Terra Masia, one of the three biodynamic farms in Ibiza, is located on the outskirts of the municipality of Santa Eulalia del Río, in an idyllic area that’s unknown even to most locals. As soon as you start down the road that leads to the nearly 140-acre property, it’s easier to breathe. There’s a feeling of being immersed in the fullness of nature. “You come to this farm and you feel different. It’s visceral. You can tell for sure: there’s something special going on here. This is a healthy place,” says Arizona Muse. The model and activist has spent time here since 2020, when she moved to Ibiza with her husband and two children.
Her landing in the Mediterranean was by no means accidental. After a meteoric career as a model, living in major cities in the United States and Europe, the pandemic provoked a turning point for a radical change in her life and interests. “We were living in London when COVID-19 broke out and realized we wanted to move somewhere else. Ibiza popped up very quickly on our list of destinations because we’ve had some incredible times here,” she says. Having grown up in New Mexico, she had some familiarity with Spanish, something that contributed to her decision to move to the Pitiusa island. “I think it’s something important, because it can be rude [not speaking the language]. I didn’t want to convey that feeling to the wonderful people who have been here for hundreds and hundreds of years nurturing a culture of their own,” she says. “I think that’s what Ibiza is, it’s their language and their customs, and it’s something incredible.”
This change of residence is just one of the many ways in which Muse’s personal and professional transformation has materialized. Her commitment to environmentalism has influenced most aspects of her life, but particularly her understanding the fashion industry. “Activism has completely changed my view of the industry,” she says. “I’m deeply committed to changing course. We have to make sure we build businesses that don’t harm the planet and that contribute to social good.”
Muse began an introspective process to help change the course of the industry seven years ago. From the start, all her research led her to one element: soil health. It’s since become the focus of her activism. “In the beginning, when I was learning about fashion and clothing materials, everything was leading me back to the earth, where things grow,” Muse recalls.
So, in 2021, she launched DIRT, an organization for the regeneration of the land that collaborates with farms and biodynamic agriculture projects, and acts as a link for companies willing to support producers and contribute to establish more sustainable processes. “I don’t want donors to come to DIRT to give money and subsequently leave. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about building a reciprocal relationship, and the best way to do that is to find businesses that can actually source from the project.”
Only a year old, DIRT has an ambitious portfolio of collaborations with different initiatives, including a biodynamic wool-producing farm in England, a mine regeneration project in Uganda, and a foundation for a new mine in the United States. The DIRT has an ambitious portfolio of collaborations with different initiatives, including a biodynamic wool production farm in England, a mine regeneration project in Uganda and a foundation that helps rescue, protect and reintegrate trafficked children and women in Romania by offering them shelter and work on biodynamic farms. “For me, it’s the most amazing result of this adventure. It’s not just about money, but a real community effort that is likely to be a long-term partnership. It’s just amazing,” Muse says.
This equation also includes collaborations with fashion and beauty companies that are committed to caring for the planet. Among them is Weleda, a leading company in the use of biodynamic agriculture for the cultivation of its skin-care ingredients and with which Arizona has felt connected since she was very young. “My relationship with the brand goes back to my early years. We always had their products at home. I remember Weleda almost since before I was born,” she says. The model and activist is the ambassador for their campaign Save Earth’s Skin, which makes consumers aware of the importance of treating the earth’s skin—the soil—as they would their own. “That skin is the existing membrane between the Earth and what’s on it [the world we live in], and we need to take care of it. So I think it’s an incredibly important campaign and I’m very happy to be able to do this together,” Muse says.
For fashion and beauty brands, creating environmentally friendly products through responsible production processes has become an urgent mission, and a necessary response to the current climate situation. But there is a fine line between real commitment and pure marketing strategy, which Muse acknowledges. “As a population we are under-educated about what the Earth needs, so it’s very easy for companies and governments to engage in greenwashing,” she warns. Her experience in the fashion sphere and her training in the field of sustainability have helped her identify the authenticity of campaigns. For her, the key is to differentiate ambitions from facts. “When a brand tells you what they want to do in the future and how amazing that project is, there’s probably greenwashing. I always think, ‘Tell me about something you’ve already done. If you’ve already done it, you’re telling me about it and it’s beneficial, I applaud you.’ When it’s just an ambition, that’s the germ of greenwashing.”
It’s obvious how passionate Muse is about caring for the environment when you hear her talk about it and see her relate to the environment at Terra Masia. Her conviction is contagious. “My life has changed incredibly and I will never go back. It’s not a trend, it’s something I feel deep inside. Information and knowledge are things you build, and they help you grow as a person as well.” Muse sends a message that, sooner or later, we should all be participating in this building of information and activism, although she is fully aware that many actions require a situation of privilege. “If you don’t have the money to buy the sustainable version of any product, don’t feel guilty. It’s really a government problem. What we need is a system change,” she notes, while encouraging those who do have a choice to invest in sustainable projects that advocate transparency: “Think of them as good people doing good things and trying to support the communities around them.”