I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Cleary.
Katie is an international model, award-winning producer and animal welfare advocate who spends her time helping animals across the globe. She is the founder of Peace 4 Animals, a non-profit dedicated to protecting endangered species, companion animals, and promoting a plant-based lifestyle.
She is the creator of World Animal News, a popular news network delivering breaking news to readers worldwide.
Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
“I love being out on the ocean; it balances me and brings me peace. Paddle boarding is one of my favorite things to do, especially when you can paddle next to a pod of dolphins. I love boating and traveling to explore different countries around the world.
“Meeting people and learning new cultures is one of my passions. Sometimes it seems like we’re living in a bubble and people don’t explore the world like they should. I think studying abroad is very important and being worldly and experiencing life instead of living on social media is key. I love visiting exotic islands that have rich biodiversity of plants and animals.
“I also enjoy going to the movies, some of my favorites are period films and action flicks.
“My pet peeves are when I lose or can’t find something; when you are at a restaurant and the person you are with does not acknowledge or even say thank you to the wait staff, that shows someone’s character right away; and, when people litter, especially near the ocean where it affects marine life.”
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“I am a big sports fan!
“I played basketball in junior high and received a partial track scholarship in college.
“I love listening to rap, hip hop and R&B. I am also a big Reggae fan, and I love exotic cars and use to race a bit back in the day.”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“I am currently working on my second documentary titled, We Are One, the follow-up to my first that premiered on Netflix in 2014 called Give Me Shelter. My film crew and I just got back from Africa where we filmed some incredible people who are fighting to protect our world’s most threatened species. We are examining conservation efforts through anti-poaching and rehabilitation facilities for rhinos, elephants, lions, great white sharks and giraffes, and then heading to Southeast Asia tracing orangutan rescue and anti-smuggling operations for orangutans and pangolins (the world’s most trafficked mammal). We are covering the factory farming industry and how a plant-based diet may be the key to saving our planet and its precious species from extinction.
“We Are One aims to highlight the people on the front lines of the fight, using their influence and voices to defend the defenseless. We are highlighting why protecting these magnificent species is so difficult both physically and politically by showing the legislative process…passing laws in California aimed at ending the possession of “trophy” animals from Africa who are also endangered. And, we are helping to pass The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, making California the first state to ban cosmetics that are tested on animals, which would save the lives of approximately 500,000 animals per year.”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why.
“I would have to say that my mom and my grandfather did because they both taught me to never depend on anyone else, to accomplish your dreams in life, to be a strong independent woman, have a passion and purpose in life, and to do it on your own and never give up.
“I began modeling and acting when I was 11-years-old and worked very hard in the business for over 25 years to accomplish my goals, and now I have transitioned into my passion for animal welfare and starting the news network, World Animal News, and my non-profit, Peace 4 Animals.
“It has been an uphill battle trying to convince the world that animals are worth protecting, but it’s one passion that I know I will be doing for the rest of my life. This is something that both my mother and grandfather instilled in me: having a passion and purpose in this world to make a difference.
Leaders always seem to find ways to overcome their weaknesses. Can you share one or two examples of how you work outside of your comfort zone to achieve success?
“I honestly never stop.
“I tend to work overtime because I know there are lives that need to be saved; lives who depend on me. I have seen the worst of the worst of what humans can do to animals and have learned to compartmentalize and fight through the pain of what I see and hear. But, it’s important to report on what’s happening to animals around the world so that more people can help make the necessary changes needed to save them. It’s a very hard thing to do, but I know that it is something that must be done worldwide.
“I had a fear of public speaking and knew that if I wanted to be a voice for the animals that I had to overcome that fear, so I said yes when asked to tell my story at animal welfare rallies around the country, and eventually overcame my fear.
“My advice is to jump in head first and confront you fears, and eventually that fear will become a thing of the past.”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation)?
I conquer my fears head on. One fear that I had was diving with sharks. One day in 2010 I decided to conquer my fear and dive with lemon sharks in the South Pacific. I was shaking the first time I jumped into the middle of the ocean with my dive gear but had an amazing dive master alongside me telling me to pay attention to my breath and keep breathing and everything will be ok as we approached a lemon shark. It was such an exhilarating experience and one that I will never forget. Mind over matter is real.”
What are your “3 Lessons I Learned from My Most Memorable Failure”
“To never give up on your dreams. The longer it takes to accomplish, the greater the reward will be. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do something… if it is your passion and mission in life, pursue it.”
What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?
“I think the best advice to give anyone who is pursuing their passion in life is to trust your gut every time; it will always steer you in the right direction. Work hard and stay focused on your mission. There will always be others trying to throw you off your path or say that you can’t do it, but you can.
“I am proof that with hard work, determination, and a passion in life, you are capable of achieving anything that you put your mind to. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, so if you fail, get back up and try again.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
“Not to put up with crap and to become a leader so that you don’t have to work for anyone.”
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“My days are very hectic with work and travel, so I keep organized by putting everything in my calendar. It helps me manage my time more effectively and keeps all of my meetings and calls organized. I also try and make time to work out, or meditate, which helps to keep me focused.”
All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges?
“I think the night before we go to the capitol, or have a press conference for legislation, is my 2 a.m. moment. Hoping that the press conference goes well, and the bill passes onto the next round is what can keep me up at night because you are fighting for something greater than yourself: thousands of animals whose lives are at stake, and you know you have to keep fighting for them and never give up hope for change.”
What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?
“We are heading to Sumatra and Borneo to film the plight of endangered orangutans (due to the rampant destruction of the rainforest to plant African oil palm trees that are harvested for a cheap vegetable oil, that is in 50% of all products at the grocery store).
“It’s a very sad fact but the destruction is taking away orangutan’s rainforest habitat, something that we must bring to light in our documentary We are One before we lose many of these species to extinction.”
What did we miss? Feel free to share any other thoughts or advice on overcoming failure, initiatives you’re currently supporting, any other relevant information you would like to share with the readers.
We are currently working on a plant-based campaign with someone who I have always looking up to as a child, Jane Goodall, and I can’t wait to share it with our Peace 4 Animals followers soon.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Also they can follow me on Facebook or on Instagram: @KatieCleary11 @Peace_4Animals and @WorldAnimalNews and Twitter @Katie_Cleary @Peace_4_Animals and @WorldAnimalNews
Originally published at medium.com