A Personal Statement
I grew up in a picturesque town of Northeastern Pennsylvania where my backyard served as a constant source of curiosity. My artwork—inspired by the American Indian portraitures of Edward S. Curtis—and the foreign, but familiar lands, of my mother’s National Geographic collection— lit a small blue flame of restless wanderings of my mind.
First and foremost I consider myself a lover of nature, an advocate for people and their environment. You can call me many titles, but that is the one that I feel best describes who I am, what drives me—and that’s the work that I am most proud of. I am one of the lucky ones: I’ve always had a passion. It was with me the day I was born. I have known nothing else…And that most defines how I go about my life.
Everything I do that you see on these pages—whether it be a model, author, educator, advisor, host, creator, or collaborator—is influenced, if not defined by my activism and my deeper exploration into personal curiosity and fulfillment. I specifically seek out programs and work that specifically enable, enhance, or add to the work that I am most passionate about; programs that will bring important issues to a wider audience and make them more relevant to all of our lives; and to empower individuals and all of us collectively.
I firmly believe that we all want—or at least would like to be (whether we know it or not)—part of something that is greater than all of us. This is why I am here. This is why you are here. Oftentimes I get the question, “What can I do? ”
If questions answered questions, I would reply: “What are you capable of? ” Moreover, what are you interested in doing? That of course is not the answer anyone is looking for, but it serves as a rhetorical reminder of our own personal interest in making a difference. It touches on the assumption that you, like me, all want to do better, not only for ourselves, but the rest of the planet.
How I live out my life may not look or feel like how you live out your life and that’s totally cool. We all come from different backgrounds, different cultures, and are all in different places in our lives. Do what works for you where you are in life. Light your own fire, blaze your own path, work hard…and most importantly, live by example. ♥
~ Summer Rayne Oakes
Bio: From Entomologist to EcoModel
Summer Rayne Oakes has taken an unlikely career path, having parlayed her background in environmental science and entomology with a successful career as a fashion model. Considered one of the foremost authorities in sustainable design, Oakes has co-founded the award-winning online materials marketplace, Source4Style; authored the best-selling style guide, Style, Naturally; is creative designer behind her line of recycled optics and shades called eco by Summer Rayne Oakes; has collaborated on collections with Payless ShoeSource, Portico Home and Aveeno; and was the muse behind the creation of the Prius C (Toyota even went so far as to name a paint color in her honor).
Formerly an on-air correspondent for Discovery Networks Planet Green, Oakes has once again turned to the media world, producing an award winning environmental art short entitled eXtinction and recently launched a weekly video series called SUMMER RAYNE OAKES Conversations, which features deeper conversations with cool people on what matters most.
Vanity Fair has named Oakes a “Global Citizen,” Outside called her one of the “Top Environmental Activists,” and CNBC called her one of the “Top 10 Green Entrepreneurs.” Summer Rayne graduated cum laude from Cornell University with degrees in Environmental Science and Entomology and is a Udall environmental scholar, PERC Environmental Fellow, and National Wildlife Federation Fellow. Oakes graduated from Cornell University and currently lives in Brooklyn with her two dozen exotic insects.