A Revealing Talk With The Author, Animal Activist & Actress

By AP Connolly | Photography by Neil J. Tandy
Photographed on Location at the Southampton Inn, Southampton, NY Hair & Makeup by John Edington for Angelo David Salon | Fashion by Marc Bouwer

Few women are as unique as actress, animal advocate, and author Leesa Rowland. Her world also includes philanthropy, and she has been honored by many foundations supporting her activism efforts for children and animal shelters.

New York Lifestyles sat down with this talented and creative woman and shed light on her fascinating life.

Leesa, author of the best-selling self-help/motivational book Discovering the It Factor within You: Developing Your Charismatic Personality, has just released the sequel. The Charisma Factor: Unlock the Secrets of Magnetic Charm and Personal Influence in Your Life (Hatherleigh Press) and it is now available nationwide and electronically.

In Charisma Factor, Rowland reveals the unseen but powerful force that has many different facets. Charisma is a remarkable and compelling spark that makes you unique and sets you apart from the rest of the crowd, and it is something all people possess—whether they are aware of it or not. Devoting a little time to connecting with our inner selves, learning what makes us truly special, and incorporating this magnetic quality into our personality can have untold benefits on our lives. The Charisma Factor is the ultimate handbook that unlocks the mysterious formula for charm and influence.

“I have had so many more experiences since writing my last book and have so much more knowledge to share that I felt obligated to write this book. I have always thought of charisma as a much-underrated quality,” Leesa told us. “Sadly, we are not taught how to develop charisma in ourselves and the importance of it. I want to help others to be the best they can be, communicate, and become more charismatic and inspired as they journey through life.”

Charisma Factor is for everyone and packed with valuable lessons and Leesa’s tips to embrace your individuality, discover your authenticity, and empower yourself.

Beyond her creative credits as an author, Leesa is also well-known for her work as a philanthropist and animal rights activist. A vegan who is dedicated to healthy eating, she has been active with the national non-profit organization Last Chance for Animals since 1989.

In 2013, Leesa founded the non-profit group Animal Ashram. She loves uniting animals with people and raising awareness of the cruelty animals endure.

Leesa explained to us that The New York City Animal Care and Control take over 30,000 animals across all five boroughs annually. “The ACC is a kill shelter and euthanizes on average 20 percent of animals per year. It breaks my heart. So, because of this, I launched Animal Ashram to help rescue the dogs and cats off the kill list,” she said. “We work through the night trying to network and rescue as many as we can.

“We are also anti-vivisection and advocate against the cruelty of factory farms, the horrors of the fur industry, and promote veganism.” Leesa’s love for animals doesn’t stop there. Her animal advocacy is also seen in the much-needed funding to help with veterinarian care and placement. As she says, “It’s very rewarding!”


Tell us something people do not know about you.
I experienced the most magnificent full-blown Kundalini awakening just about a year ago, and I have not been the same since. I’m still learning how to work with all the changes, powerful energy, and new awareness that it has brought. I see lights and energies that were never noticeable to me before and have had many clairvoyant experiences. I have practiced yoga for many years, and hands down, this was the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me! I had no idea our bodies were capable of all that. I have never felt closer to God.

What is the best international dining experience you have had?
While visiting Italy’s Amalfi Coast, my partner and I stayed at the lovely luxury resort Monastero Santa Rosa which was once a renovated 17th-century monastery. Every evening when we dined in their Ristorante Il Refettorio, the Michelin starred chef would come to our table to discuss our dietary needs and culinary expectations. I’m vegan, and my partner is a pescatarian. We were continually amazed at the incomparable creativity and rich, authentic flavors that made for a unique and memorable culinary experience.

Your favorite vacation spot and hotel?My favorite go-to vacation spot, without a doubt, is Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos in Mexico. The Rosewood resort is nestled on the Sea of Cortez. It has a mesmerizing beach, exclusive activities and celebrations, infinity pools, personal butlers, fabulous spa, gym, speakeasy, and several restaurants on-site that cater to your every whim and taste. They are even pet-friendly!

Lastly, where will we find Leesa Rowland in five years?You will always find me speaking up for and helping animals and children in need. I am in the process of restructuring my non-profit to include programs for children as well. In 5 years, I hope to have a beautiful permanent facility.

The daughter of an artist and college professor, Leesa grew up in Austin, Texas, where she studied broadcast journalism and later became a classically trained actress at the world-renowned Stella Adler Studio in Los Angeles.

Shortly after graduation, she quickly gained a following, being cast as Victoria in Troma Entertainment’s cult film classic Class of Nuke’ Em High Parts 2 and 3 and appearing in the sequel Return To Nuke’ Em High, which aired on the Starz network. She enjoyed playing this role of Victoria and considered this her most memorable. “Because it has had so many sequels, I have made appearances as the same character over the years.”

In 1994, she acted in USA Network’s series Troma’s Edge with Lloyd Kaufman and Debbie Rochon. In 2012, she co-starred in Travis Campbell’s Slaughter Daughter as Phyllis Adjani, an eccentric mother who drives her daughter to insanity. The film won Best Feature at Orlando’s 7th Annual Freak Show Film Festival that same year. It also led to a co-starring role in the critically acclaimed web series Two City Girls and appearances on the Oxygen reality series Jersey Couture in 2012.

For more information on Leesa Rowland, visit her at www.leesarowland.net