Emma Hakansson: Model, Activist, and Artist

A powerful way to give is to give something up.


Okay, I have to say from the start that Emma is my daughter. Emma was the inspiration for Emma Jacks in the EJ Girl Hero series but at the moment she is just my inspiration. Let me explain.

Emma loves animals but she doesn’t just talk about loving them, she shows it in her actions. Emma is a vegan which means she doesn’t eat or wear any animal products and she is a Youth Leader for Animal Liberation Victoria.

Listen to what Emma says about being a vegan

 ‘All animals can show love, and feel pain, so all animals deserve to be loved the way we love our pets’


Emma is a good example of how if you believe in something you should do something. Share your beliefs and perhaps join a group that helps spread the message


BUT that’s not why she’s my current girl hero.

It’s because of this story.

In January this year Emma saw two cows in a paddock near our holiday house outside Castlemaine in Victoria. She began to visit them and bring them apples and Weetbix to eat. Over time the cows came to trust her and would run to her when she came. Emma came to love the cows and she couldn’t bear the idea of the cows being killed for meat. So Emma decided to take action.

Emma is turning 18 this year and we had offered her a birthday party to celebrate. Emma was really excited about having a big dance party with all friends and had been planning it for months. But now she asked us if instead of a party we would buy the cows for her. We said yes but she would have to ask the farmer if he would sell them. Emma wrote the farmer a letter and, three weeks later, the two cows, now named Elira (meaning freedom) and Malayla (meaning lover of freedom and compassion) were moved to an animal sanctuary. They will never be killed for meat.


I really admire Emma for giving up her party so the cows could be saved, particularly as she will hardly ever see them (the sanctuary is a long way from our house). She gave up something so they could have something, not her.

So yes, she’s my daughter but she’s also my girl hero.

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