Model Zoe West has just settled her case with the city for $15,000 after she was illegally arrested following her performance in Times Square, where her body was painted by local artist Andy Golub. ANIMAL caught up with the feisty gal to talk about the experience, now that this — the public arrest, the waiting naked in the station, the legal drama — thankfully, is all behind her.

Why did this happen to me? Mainly ignorance. [The officer] didn’t know what the law was. It was a combination of not knowing the law and proceeding by his own opinion, his own judgement. I feel like this happens a lot and that it was important that I stood up against that and made it clear that I wasn’t going to get them get away with it.

Remember! Public nudity is legal in New York if it is part of “a performance, exhibition, or show.”

Zoe told us that she feels empowered and says, “Every experience can be used in a good way.” She is happy with the settlement and didn’t choose to go to trial because it is “a perfectly fair amount.” Right now, she is moving to Manhattan and focusing on her acting career. She is very glad to have worked with the Civil Rights lawyer Ron Kuby and says,

Ron is a fantastic, fantastic guy. He really made sure I understood the process. This is the first time I had to deal with anything like this. I learned stuff about the legal system I sure didn’t know about and also, that you can do something about it! All you need is a little bit of spirit!

Aw!