Vegan celebrities have their uses

December 16, 2010

OK, I get it, finally.  For years I’ve rolled my eyes when I saw animal rights ads featuring vegan celebrities (especially once they stopped being vegan) but I’m starting to see the light.  After filming yesterday’s video about vegans in business, I can finally see how vegan celebrities are useful in some contexts:

Where are you in that particular belief cycle?  Has your opinion changed (in either direction) over time?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jinkies! December 17, 2010 at 12:20 am

Vegan celebrities are awesome. If they get even a few people to switch over the light side then it’s a definite win.

I wouldn’t expect many people to switch to veganism just because their favorite celebrity is vegan. For a lot of people, though, Natalie Portman being vegan gives the concept of veganism more weight. Celebrity culture is strange that way.

Erin December 17, 2010 at 2:57 am

A friend of mine read The Kind Diet and went vegan within a month from a completely omni diet. I don’t know that it was because she likes Alicia so much, but I doubt she would have been as interested in reading the book without the famous name to go along with it.

As a vegan, I have found SO MANY great books about veganism, but most omnis just aren’t exposed to that literature, so a celebrity-penned book about veganism reaches a far larger audience.

My favorite vegan celeb? WOODY!!! Of course. I read recently that when he’s doing a movie he tries to get everyone on set to go vegan, even if its just for the duration of filming. He’s so positive and kind that it’s hard to reject his message. I saw him speak at my university when I was in school and was so moved by his awesome energy (he had been biking down the western coast of the US, so the energy was impressive).

Jason December 17, 2010 at 8:08 am

I used to think that Woody was the worst thing that ever happened to veganism, but again, over time, I got it (I haven’t seen him live, but Go Further was great.) He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever seen.

Colleen December 17, 2010 at 10:45 am

I’m not a fan of vegan celebrities and not because I worry people will stop being veg when their celeb falls off the wagon. It’s rather that because so many of them are flaky bastards it gives the vegan-haters too much easy ammunition – it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. I would like there to be nothing so easily pointed to to denigrate veganism, but there’s naught to be done about it so I just try to ignore the fish in the barrel and the guys holding the proverbial guns.

Jay December 17, 2010 at 11:46 am

It’s both good and bad in my opinion. I’m a fan of the band A.F.I., whom have two vegans within it. Sadly, the fan base call themselves vegans but are not most of the time, because they say it to gain approval from the other fans. It’s the same with many other celebrity fans. It’s good to show awareness of veganism, and so that other people have a face to go with the term and that people actually go on that diet, but there’s alot of people who will say they are just BECAUSE their idol is. Uh.. I don’t know if that makes sense but I hope it does.

Jennifer June December 17, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Celebrities use their voices for a variety of causes and lifestyle choices.
The bigger the audience the better.
I’m all for it.

Erin December 17, 2010 at 6:12 pm

@Jason, I used to think Woody was all about the weed and that was it, but he’s really dedicated to veganism in a whole-life kind of way that is so unwavering. It’s great to see him talk about it in interviews because he’s so sincere and nonjudgemental. He’s a smiling and loving face for compassion- and he might be high.

Epicurean Vegan December 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I will say, when I saw The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone, I was intrigued, so I picked it up. My decision wasn’t based on her, but more wanting to learn about a vegan diet. It really pushed me to go veg, not because of her, but the info in the book and the recipes. I think it helps having celebrities publicize their veganism–just like with products, they’re endorsing something that people will buy into because they look up to these celebs, or just think that anything they do is great. Hey, if it gets people to at least try veganism, that’s usually the biggest hurdle anyway.

Mary December 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Anything or anyone who gets people to go from animal-eating to veggie-eating is okay in my mind.

Kathryn January 8, 2011 at 1:00 am

Even though, as you said, this is a tricky one, I think that it comes down to the impact that celebrities have on society. In today’s society (and I do recognize how general I am being, I do apologize) so many people follow trends of the different celebrities. You don’t have to be a genius to notice the tabloids at the supermarkets flashing Kate Gosselin’s new diet or some superficial headline like that, however, people get sucked into this.
One celebrity campaign that stuck out for me was Kloe Kardashian’s “I’d rather be naked than wear fur” campaign for PETA. I think this was the only episode of her show I have ever seen and at the time I was bothered because here is this rich girl who owns several fur coats and is merely drawn into the PETA offices at a publicity stunt and only then is she exposed to the cruelty in the fur business. It does make me question whether celebrities are doing this for the greater good or just doing this to get the philanthropic pat on the back along with that nice pay check.
In the long run, I think that vegans and animal rights activists everywhere need to worry less about the hypocrisy associated with these campaigns and more about how these celebrities are helping the cause we have been fighting for for years

Kristian April 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I LOOOVE Morrissey who has been vegan for quite a long time. The Smiths have an album and song called “meat is murder”. I also love Woody, because hes massively talented, and very passionate about his veganism. I saw Alicia’s book at Whole Foods the other day, and flipped through it. It seemed to be very well organized and full of information. I’m thinking of buying it. I personally don’t see ANYTHING wrong with celeb vegans, it puts a face to the cause. It makes it less ridiculous i guess. We need more vegan celebs, vegan needs to become the “norm”.

Michael Cristo December 13, 2012 at 11:26 am

I totally agree, vegan celebrities do have their uses. PETA make really good use of celebs like Paul McCartney and Alicia Silverstone, it gets them in newspapers and on TV talking about the issue, raising awareness.

It’s important that animal lovers speak out, and especially famous ones, as their voices are more likely to be heard. By the way, if you want to meet other vegans that are passionate about their way of life and their choices, I really recommend

http://www.myvegetariandating.com/

It’s a great site, and there are lots of caring, passionate people on there that care about animal cruelty and the environment.

PS I LOOOVE Morrisey too, Kristian!

Herc August 29, 2016 at 3:39 am

Thank you for your great article.

I didn’t new that Woody Harrelson was vegan, until i read this article: http://animal-welfare.org/famous-vegan-celebrities-woody-harrelson/
In 2012, PETA even declared Mr. Harrelson the Sexiest Vegan.

What do you think ?

Herc September 16, 2016 at 3:44 am

“My main hope for myself is to be where I am.”
Woody Harrelson said , in an article i read here:
http://animal-welfare.org/famous-vegan-celebrities-woody-harrelson/
Celebrities can lead more people into veganism and cruelty-free lifestyle in general.
What do you think about that?

Jason September 16, 2016 at 9:03 am

These days, I figure if something helps, then it’s helpful. Still a little worried about those scenarios where a celeb reverts and pulls some people down with him/her, but Woody strikes me as a less likely candidate for that kind of thing 🙂

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