Arizona Muse Finds Beauty and Wonder in Dirt

arizona muse poses in black trousers, camisole and jacket

Jacket, $9,100, vest, $9,100, ankle boots, $1,490, Gucci. Earrings, Ariana Boussard-Reifel, $525.

Alvaro Beamud Cortes

Arizona Muse’s life has changed tremendously in the years since she rapidly ascended the fashion world hierarchy after both opening and closing a Prada show in 2010 as a newcomer to modeling. Magazine covers and campaigns for brands like Louis Vuitton, Jil Sander and Fendi soon followed. But now her days are filled with discussions of soil, crop resiliency and everything else relating to regenerative agriculture, a practice that she believes could significantly help fight the climate crisis.

arizona muse wears a glittery gown and emerald necklace

Dress, Celine by Hedi Slimane. Necklace, Messika.

Alvaro Beamud Cortés

In 2021, Muse formed Dirt, a charity devoted to promoting biodynamic farming. “I’ve been a model for a very long time. I started educating myself about the fashion industry and about the negative impact that we as a whole are having on the climate and all the people who work along our supply chains. Everything kept bringing me back to soil,” she says. “I started volunteering on farms — a specific type of farm called a biodynamic farm. I just fell in love with biodynamics and really believed that this type of regenerative agriculture has the potential to be one of the major solutions to climate change.”

arizona muse wears white, high waisted pants and a purple top

Top, $3,695, trousers, $1,795, Giorgio Armani. Vintage Chanel belt, Valois Vintage.

Alvaro Beamud Cortés

Muse has taken on the task of being an ambassador for biodynamic farming, a concept that few outside the agriculture industry are fully familiar with. “Regenerative farmers are amazing because they’re not using any chemicals at all. They’re composting and building soil fertility that way,” she explains. “Then you have biodynamics, which takes another leap in another direction off of regenerative. What you have is a type of agriculture that uses all the techniques within regenerative, like crop rotation, like mobile grazing for animals, like composting and then it takes another layer as well. It says, okay, so plants have a physical being that I can touch, eat sometimes even. But there’s undeniably something inside them that’s keeping them alive. They look very different when they’re dead for instance. Biodynamics has these medicines that farm the life within the plants.”

“My activism would not have been the same had I not been a model first. If I’d gone to become a farmer at age 20 instead of a model, I would’ve had a different impact as an activist.”

Her career as a model has dramatically shifted as Muse has become increasingly involved in climate activism. Now 33, Muse finds that the kind of modeling offers she receives are different than those of a decade ago, as are her priorities. “The work I do accept as a model now is few and far between, and I’m very careful about who I like to work with. I really also try not to travel long distances. It rarely happens anymore that I would accept a shoot that was in a far-off country. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me,” she says. “But I do still model a little bit and I’m grateful to the modeling that I did for fueling my activism, because I recognize that my activism would not have been the same had I not been a model first. If I’d gone to become a farmer at age 20 instead of a model, I would’ve had a different impact as an activist.”

arizona muse wears a black halter necked dress with a belt and earrings

Dress, Hermès, $9,700. Bra, Dolce & Gabbana, $345. Earrings, Van Cleef & Arpels. Belt, Sonia Petroff, $985.

Alvaro Beamud Cortés

  • BEAUTY TIP: For sleek yet soft hold, spritz hair with Aveda Texture Tonic ($28) and comb through.

    Muse recently relocated from London to Ibiza. The pandemic lockdowns left her feeling fatigued and time spent staying on a farm convinced her that a different way of living might be best for her and her family. “We were in London for the second two lockdowns. It was so boring and it was so blatantly obvious that cities are meant to have people in them and meant to be thriving. You’re not meant to all be sitting at your homes all the time,” she recalls. “I wanted my kids to grow up in a place that was close to nature. Ibiza is so beautiful and we have quite a lot of friends here and that’s why we chose it.”

    arizona muse wears a shiny black trench coat

    Trench coat, Richard Quinn. Dress, Missoni, $2,260. Belt, Sonia Petroff, $995.

    Alvaro Beamud Cortés

    What Muse would truly love would be to incorporate her new home into her modeling work and to shine a spotlight onto the local fashion industry. “I really encourage everyone who wants to shoot with me to come to Ibiza because it’s really beautiful. Even more than that, I encourage them to use local teams here because there’s some great talent here in hair and makeup and photography. The production companies here are amazing. So that feels really great to be contributing to the growth of the local industry here.”

    arizoma muse wears a black sparkly dress with safety pins

    Dress, Versace. Vintage Dior necklace, Valois Vintage.

    Alvaro Beamud Cortés

    While Muse has been working as an activist for years, forming Dirt has given her a renewed sense of purpose. “With activism, it was difficult to measure impact. I became an educator. I absolutely love sitting on panel discussions, giving talks and making videos for my Instagram about the stuff I’m learning,” she says. “But you never know who’s impacted by it and whether they really shift in their behavior after listening. With the work I do with Dirt, the impact is so there. It’s about how much land can we be farming biodynamically. How many raw materials, food and fiber can we transition to be biodynamically grown so that the earth is not being harmed and is in fact for generating? It’s huge. I’m so happy. I love this so much.”

    Hair by Lorenzo Barcella and Makeup by Luciano Chiarello, both at Julian Watson Agency; Manicure by Sally Derbali; Casting by Shaun Beyen at Plus Three Two; Model: Arizona Muse at DNA; Produced by Bjorn Frederic Gerling at Production Paris.

    A version of this article appears in the March 2022 issue of ELLE.

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