Cornell University graduate, self-taught naturist, environmental activist, author, editor/green-themed columnist, television personality and…oh yeah…the very first eco-supermodel to hit the ground running, Summer Rayne Oakes is certainly one of those unusual contradictions that you don’t encounter very often in the entertainment biz. Hardly content to carve out a niche in the eco-world based solely on her good looks, the seemingly tireless multi-disciplined entrepreneur has chosen to become involved in so many different projects benefiting Mother Nature in some way, shape or form that one can only hope that others in the public eye follow her lead. With every endeavor that the natural beauty takes on, she demonstrates that there’s far more to life than just collecting a fat pay check.
Before it was cool or trend-worthy, looking out for the well being of our planet was always Oakes’ main modus operandi. Winning a Udall Environmental Scholarship enabled her to attend NY’s famed Ivy League university where she explored rainforest regeneration in the Dominican Republic, lobbied against pesticide application, conducted stream water quality studies and authored eco-academic publications on the health consequences of applying sewage biosolids on land. While still working on her BA in Natural Resources and Entomology, she took on a few modeling assignments and ultimately managed to springboard the somewhat clashing worlds of beauty, fashion, eco-activism and socially conscious business into one symbiotic venture that to this day continues to flourish.
Deeply ensconced in all things green, Oakes told Gettysburg students during a 2007 speech that her own innovative business model emerged out of her personal eco-passion and the realization that she “couldn’t find a company or organization that shared the same vision I had for the future”. This is reflected in her latest collaboration with YOOXYGEN, the online eco-shopping initiative in which planet friendly and ethically-minded books, fashion, jewelry, and other products are sold to consumers, with 100% of their shipping footprint offset via reforestation and clean energy projects. Oakes has designed his and hers short sleeved 100% organic cotton t-shirts for their ever.green series which are emblazoned with a beetle graphic (a shout-out to her affinity for entophilia and appreciation for exotic insects). Proceeds of the limited edition $39 shirt will be donated to Green Cross International, which was established in an effort to secure a more sustainable future by addressing environmental degradation as well as poverty and security issues. Let’s hear it for the creepy crawlies in the house!