremely difficult, especially during its initial stages.

And Mikhaela can resonate with that, as she still sometimes struggles.

“I am not, like, 100% sustainable.

“I am just trying to tackle different sectors of my life. Like along the way and over time when you reach a certain level of mastery, you can soon move on to the next level and focus on different areas to work on.”

In fact, she has big plans to grow this cause in the near future.

“The plan for this year would definitely be to grow @prettyshadesofgreen and further get involved in more sustainability initiatives.”

And of course, it goes without saying, she also hopes to focus on expanding her career as a model and content creator.