Marisa Miller: Why I’m Posing Nude (While Pregnant!) for PETA

05/05/2015 at 01:30 PM ET

Marisa Miller is baring it all for a cause close to her heart.

The mom-to-be — who previously posed nude while pregnant with son Gavin Lee, now 2  — is stripping down to show her support for animals in captivity as part of PETA‘s new campaign, SeaWorldofHurt.

“I’ve always been an animal lover and I do a lot with ocean conservation,” the model, 36, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“I always see dolphins when I surf, but I didn’t have the knowledge about how they are acquired. When Blackfish came out, I saw it and I was so upset.”

For the ad, Miller shows off her baby belly while lying naked in a bathtub, mimicking the world of captured killer whales, who are confined to living in small enclosures.

“Even the tanks they do their ridiculous tricks in are way bigger than where they actually sleep,” she explains. “They’re completely confined. That’s why they have all these dental problems, because they are chewing on metal and concrete — they can’t even move.”

Marisa Miller pregnant nude PETA ad
Courtesy PETA

Although Miller understands the fascination with wildlife, she’s hoping the photo will make people think twice about supporting the parks, which, she says, keep animals in chemically treated waters.

“[The animals] are ripped apart from their family, they have to be drugged to handle the environment they’re in,” she says. “There are other ways to experience them. There is a way that you can rehabilitate the animals in an environment that they can swim and you can go check them out.”

She adds, “It’s about awareness. Once the public knows, then they can make their own choices.”

And for Miller, her choice was an obvious one: The soon-to-be mom of two admits she couldn’t turn away from the facts.

“I was so unaware of the realities about how the whales are captured, how they are separated, and their emotional capacity. This is an animal whose babies never leave their mother’s side their whole life,” she says. “So as a mother, I have a totally different perspective on relating to that.”

Despite the ad being shot during her second trimester, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect as Miller is all about embracing her baby bump. As for the nudity, she says the confidence comes with time.

“People are harsh. I think I have a little bit of a thick skin from having the career I did,” she explains.

“My mind-set has always been that it’s about being healthy [during pregnancy]. If you are being healthy and you put on 40 lbs., you put on 40 lbs.”

Having a strong support system — for Miller it’s husband Griffin Guess — helps, too. “I have a husband that is so wonderful and accepting [about] the things that aren’t so pretty that happen when you’re pregnant. It’s so not a big deal to him,” she says.

“Your body is like, ‘I know what to do!’ But I have had so much throbbing pressure, so I feel like I’m swollen, and he’s like, ‘Sweetie, you’re pregnant. It’s fine and things will go back to normal.’ It just really helps when your husband is so cool about it.”

The couple will welcome their second child later this month, and Miller — who grew up with sisters — couldn’t be more excited after revealing in January that she is expecting another baby boy.

“They are so attached to their moms I can’t even tell you. Gavin will sit on me and cuddle with me — he’s so sensitive,” she shares. “I didn’t have any brothers, so the energy is so different and he’s just so funny.”

She continues, “Some of my friends who have girls, they say a girl can sit there and color for 45 minutes, but with boys, you put on your tennis shoes and you go. The bond between mother and son is awesome. It’s the sweetest thing.”

The mom-to-be is spending her final few weeks preparing Gavin for his new role as big brother. According to the proud mama, after a period of regression — “He wanted to start nursing again,” she recalls — her firstborn “totally gets what’s going on” and is already showing off some serious skills.

“I got him a baby doll, so he gives the baby a bottle and he’ll talk to him and tell me, ‘I want to give him the toy, I want to chase him.’ He does not stop talking,” Miller says. “For a while, the baby was in his tummy, then after he got older and he really started to see my belly, then he started to understand what I was saying.”

— Anya Leon with reporting by Raha Lewis

In a statement to PEOPLE, SeaWorld responds:

As a mother who has raised two children and someone who has dedicated my life to caring for SeaWorld’s killer whales, I can tell you that there’s nothing more powerful than the connection between a mother and her calves. SeaWorld understands the importance of keeping mothers and their dependent calves together. Mothers provide support and nutrition, and we do not and would not interfere with that unless the mother or calf’s life was in danger.

Research being conducted today on our killer whales’ milk composition will help scientists understand the nutritional requirements for mothers and calves. Research into pregnancy and lactation will help scientists understand how killer whales metabolize toxins. Considering the human impact on our oceans, this research is critical for all killer whales, especially the endangered southern residents in the Pacific Northwest.

We apply these and other lessons every day. And we will keep working to do more, for killer whale moms at SeaWorld and for killer whale moms everywhere.

Kristi Burtis, Supervisor of Animal Training, SeaWorld San Diego

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Showing 21 comments

Susan on

I heard about some stuff that PETA supposedly does to cats and dogs in their care. If it is true, they should be exposed. Don’t know if it is true though.

GISELLA on

@ SUSAN.
WHY WOULD PETA HURT ANIMALS??
PLEASE PROVIDE WHERE THIS INFO CAME FROM?
THANKS OR DON’T SPREAD LIES.

elizabeth on

petakillsanimals.com is all the information you need. She should have researched PETA before supporting them. PETA kills animals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

elizabeth on

@ Gisella here is the link for the information Susan is talking about. https://www.petakillsanimals.com/proof-peta-kills/#petakills

Emery on

We know why you did it….ATTENTION and MONEY. That’s why any of these of idiots do anything ignorant in Hollywood.

L on

Meh. My daughter is always on the go & she’s more attached to me than her dad & is a mommy’s girl so I don’t get the comparison she makes between sons and daughters…every child is different. Anyway wishing her a healthy happy baby.

Sara K on

I’m glad she’s doing this. It’s such an important issue and the more exposure, the better (no pun intended). She looks beautiful, and is sending a powerful message.

Sara K on

Even if PETA isn’t great, people, that doesn’t change the fact that Marisa is getting an important issue out there. Don’t lose sight of the MESSAGE.

Anonymous on

Yeah she is doing for PETA, got the message.

Marky on

The message I got was that she has not bothered to find out who she’s in bed with, so I don’t care what her message is supposed to be. Even my children know people often judge you by who you hang out with. You need to understand how much of their info is balderdash. I have more respect for several other resources regarding treatment of animals at various parks. Not every captive situation is terrible, and not every free situation is good. And frankly, I’m getting tired of people thinking the way to get our attention is to take their clothes off, then spew whatever self-righteous lecture they believe demonstrates how much smarter and world-wise they are than the lowly reader.

Anonymous on

Emery and try again- Why shouldn’t celebrities be allowed to champion causes like the rest of us?! Anyway, she looks great! What I don’t get about this article is her son’s regression. Why would he regress BEFORE the baby is born?

Gus on

Glad she is not afraid and show what she stands for!

J.smith on

Why do celebs fall for this blackfish crap! Why don’t you look at the animal terrorist group PETA first! Why don’t these mindless drones go to seaworld and see for themselves, do you know how many animals seaworld has saved? Do you know how many animals PETA has killed? If you saw blackfish and based your opinion of seaworld on that, you are a kool aid drinking moron!

sally on

What does a naked pregnant lady in a bathtub have to do with SeaWorld??? Absolutely the most stupid ad campaign ever!

PETA is far from perfect in their support of animals- and so are these so called “famous” supporters. Go thru their homes and I guarantee they are either eating or wearing something that comes from the animals they care so much about!

Sara K on

“Not every captive situation is terrible”? Really? How’d you like to be a multi-ton marine mammal who is biologically wired to free range hundreds of miles per day in the ocean, be taken from your pod (whom these mammals spend their entire lives with), and spend the rest of your natural life doing tricks in an aquarium, only to die a minimum of a decade before your natural life cycle ends?
Do your search, dear. Captivity is like a hostage situation. Would you sell your children into slavery? I wouldn’t. Supporting SeaWorld is supporting animal slavery. So forget about Marisa Miller in a bathtub and think of the bigger picture.

lgu on

Too bad she isn’t speaking up about the 61 endangered killer whales that have died since 1991 in Washington waters. They numbered up to 98 in the 1990s and since then have lost 20% of their population that now numbers only 81, which is in danger of extinction. Their three threats they have are . 1 Vessels (scientifically vessels disturb their foraging calorically at only 400 meters –imagine not letting pregnant animals eat.) 2. Toxins(They are scientifically the most toxic animal on the planet -these toxins kill them and kill their babies with toxic milk) . Lack of Prey-Chinook Salmon (They have been changing their migration pattern in recent years either to find more food or because they are being disturbed – that is why it is so devastating when their few meals are disrupted). This year the distance of vessel proximity was increased from 100 yards to 200 yards and yay there are babies (not the record of 8 in one year back in 1978 but yayy) now how about increasing the distance to the full 400 meters? PS What about Maya the dog PETA??

lgu on

Too bad she isn’t speaking up about the 61 endangered killer whales that have died since 1991 in Washington waters. They numbered up to 98 in the 1990s and since then have lost 20% of their population that now numbers only 81, which is in danger of extinction. Their three threats they have are . 1 Vessels (scientifically vessels disturb their foraging calorically at only 400 meters –imagine not letting pregnant animals eat.) 2. Toxins(They are scientifically the most toxic animal on the planet -these toxins kill them and kill their babies with toxic milk) . Lack of Prey-Chinook Salmon (They have been changing their migration pattern in recent years either to find more food or because they are being disturbed – that is why it is so devastating when their few meals are disrupted). This year the distance of vessel proximity was increased from 100 yards to 200 yards and yay there are babies (not the record of 8 in one year back in 1978 but yayy) now how about increasing the distance to the full 400 meters? PS What about Maya the dog PETA?? Also what Keiko Free Willey – Was anyone held accountable for the ProDeath Release at all costs including his life activity???

lgu on

Was anyone ever held accountable for Keiko Free Willey and the ProDeath Release at all costs including his life activity???

Anonymous on

sally- It’s explained right in the article- It’s meant to symbolize the limited space that captive whales and dolphins are confined in.

SFK- I understand what Marky is saying. Not all zoos, marine parks, etc., treat their animals in the way you describe. Many actually care about their furry (and feathered and scaly and….) residents and do everything they can to recreate their natural environments as closely as possible (with a few even going so far as to put the PEOPLE into caged safari vehicles rather than confine the animals!).

On the flip-side, things like pollution, oil spills and a reduced amount of food (in the form of overfishing) make for a less-than-desirable life for many free marine animals.

Also, some animals would be extinct (and some already are in the wild!) were it not for captive breeding programs. Finally, if SeaWorld, for example, were to release all of their animals into the wild tomorrow, many of those animals would not survive. Why? Because most of them were born in captivity and therefore don’t have the skills needed to live in the wild.

Bottomline: There are pros and cons to BOTH situations!

Chuck on

PETA has never cared about the animals and their plight. They use celeribities to gain media attention like the stunt with Miller and then seek donations. Less than 5% of donations go to the real issue of helping the animals, rest goes to paying salaries and expenses which is a terrible return rate on donations.
There is a report that showed from 1995-2005 PETA ran an animal shelter in Virgina Beach, Virgina and over 92% of dogs and cats were euthanized by the shelter due to the cost of running the facility. PETA made no attempt to find homes or other organizations to take these animals once they realized how costly it was. The State of Virgina had the report and there are other findings out there about PETA that get over looked but are important to show that PETA is no better than the one’s that PETA goes after.

Paul on

PETA is a no-profit organization that relies people’s donations to survive. Yes they have to pay their staff’s salaries, it’s just like any other non-profit originations.