Our fearlessly cool leader Greg Alterman recently sat down with the multi-talented Teresa Herrera—model, actress and activist, among other things—to talk about her work with the Global Mala Project. Teresa produces the Manila chapter of GMP, an organization which uses yoga as peace in action. By obtaining sponsorship and collecting donations, the GMP raises funds and awareness for global issues. All proceeds are donated to environmental organizations such as Trees for the Future and Tubbataha Foundation for marine conservation. Greg and Teresa sit, grass-sprawled, on a sunny California day…
Greg: It’s hard to compete with those shoes today, Teresa, although my socks might be a close second.
Teresa: Hey, I got some killer socks too.
Greg: I don’t know what it is about socks these days, but they’ve made a pretty big comeback. Tell me about the moccasins you’ve got going here, T.
Teresa: You wanna hear the story of these shoes?
Greg: You know it.
Teresa: Well, in 2008, I was in Thailand for a magazine shoot and the photographer and I decided to take a boat across to a little island for a full moon party and I found these boots while partying on the beach from a ladyboy. Is that the right term? So I said hey, I love your shoes, where can I get them? And he says, well you’re in luck because I have a store nearby. So he takes me to this store at 4 in the morning, this little shack that was off the beaten bath. And in the wee hours of the morning he grins and tells me to choose any moccasins I would like. It was one of those experiences you never forget.
Greg: Boots with a story… I love it. So how long have I known you, T? About 6 years now?
Teresa: You know it.
Greg: And in all this time, you have never ceased to amaze me. You are a one-of-a-kind person, leading a bi-continental life, and always marching to the beat of your own drum. You’re constantly immersing yourself in all kinds of hobbies, pursuits, interests, professions… the list is endless. You seem like this kind of eternal world traveler. Tell me a bit about your charity work and how that plays a part in your life.
Teresa: Well, I’m from the Philippines and I come from a family where it is important to give back. Whoever you are, whatever you too, there is nothing more humbling that contributing to a cause or to those less fortunate. My grandmother was a healer and instilled these values in me from a young age. She taught me to find a cause that I believe in and that I support wholeheartedly. I believe it healthy to find that balance as a person… because it keeps you sane, keeps you real. For me personally, I produce the Manila chapter of an event called Global Mala Project. Over 150 cities in 35 countries all over the world participate. We partner up with different corporations for sponsorship and even take donations throughout the day. We use yoga as peace in action. We offer all-day yoga for the price of one class and all of the proceeds go to environmental organizations such as Trees for the Future, which spearhead tree-planting projects all over the world, and Tubbataha Foundation, a marine conservation organization. We’re smaller, grassroots, and based out of Puerto Princesa in the Philippines. Our foremost mission is to protect the marine parks. Because the country is an archipelago, there are over 3,100 islands in which it is comprised of… thus the majority of our environmental issues stem from the sea. Being overfished is one concern. Another is dynamite fishing. This organization not only helps protect the reefs, but it also facilitates in educating the young kids in local schools, as they are the ones growing up to become the next fishermen of their generation. Our goal is to educate these young minds and to teach them to fish in a sustainable way. Dynamite fishing may generate mass results in the short-run, but in the long-run, you are killing off the fish populations for the next two decades. These locals aren’t aware of the potential damage that arises as a result of such drastic fishing measures. Thus, our ultimate purpose is to generate awareness for the future of the fishing livelihood in our country. Longevity is key.