Be You Conversations: Anne Therese Bengtsson
By: Nicki Patel | 6.27.18
Heart of Gold, Unwavering Courage
"A woman in harmony with her spirits is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself." ~ Maya Angelou
Anne is not only a climate activist, founder of a modeling agency, and an amazing podcaster, she is the kindest, most honest, and humble person I have gotten to know. She has become a true friend and I couldn't imagine the journey of milo+nicki without her. Her courage, resilience, and strength from Sweden to USA, model to role model, showcases not only her unwavering love and passion for bettering this world, but inspiring and empowering other women to follow in pursuit. I hope you are as inspired and empowered by her journey as I am.
Above all things I want to call myself a Stubborn Climate Optimist and it’s through that picture of myself that I approach the world every single day. I believe in our ability to make change in this world and I think it’s vital that we choose to see positivity and hope, over negativity and fear.
Today the eco-warrior me lives in San Francisco, a city I moved to with my now husband last summer having spent the previous three years back and forth between Sweden (my home country) and New York. It was in New York I started modeling with the hope that a modeling career could give me a social platform to help and inspire others, and promote a sustainable and compassionate kind of lifestyle. But a signed model with one of New York’s oldest agencies and still lacking that transparency and platform, I got the idea of taking things in my own hands.
So today, in 2018, I’m the Co-Founder of Role Models Management, an Ethical Model & Talent Agency on a mission to redefine what it’s like to be a model. Role Models Mgmt represents individuals with unique and inspiring stories who want to use their voice to drive positive change in this world; a voice that will further create transparency in marketing for proactive and socially responsible brands.
I’m also the host of Podcast Hey Change, a podcast where I inspire people to embrace curiosity, happiness and positivity, as well as promote an ethical, just and sustainable way of life. I’ve been vegan for almost 4 years now and it was by changing my food so drastically (going from carnivore to full-time vegan) that I realized our ability to spiritually transform as humans and the value that comes from continuously seeking growth, learning and new ways of looking at life.
What is your favorite food/dish (because I love FOOD)?
Honestly, my morning oats - they just never get old! I eat them with cinnamon (lot’s of it), slide banana, apples (organic Fuji apples are my favorites), blueberries, raisins, walnuts and - if the day feels special enough - a generous spoon of peanut butter! YUMMM
What does it mean to you to be you in a world of others?
I grew up believing it was super important that everyone around me liked me and only thought good things about me, and I made it my one mission to please everyone and do my best to “fit in” no matter the occasion. If I happened to hear anything about me that I thought to be untruthful and more importantly - that didn’t align with the image I had of myself - it would get me down and I would not be able to let go of it for a very long time. Then one day someone very smart told me “You can be the ripest and juiciest peach in the world and there’s always gonna be someone who doesn’t like peaches” and it hit me - OMG!! Why am I trying to be all those things when really, all I truly have to do is be me?
It changed my world and ever since I’ve made it my mission to be me to the fullest I could possibly be.
What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self – about life, career, hopes/dreams, anything?
Faith + Action + Time = Magic. Keep believing in your dreams but don’t get nervous when things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes (read most times) things take longer than we expect and by thinking that we have to be somewhere by a certain time, we’ve almost missed the whole point. Yes, reaching a goal and achieving a dream is huge, but what’s even more important is the road that will take you there. Because on the road is where we grow into the people we are meant to be and when we truly get to know ourselves on a whole other level. On the road is where the true magic happens so don’t forget to enjoy the ride and to be humble with yourself and all the new things that will come your way. Mistakes make you grow and you wouldn’t be who you are today had you never made them!
So don’t stress. I think that’s what I would tell my younger self. Keep going but don’t stress over thinking you have to be somewhere at a certain age or by a certain time. Now is where the magic happens.
What would you tell someone who is trying/struggling to find themselves in the chaos/noise of the world?
First, I want to say that we’re all struggling so don’t feel like you’re this loser who can’t seem to figure it out. Then I would probably advise you to keep a small notebook with you at all times and keep jotting down things - everything - as they come to you; thoughts, reflections, questions, dreams! You can figure out a lot about yourself by just putting it down in written words, believe me. Then just continue to ask questions and start incorporate things, events and people into your life that interest you and by changing your environment little by little, you’ll soon see yourself shifting into a new kind of mindset. One day you’ll just know that this is who you want to be! But don’t fear change, never fear change!