They were known as the “hottest pinups in the ’90s,” broke all sorts of records as Playboy cover models, and are household names in Hollywood. But in the 21st century, Shane and Sia Barbi, known as the Barbi Twins, have become some of the most outspoken animal rights activists in the world.
On Wednesday, the identical twins, now 50, will appear on LA Talk Radio’s “Jana of the Jungle,” hosted by Rainforest Radio’s Jani Schulz and guest hosted by your humble servant.
The Barbi Twins, who now refer to themselves as the “Kitty Liberation Front” and are forming a new political party in the United States called the Green Tea Party, had so much to say during the pre-recorded interview that the broadcast will be extended into a three-part series on the weekly environmental talk show, which airs Wednesdays at 11 a.m. PST and 12 p.m. in Costa Rica. The program streams live and will be available for download at www.LATalkRadio.com, and airs locally in Costa Rica on 960 AM .
Shane and Sia Barbi seemed everywhere in the 1990s, appearing on numerous top-selling covers of Playboy, in European fashion shows for designers like Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier and on the pages of Redbook, Cosmopolitan and many others. Their names are mentioned in the same breath as people like Marilyn Monroe, Farrah Fawcett and Cindy Crawford.
Today they use that name recognition in a tireless fight to stop the mass slaughter of animals globally. They volunteer at animal shelters, fight puppy mills and lobby for major legislation to stop horse slaughters and regulate pet food safety. They helped put a notorious kitty-killer-turned-likely-serial-killer behind bars, and rescued animals from natural disasters like the devastating hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the California wildfires.
The Barbi Twins also have their eye on Costa Rica, which issued an international arrest warrant that landed their conservationist friend Paul Watson, captain and founder of Sea Shepherd, behind bars in 2012 in Germany on what the twins call “trumped-up charges.” And when they go after an issue, Sia and Shane Barbi don’t mince words.
“In every mass slaughter, whether it’s Romanian stray dogs, the U.K. badger call or the Canadian seal hunt, … people are good-hearted and they don’t want this,” Shane Barbi says, cutting her sister off in mid-sentence. “But the grubby government keeps it going because somewhere they get a profit. And anyone who opposes it, they will be instantly arrested or [portrayed as] a domestic terrorist, because it interferes with the government profiting.”
“It doesn’t matter if you know Paul Watson or not. Always get skeptical about someone they make such a big deal about, because governments unfortunately … love to profit from and exploit them. It’s very rare that they are out there protecting the real victims,” she adds.
The twins can talk for hours about the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, or the horse slaughters in the U.S. “Every mass slaughter is cloaked behind culture or tradition,” Sia says, adding that, “Dolphins are intelligent animals, probably more intelligent than my sister.”
But one of their main messages is that citizens need to force change by voting. “There is power in votes,” says Sia.
And they have a message for Costa Rican voters facing an upcoming presidential election in February 2014: “Forget petitions, start acting, not reacting and see what you can do to participate,” Shane says.
Adds Sia: “If we get some of the people in Costa Rica to open up and say, look, you have pride, and you’re embarrassed about these bogus charges, get this guy out [referring to Costa Rican Fisheries Institute President Luis Dobles] and say with your voice that I’m voting for truth, for free speech, for what is right.”
Tune in Wednesday for the first of three shows.