Words
EMMA BRESCHI
Photographer
ELENA RENDINA
Stylist
GAELLE BON
Set & Costume Design
ELENA RENDINA
Hair
SADEK L
Make Up
CAROLINE FENOUIL
Model
STELLA ROVERSI
Photographer Assistants
JASMINE DE SILVA & CHIARA VITTORINI
Stylist Assistant
ELYSE ARNOULD DEROSIER

Mask
Dress
Bra Custom
MARYLIN PERROD

        hat occurs when an international model actually looks at the world she lives in? You get someone a little bit like EMMA BRESCHI who it seems safe to say has found her perfect activist in the arms of dolphin preservationist, RIC O’BARRY.
In this momentary, but momentous, interview for The Ingénue, Ric and Emma discuss Ric’s life’s work in protecting the most valuable assets of our planet, the lives of other living creatures.

EMMA BRESCHI for THE INGENUE I grew up in Phuket, Thailand and spent my childhood living by the ocean in a marina, and every weekend I would be out swimming in open waters and connecting with ocean wildlife. I would imagine your childhood was very much the same? Being connected to nature at a young age, is this where your love and passion stems from?
RIC O’BARRY
Yes it is. I grew up on Miami Beach.
There were very few tourists coming there back then, and I would have the entire beach to myself for hours. I spent most of my childhood on the beach and in the water and from an early age felt a strong connection to the ocean and its inhabitants. It is a connection that has stayed with me forever. Not everyone has the same opportunity to connect with nature and wildlife in the way we did so I guess people justify having aquariums and Seaworlds as a space to fuel their love for animals, space for education and ‘wildlife conservation’, but this isn’t the case is it? How can we approach getting people connected to nature without keeping these amazing creatures in captivity? If you want to see wildlife, you need to visit it in nature, not capture it and drag it into our human world of entertainment and commercial exploitation. What people pay to see in dolphinariums has nothing to do with appreciating dolphins. It has all to do with exploiting them. People need to realise the difference between the two.
EB
Your journey has had you on both ends of the spectrum, having spent many years building the dolphin and whale industry from the ground up, to now dedicating the rest of your life tearing it down. Your story with the flipper dolphins (and particularly with Kathy) is a very emotional one; you loved her very much. But is it safe to say her death was the catalyst that started your fight for their freedom?
RO
Yes, definitely. It was the death of Kathy that made me fully realise how terribly wrong it is to imprison these highly intelligent and social beings for life and exploit them in shows, swim programmes, TV shows and other forms of entertainment.
EB
And because of this, do you often have difficult conversations with dolphin and whale trainers of today?
RO
Obviously these trainers are making a living doing what they do, but surely they understand like you, that this is wrong?
All trainers are not the same. They are individuals, just like you and I are individuals. I have met trainers who truly believe that it is justified to incarcerate dolphins in small  tanks and make them perform tricks for food. Somehow they succeed in convincing themselves that they are doing a good deed. I know where they are coming from: I used to be one of them. I have also met trainers who know what they are doing is wrong, but they lack the courage to leave their jobs and financial security. Some of them finally do reach a point where they can no longer be a part of the abuse, and today we are seeing more and more trainers speak out about what goes on behind the scenes.
EB
How do we get everyone to realise that the ideas of places like Seaworld are often selling only a spectacle and in some ways just fuelling people’s infatuations? It’s like loving these animals in a selfish way… which we know is wrong in hindsight?
RO
I understand what you mean.
Yes, captivity of dolphins is selfish.
We have absolutely no right to destroy the quality of a dolphin’s life in order to enhance our own. The solution is education. If people knew the truth about the plight of captive dolphins, they would not buy a ticket. People who visit dolphinariums are not cruel people. They are ignorant and therefore buy into all the lies that dolphinariums tell them. Once they have the information, they usually get it.
EB
It’s been eight or so years now since the release of Academy Award-winning documentary ‘The Cove’… what progress has the dolphin project made? Are the people of Taiji, trying to make changes since ‘The Cove’?
RO
We are seeing an increasing number of Japanese citizens protesting the dolphin slaughter in Taiji. Please keep in mind that The Cove movie has never been shown in Japan. Access to information has been limited but we are now seeing a lot more momentum among Japanese activists. They are a town that literally profits from whales and dolphins. That’s where all their income is made, right? I guess some might say that the debate over Taiji is a clash of cultures – between the West and their local traditions/ ancestor worship. That being said, ‘The Cove’ proved that this tradition is now obviously dated and damaging! But from what I understand they see dolphins as resources not animals. They’re saying it’s their livelihood and ultimately, a complete different way of thinking.

The dolphin drive hunts that go on in Taiji are not traditional. They began in the late 1960s and they are fuelled by the dolphinarium industry that pays large sums of money for the best-looking dolphins. The hunt has nothing to do with culture. It has all to do with greed and wanting to make a profit. It is very important that we do not label the dolphin hunt as traditions, because it is simply not true. The hunters and their government use that word because it provides a great excuse for the continued cruelty to dolphins. If it really were their culture and something they are proud of, why won’t they let the Japanese people see what’s going on in The Cove?
Why do they spend so much time and effort hiding what they do? The answer is simple: it is about money and the cruelty that goes on in The Cove cannot stand the light of day.
EB
So how do we try to change or positively influence Taiji to put an end to the mass killing?
RO
By keep doing what we do; live-streaming from the cove. Exposing and documenting the hunts.
Awareness is still a huge factor, so we have to keep telling the world that this is happening.

Jacket
Top
Gloves
DRIES VAN NOTEN
Earrings
HELENA THULIN

Jacket
Top
Gloves
DRIES VAN NOTEN
Earrings
HELENA THULIN

Jacket
Top
Gloves
DRIES VAN NOTEN
Earrings
HELENA THULIN

Dress
VIVETTA
Shoes
ROGER VIVIER

Mask
Dress
Bra Custom
MARYLIN PERROD

Dress
Sretsis
Shoes
MIU MIU

Dress
ROCHAS