The label vegan unfortunately comes with certain… well, stereotypes. Nobody bats an eye, for instance, when the adorable Alicia Silverstone comes out in support of veganism. But other celebrities going vegan has no doubt raised a few eyebrows in surprise. These are 10 of them.
One of the most recent celebs to join veganism is movie director of the hit films Avatar and Titanic, James Cameron. Perhaps we can thank his pals like animal rights activist, Leonardo DiCaprio for the good influence? In actuality he cites environmental reasons as his motivation. In his words, “it’s not a requirement to eat animals, we just choose to do it, so it becomes a moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using up resources and destroying the biosphere.”
Who knew the Prince of Darkness could come so far from his bat head biting days? Yet after watching the pro-vegan documentary Forks Over Knives, the ever-unpredictable iconic rocker decided to swear off meat eating. Sources say he still binges out on dairy once in a while, but hey—better an ice cream binge than coke and heroin. Apparently men really do mellow out in their old age.
|Let's hope he didn't eat the mouse...
As if the Radiohead singer wasn’t beloved enough for his music (and okay, his proclivity for the works of Noam Chomsky), he became even more endearing by going vegan. Perhaps he shouldn’t be on the list under “surprising,” as Yorke is a rather outspoken vegan advocate. He’s appeared in several anti-fur and anti-factory farming campaigns. Thanks for not leaving us high and dry, Thom (bah dum CHI!)
Yep. The very same ear-biting, tiger-owning, tattoo-faced heavyweight eschews meat, dairy, and all things animal. Though we already thought he was a badass after seeing his hilarious performance in “The Hangover,” he becomes that much more awesome thanks to his compassionate diet. Hilariously, he viewed going vegan as a positive lifestyle change along with giving up prostitutes, drugs, alcohol and STDs. Hey, whatever works…
This hot-tempered celeb has never been one for zen-like pacifism (and his long-winded rants to his daughter won’t soon be forgotten). But, the “30 Rock “star has has taken a compassionate turn in life by adopting a plant-based diet. In fact, he met his new wife Hilaria Thomas in a swanky raw vegan eatery, Pure Food and Wine. I hope he enjoyed the legendary raw tacos there.
Two groups aren’t exactly known for veganism: machismo-laden Latinos, and cattle-rearing farmers. Yet, the iconic Hispanic farming activist, Cesar Chavez, convinced many to follow in his own footsteps of not eating meat (it’s said he was vegan on and off throughout his 25 years of vegetarianism). Those close to him say that his ethos to fight for animal rights was an extension of his compassion for human rights.
Personal trainer and “Biggest Loser” celeb, Bob Harper, is proof positive that vegans can have rippling biceps and a six pack without animal protein. According to a “Fitness Magazine” interview, Harper explains, “as a vegan and now 45 years old, I feel better, stronger and cleaner…this diet is great for me.” Keep up the good work, Bob, and try to put in a good vegan word for us to your co-star Jillian Michaels.
Oh Prince, how do I get the “love symbol” on my keyboard to be able to type your name? No matter. It’s great seeing your flamboyant fashion free of leather and your plate clear of meat. I even think the vegan community will give you some slack if your eyeliner isn’t from a PETA-certified company based on your overwhelming warmth. It appears you closed your 1999 album, “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic” with the Gandhi quote, “2 my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.”
Even BusinessWeek has taken notice of the rise of vegan business mogul celebs such as Steve Wynn and Mort Zuckerman. Recording giant and clothing founder Russell Simmons, joins this list. Simmons has been vegan since 1998, and includes yoga and Buddhism as part of his spiritual practices. In a Vegetarian Times article he cites his morning meditation as a critical part of his daily routine.
It’s impossible to dislike Ben Stiller given his performances in “There’s Something About Mary” and “Zoolander.” In an interview with Conan O’Brien, he explains how he doesn’t like to call himself vegan and—sigh—he occasionally eats fish. But alright, baby steps. And anyone who gives up ribs for kale chips is great in our book. So it’s okay, Mr. Stiller. If you come over to the vegan side, we don’t bite.
|Orange mocha frappuccino!
BONUS: 5 Honorable Mention Vegetarians
Okay, Elvis Costello made the hipster visage cool before the damn hipsters of today came along and ruined it. But it’s alright, because there’s photographic evidence of his wide-framed glasses, giant headphones and large emo camera. The fact he’s vegetarian adds to his cool image in a way that no Pabst beer can.
|He's so cool he's the only one
getting a color photo
Though it would be lovely to put him in the “vegan” category, he gave up his vegetarianism later in his life. That said, he stated his greatest days of innovation occurred during a time when he subsisted on primarily fruit. Now if only we could get all of Silicon Valley off the sugary chemical-laden Mt. Dew and onto apples instead (the fruit, that is—not the computer devices).
Apparently two things were a distraction in the man’s quest to harness the power of electricity: women, and steak. The unsung hero of renewable energy innovations once said, “…vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarian habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work to our advantage is a well-demonstrated fact. Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength.”
Nietzsche was always regarded as a bit of a radical: his vegetarian diet was no doubt a continuation of this rebellious, contentious image. In his words, “I believe that the vegetarian with his prescription to eat less and more simply, has been more beneficial than all of the moral systems combined.” Yes, it appears he thinks adopting vegetarianism is an even greater virtue than shunning religion (as his famous “God is dead” quote would infer).
The man managed to abstain from meat, alcohol, tobacco and other vices throughout Russia’s coldest winters. And vegans today complain when quinoa runs out of the bulk bins at Whole Foods. I give the famous Russian author credit: I guess he saved vodka-induced binges for his flawed literary characters.