Behind the scenes of our Gossamer campaign shoot, we interviewed Astrid Holler; free-diver, fashion model and student of Environmental Studies. 

An avid free-diver, alongside her modelling aspirations, is her appreciation for the ocean. Passionate about conservation and protection of the ocean, she recently joined the challenge to collect plastic for Plastic Free July; a global movement created to help people reduce and choose to refuse-single use plastics. 

Growing up under the Australian sun, and a Northern Beaches local, Astrid Holler shares her favourite places to free dive, everyday considerations on how to protect our oceans and why she spends so much time underwater.

How long have you been free diving?

I’ve been free diving for two and a half years now.

How did you become interested in ocean diving? What drew or inspired you?
I’ve always loved the ocean. I was a competitive swimmer when I was growing up. I took a scuba diving course when I was in high school, but then didn’t really enjoy it because it wasn’t like free swimming. I then read a book about free diving, decided to try it, and completed a course.

What is your favourite sea creature? And why?
I like cuttlefish because they’re very smart. I recently read an article that they have really good long-term memory, and the older they get the better their memory is. Another feature I find really cool is their skin changes colour and texture instantly.

What are some easy or simple steps that people can take to help our oceans?
So in terms of plastic pollution, people can stop using single use plastic like styrofoam cups, takeaway cups, you can bring your own reusable water bottle to work [she smiles she holds up her own]. What else can you do? You can buy at bulk food stores, so you don’t use plastic. The most important thing is educate yourself; just google to try and learn as much as you can about how you can reduce your footprint.

Why are you an activist for the ocean?
I have been my whole life. When I was younger I had a big interest in ocean conservation, and it kind of solidified when I became a free-diver; I dove in the ocean every day and saw so much plastic. I did a bit more research and found out that plastic pollution is a really big problem. That experience opened my eyes to other issues such as bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, climate change, over fishing, chemical dumping, and I realised somethings need to change. 

What is it about the ocean that you love?
Just being underwater, stepping back from the world and just relaxing. When you hold your breath whilst free-diving, you really focus on your body and what’s happening around you.  You listen to your surroundings and feel the water on your skin [she says as she smiles, laughing as she recalls the feeling]; it feels really nice.

It is important to you to work with brands that align with your values?
If a brand supports ocean conservation, I would love to support them.

What does being a 'conscious consumer' mean to you?
It means thinking about the product you’re going to buy, thinking about when you’re using it and what happens to it afterwards. Can you recycle it? Can you re-use it? Are you going to donate it to someone that can re-wear or re-use it? What kind of materials is it made out of? Are they sustainable? Just thinking about the whole process behind what you’re purchasing before you purchase it.

Learn more about Astrid's favourite ocean organisations below:

Plastic Free July

Great Reef Census


Or join us in supporting the Australian Marine Conservation Society and their Ocean Plastic Pollution Campaign