"It is very powerful to understand maybe you are not that person that’s going to send a message. Maybe there's someone better, maybe not even from the human species.”
38; vegan 3 years; hometown Omaha, NE
“I was raised in a very religious, very Catholic family. Growing up, anything I did that wasn’t considered traditionally masculine, and the fact that I didn’t do a lot of things that were, was very much a hot issue."
35; vegan 8 years; hometown Portland, OR
"It’s not the typical conversion therapy experience. With most people it’s religious and if you’re a minor, it’s probably because your parents or your guardian sent you. This was not the case with me."
26; vegan 4 years; hometown Petaluma, CA
"Being queer is what has always made me different. Sometimes only I could detect the difference, sometimes others made the differences clear. As my worldview grew, so did the examples I had seen of what “queer” could look like. I never related to the image of “woman” or the image of 'queer' that was presented to me as a child and throughout adolescence. If I’m not this, and I’m not that, what am I?"
Noah Paul Geist
22; vegan 1 year; hometown Spokane, WA
"When I was 14 or 15, my parents sent me to a composer camp where you learn about how you submit a composition. There was a quartet with a violinist and a clarinetist and a pianist and a cellist, and they all played the piece that I wrote."
Photo By Margaret Albaugh
56; vegan 8 years; hometown Plymouth, UK
"I realized that we suffer from something much bigger, which I’ve named Vystopia – a vegan dystopia."
Photo by Brendan Norris
Summer B. Geist
24; vegan 1 year; Spokane, WA
"I spent about three months overseas in Tokyo, just kind of living my dream over there, and when I came back to America, suddenly I felt a little bit claustrophobic thinking about being home and not being able to travel."
Photo by Margaret Albaugh
11; vegan 5 years; hometown Long Beach, CA
"I'm getting ready for school. We're going to be making signs for a student walkout. A lot of schools are going to walk out. It's from the shooting that happened recently. We're going to walk out to show that students really do care about things like this.
The sign I'm going to make, I'm thinking, 'Students for a Safer World' or 'Students for a Peaceful World.'"
Photo By: Beth Lily Redwood at Wildwood Farm Sanctuary
59; vegan 5 years; hometown Silt, CO
"I think the kids and the whole world need to eat healthier. I get frustrated with the price of organics and why every person on the planet is not eating organic food. I'm always thinking on how to make it better, but I get discouraged fighting the system."
Photo by Margaret Albaugh
34; vegan 6 years; hometown Spokane, WA
"In 2009, I went through training to become what they call a volunteer victim advocate.
I grew up in a very stable home. I love my parents to death, but it was rural. We didn't have that much diversity there. Each of these life experiences kind of pulls curtain back and exposes more and more pieces of humanity or social interaction or different cultures."
Photo by Margaret Albaugh
56; vegan 3 years; hometown Spokane, WA
"...I decided to change the story, the history, and adopted a vegan diet with the support of my sister. Vegan sisters! Going vegan was a health decision, but quickly became a compassion reason! I will never go back."
Photo by Margaret Albaugh
34; vegan 5 years; Spokane, WA
"I'm the youngest of three (or five depending how you look at it). My dad sucked at being a dad. My mom had to do it all. She was and is amazing, but her story is far more fascinating than mine will ever be. In good Asian fashion it is also full of sadness and humility. We spent lots of late nights listening to some of her most heart-wrenching stories. We were her children but also her therapists."
Photo by Margaret Albaugh
29; vegan 10 years; hometown Philadelphia, PA
"I'm ex-anorexic and ex-orthorexic. I think when you eat clean, you become sensitive to your body, it's a gateway to more sensitivity. What happened was I got sick through obsessive healthy eating. I wasn't balanced and I still wasn't happy with my body. I was 98 pounds and I'm 5 foot nine and I still wasn't feeling like I loved myself."
Photo by Paul Chang
48; vegan 6 years; hometown Brooklyn, NY
"I took care of my mom during her last month when she was dying of lung cancer. So I wrote a piece called 'Five Tasks of Grief' that sort of inspired me to start performing."
37; vegan 14 years; hometown New York, NY
"I don't think that our movement focuses enough on the power and possibility of theater and the arts to create change. So it's something that I am extremely passionate about and it's what my background is in. Any opportunity I have to use either creative outlets or creative nonfiction as a way to open up new eyes, I think, is of paramount importance."
28; vegan 3 years; hometown Turku, Finland
"It might be [beneficial] that people are turning to veganism at any reason, but I’m worried about its direction and its stability. Healthy trends change, but moral questions stay relevant through ages."
37; vegan 15 years; hometown Bogotá, Colombia
When I was maybe 18, I started going to hardcore shows in my city. There I met a lot of people that I’m still friends with and a lot of people talked about the anti-bullfighting activism."
Dakota and Chelsea Gale
34; vegan 4 years
37; vegan 4 years
Hometown Portland, OR
C: We met each other traveling, in Prague. So it’s kind of woven into the fabric of our relationship, this need to travel.
Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment
45; vegan 6 years; hometown Brooklyn, NY
44; vegan 7 years; hometown Brooklyn, NY
E: " The more I would push him, the more he would go away and I was getting really frustrated. I knew that this all aligned with the way he thought about the world and the way he thought about animals."
lauren Ornelas and Mark Hawthorne
46, vegan 28 years, hometown San Antonio, TX
54, vegan 15 years; hometown Rohnert Park, CA
L: " I find people in this movement to be very competitive with one another, and it’s so fun and exciting to want to promote somebody else who I respect and obviously love."
34; vegan 10 years; hometown Baton Rouge, LA
"In a country like America, it’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that 20 minutes from you there are people who don’t have food or toothpaste."
40; vegan 15 years; hometown Tonganoxie, KS
"When I was a kid, like 10 years old, I was trying to make scale maps of my hometown just to jog my memory. I liked exploring it and understanding those things. I would get very caught up. If an intersection didn’t meet up perfectly and you had to jog through one side, I was always very precise with not making it look like a perfect intersection and getting those things accurate."
29; vegan 9 years; hometown Seattle, WA
“It’s been crazy, especially since I got back from ARC [Animal Rights Conference]. I’ve been overthinking everything and what I can affect. I want to affect everything and change the world, but it’s kind of impossible."
Melissa Bastian Breedlove
38; vegan 10 years; hometown New Orleans, LA
"By the time I was 21, they wanted me on 9 different prescriptions and none of them helped, they just all hugged other problems that they wanted to give me prescriptions for. It seemed, even as a very young person, it seemed crazy."
37; vegan 20 years; hometown Los Angeles, CA
“I started riding BMX bikes when I was 3 years old (two concussions by 6!). BMX and punk taught me that there are always other ways to do things, danger is underrated, and community is everything.”
25; vegan 8 years; hometown New Orleans, LA
"The play I wrote this past fall was a comedy called ‘Be in Touch.’ It was about a girl that had moved back to the planet of New Orleans after college. It’s a heavy-handed satire on gentrification."
Qualyn, Sunshine, Chris, and Rain
24; vegan 5 years
3; vegan 3 years
31; vegan 5 years
8 months; vegan 8 months
Hometown Seattle, WA
Chris: "You have to be realistic. What are the alternatives? You could die, the baby could die, or the baby could live. Can you do this? Yes. Do we want to do this? Yes. Let’s equip ourselves to have the best chance of a positive outcome."
22; vegan 3 years; hometown Aliso Viejo, CA
"Growing up I really liked science, and design was a way that I could combine my love for science with my love for art."
32; vegan 11 years; hometown Vancouver, B.C.
"My brother and I used to play this game with the neighbors, where two of us were criminals and two of us were detectives. My job was to write the character profiles."
Brian, Cori and Maizi
Brian Webster, Cori Cox and Maizi Webster
B: 24; vegan 3 years, C: 25; vegan 2.5 years, M: 6 mos.
Hometown Vancouver, WA
C: I was in labor 23 hours.
B: She was crooked. Her head came out misshapen ’cause she was crooked, so it took the labor a couple extra hours.
26; vegan 4 years; hometown Ventura County, CA
"I feel very connected to everything whereas I used to feel so disconnected.”
39; vegan 2 years; hometown Vancouver, B.C., Canada
What brought you to Canada from Venezuela?
"The political situation down there was pretty messy at the time but not as bad as it is now, so...perfect timing! I just wanted to be able to live in peace in a safe place and be able to give that to my children."
61; vegan 13 years; hometown Boston, MA
“I think I did the right thing. And we ended up, in the summer of 1997, after a couple of years of prep, we pretty much stole 109 chimps from the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates and placed them in sanctuaries, and 65 or so monkeys as well.”
Elizabeth Roach & Kathy Lewis
E: 29; vegan 1 year; hometown Georgetown, KY
K: 45; vegan 2 years; hometown Nashville, TN
K: “We were next door neighbors, that’s how we met. Then she came to work for me and that’s how we became good friends. That’s when she started asking me about veganism.”
E: “Whenever she wants to, we have porch meetings. We meet up on her porch to chat and catch up.”
28; vegan 3 years; hometown Lynchburg, VA
“In recent history, we were the first stand-alone juice bar in East Nashville. Lynne is my mom’s middle name and Lorraine is my grandmother’s middle name. I wanted to create a brand as opposed to ‘Chad’s Juice Bar on Fatherland St.’ I’ve been a musician, went to Belmont for music. Randomly, a friend and I were discussing what would be a fun business to start. I’d started juicing on tour and realizing the benefits of that, I slowly transitioned into it.”
Ndem Etim Nkem
32; vegan 4 years; hometown Chowchilla, CA
“My greatest fear is to not live life to the fullest. We get so caught up in things, there isn't any thought about yourself. I never want to be the person that wishes they did something. I make it happen and experience everything I can. Material things can be replaced, but memories last for a lifetime.”
31; vegan 4 years; hometown Nashville, TN
“I'm a model turned health coach. I was a model from 13 until a couple of years ago. I went through a big growing period where I desperately wanted to improve my health and the health of others. I wanted to feel something more real. I decided to study nutrition after watching some food documentaries; it sounds silly but it really lit a spark under my ass.”
29; vegan 4 years; hometown Nashville, TN
“It can be difficult to remember why I wanted to open a restaurant, especially when the stress of navigating our first year in business weighs heavily on me. However, whenever I'm stressed or times get tough, I talk to our customers; they always remind me how important it is to have healthy food available.”
30; vegan 6 years; hometown Woodstock, NY
“When I was a very young child I didn't realize that people ate animals. I was eating at a diner with my mom one day when I was about six years old and was having a BLT. I asked my mom where the bacon came from because I couldn't imagine that it was part of an animal. When she told me it was from a pig I became very upset and put the sandwich down. That was the last time I had bacon.”
John Douglas Gurnick
53; vegan 1 year; hometown Portland, OR
“My Nanny and Poppy. They are my mother's parents. When I was growing up they meant a lot to me and always seemed to make me feel special, and when I was around them it seemed like magical things would happen. My Poppy saw my Nanny on an elevator, asked her to lunch, and they were married a month later and were together for over 60 years.”
Ashley Roth and Tallulah Penticoff
A: 32; vegan 14 years; hometown Portland, OR
T: 1; hometown Nashville, TN
When did you move to Nashville?
“Vanderbilt has this awesome MFA program, which is also really competitive. I was like, ‘I’ve been writing forever! I’m going to go there!’ That didn’t happen but I still moved here and found a really strong writing community here. Vanderbilt still has a lot of visiting writers that come in. This will be my fifth time applying. It’s less than 1% that get accepted, but I’m determined.”
Matt Cunningham & Ashley Bittle
41; vegan 3 years; hometown Denver, CO
40; vegan 6 years; hometown Denver, CO
M: “Although our friends wanted to hook us up for a few years, the timing was never right. Ashley was pursuing her doctoral degree in Phoenix. I was in a nomadic stage of going back forth between Phoenix and another location before a full-time job brought me back in 2007. Upon our first meeting we bonded over beers and ’80s new wave music and the rest is, as they say, history.”
photos by Sarah Cadwell
22; vegan 7 years; hometown Turku, Finland
“I wish I had always had the courage to stand up for what I believe in. Always second-guessing yourself is useless when everyone else is most likely as clueless and afraid as you are.”
photo by Jeremie Frémaux
33; vegan 2 years; hometown Stockholm, Sweden
“The 9/11 attacks had more importance to me than I realized at the time. That happening helped me to see the world for what it really is and what it is about to become.”
photo by Jeremie Frémaux
27; vegan 11 years; hometown Portland, OR
“I suffered a fall over a year ago. I was living in Portland without many friends, without anyone I could rely on, with a boyfriend who lived 3 hours away. I could barely do anything for 4 months. Rather than giving up, I recreated my life. I started going to vegan meetups, made new friends, got outdoors, and took ownership over my life again. I still struggle with many post-accident complications, but my life is filled with love and happiness.”
Ryan and Jessica Spaulding
R: 37 J: 38
vegan 2.5 years; hometown Redwood City, CA
“I proposed to my wife on our 14th wedding anniversary on top of Mt. Hood. After we’d been dating for 10 months, Jessica proposed to me. I’d always wanted to propose but could never figure out when to do it. So I planned for a year what I was going to say. I suggested we go for a hike. I hid her ring in my pocket and was super nervous but waited until we had a great view. I got down on one knee and asked. She said yes."
43; vegan 2 years; hometown Renton, WA
“I would have to say my dad. He was an incredible man and it's a shame he passed away so soon in life. He taught me so much about mechanical things as well as being very spiritual.”
“Sunny days when I was little and spending time with my dad working on trucks.”
34; vegan 7 years; hometown Santa Barbara, CA
“I'm working on a graduate degree in biology with the hopes of becoming an educator. I want to teach at the college level, and that's tricky with biology because of the live animal models and the dissections. My secret dream is to get a faculty position in a bio department, and then slowly switch the entire department over to non-animal demonstrations. There's amazing plastic replicas and computer programs already in existence.”
28; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Ft. Worth, TX
“Though I'm learning to appreciate the timing of my life, my only regret is not striking out on my own sooner. Moving across the country on a whim is one of the best decisions I've made, which opened my heart and mind to many new ideas.”
41; vegan 4 years; hometown Hamilton, ON, Canada
“I love being a yoga teacher! I love to hear students so excited that their yoga practice is making a difference in their lives. This is what makes teaching so fulfilling, seeing the positive difference it makes in people’s lives.”
photos by Jon Evans
Carlo Giardina and Carmella Lanni
Carlo: 48, Carmella: 38
vegan 6 years; hometown New York, NY
Carlo: “My parents and Carmella, my wife of 8 years, have had a major impact on my life. I love all three dearly and they give me unconditional love and support. To a lesser degree, the Ramones were an integral element of what shaped my views and outlook on life. They were the first band that made me feel being different was okay.”
56; vegan 10.5 years; hometown New York, NY
What’s your earliest memory?
Who had the biggest influence on you?
“Parents, but not for the better, for the most part.”
photo by Sarah Cadwell
Jess Van Brunt
40; vegan 3 years; hometown Brooklyn, NY
“I went through a serious depressive episode for a few months when I was around 23 and my mom helped support me and get back on my feet. She is always so positive and always gives good advice and is there to talk to about anything. I feed off of and reflect her strength and hopeful attitude. It has helped bolster me through my depression and through difficult relationship breakups as well. She always tells me I deserve the best.”
photos by Sarah Cadwell
Michael Whitley & Jennifer Ante
M: 30; vegan 1.5 years; hometown New York, NY
J:30; vegan 7 months; hometown Laguna, Philippines
M: “I grew a business in marketing but always kept one foot in the medical field as an EMT, firefighter, and soon-to-be RN. I've felt the urge to help people my entire life.”
J: “I recently graduated from law school and I'm finding it difficult to truly find my calling. Everyone asks what type of lawyer I'd like to be. I just want to make a difference.”
photo by Sarah Cadwell
Mark & Lynda Gorski
M: 56; vegan 2 years; hometown Portland, OR
L: 57; vegan 3 years; hometown Klamath Falls, OR
L: “I love my job because my job is assisting my husband in his law practice. Over the years, it has changed in scope and scale, but it has also afforded me great flexibility as well as insight into the real issues that the accused face. I am in awe of the people who fight so hard for liberty and justice on an individual, case-by-case basis.”
Dagmara Ivonne Cintron
22; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Ridgewood, Queens, NY
How do you want to be remembered?
“Magical, hysterical, unbelievable, powerful and perfectly regular all at the same time.”
photo by Sarah Cadwell
26; vegan 2 years; hometown Cape Town, South Africa
“Skateboarding made me some of my best friends, taught me life lessons, got me interested in art and punk rock, and kept me from doing a lot of stupid things other people were doing.”
photo by Brent Robert Hill
Jenelle and Dave York
J: 31; vegan 5 years; hometown Maple Valley, WA
D: 32; vegan 1 month; hometown Sherman, TX
Best part of the day?
J: “My walking commute to work. I walk 2 miles each way to work and listen to audio books. It’s relaxing, but I also feel good about getting in exercise and learning something at the same time. Unless I'm listening to trashy vampire novels, then it's just exercise.”
D: “When I wake up to my kitties in the morning, who both want me to get up and play as well as stay in bed."
22; vegan 10 months; hometown Brooklyn, NY
“As a former night owl, I can now say that my mornings are the best and most important part of my day! The way I spend my first hour determines the rest of the day and I like spending it in peace and being productive.”
photo by Sarah Cadwell
Deb Preston and Milo Zibutis
D: 29; vegan 11 years, M: 1; vegan 1 year; hometown Chicago, IL
“Right before my son goes to bed, I get to read to him. I watch his eyes grow heavy and he falls off into sleep. It’s magical... Being a mother, I never thought I had it in me, to be so loving and authentic to another human being. I've always associated humans with the cause of so much pain and suffering. But looking at my tiny little son, I know there may be some hope for humanity.”
photo by Stephanie Warga
Rosalind and Clayton McCallard
39; vegan 8 years; hometown Corvallis, OR
30; vegan 8 years; Somers, MT
R: “When we got married we smooshed our names together. I was Ballard and he was McCartney, so we became McCallard.”
31; vegan 6 years; hometown Portland, OR
“I've worked as a hospice RN for the past six years, which is something I'd been working toward since I was about 20. Working with people that are dying is such a huge teaching and practice. My work feels bittersweet. I am helping people, but the medical establishment is built on the broken backs of animals. In a way my paycheck feels like blood money. It's definitely an inner conflict for me.”
36; vegan 2 years; hometown Hollywood, FL
“The Hollywood Critical Mass ride was born from myself and two other people from the Broward cycling community. The opportunity to lead it was given to me, and it has been my baby ever since. I get such great feedback at the end of the ride, people telling me what a good time they had. It's an extremely satisfying feeling.”
photos by Stephanie Warga
25; vegan 3.5 years; hometown Jerusalem, Israel
“I was born in New Jersey, but my family moved to Israel when I was 5. I grew up in an American home in an Israeli country, so I got to develop a combination of both mentalities and I'm fluent in both English and Hebrew (and now learning Arabic). I love being part of a crazy, complicated, beautiful, and tiny country, and being part of a large community of people who care about the well-being of creatures less fortunate than us.”
Sugandh G. Agrawal
32; vegan 3 years; hometown Pune, India
Best part of your day?
“Spending time with my daughter. I cherish these moments. I've waited so long to have her and now I can't get enough of her. She's my mirror and has so much to teach me about myself and life. The simple things we tend to forget in the long run.”
photo by Sugandh G. Agrawal
Jeanette and Alex Ruiz
JR: 37; vegan 1.5 years; hometown Miami, FL
AR: 41; vegan 1.5 years; hometown Rockville, MD
JR: “I was born into a crazy, Puerto Rican family that I love dearly. My parents had me when they were teenagers so we grew up together. They've been an example of hard work, perseverance and unconditional love.”
AR: “I am a proud son of incredibly brave parents who immigrated to the United States from Cuba to secure a better life for their family and escape a hopeless future.”
photo by Stephanie Warga
34; vegan 8 years; hometown Shoal Harbour, NL
“I quit my regular job to focus on the vegan magazine I do. I jokingly say that I retired, but the truth is I probably work more now than I did when I had a boss. There are no medical benefits, and the wage is horrible, but I know I'm lucky to be able to try and make this happen, so I'm going for it. Now, I just need to convince restaurants that I'm a retiree and I deserve a discount!”
21; vegan 2 years; hometown Miami, FL
“I'm most proud of my current journey to body love and body positivity. I've always kept myself hidden in the background and only recently, I've completely let loose and learned to love myself.”
photo by Stephanie Warga
44; vegan 11 years; hometown Seoul, South Korea
"Something that makes proud every day is going to bed knowing that I am doing my best to help animals."
photo by Helen Feliciano-Bailey
44; vegan 11 years; hometown Olathe, KS
“My father loved to fish being from the Midwest and all. He caught a huge catfish and left it for hours on a trash bag in our garage. I remember pouring water on the poor fish and sitting by his side and just petting him because it was all I could do.”
44; vegan 1 year; hometown Fort Lauderdale, FL
Do you love your job?
“YES! I love everything and everyone. Love is everywhere. I love hugs and smiles and laughs.”
photo by Stephanie Warga
Enzu, Maze & Courtney
Enzu, 49, and Courtney, 35: vegan 8 years; hometown Miami, FL
Maze, 1: vegan 1 year
C: “I birthed my two babies at home, safely and peacefully, in the water. Wow, what an empowering experience. I rocked it!”
photo by Stephanie Warga
36; vegan 6 years; hometown West Palm Beach, FL
“I came to journalism through punk rock and zine culture as a teen. I loved reading interviews and learning about elements of counterculture, feminism, animal rights, politics, and other issues I knew I cared about but didn't know how to verbalize. Now I work in local TV news and am aware of the potential for flashiness at times, but I think news at its core can be powerful in helping to bolster community and amplify issues that are overlooked.”
38; vegan 18 years; hometown Newbury Park, CA
“My dream is to make a mark in this world with my photography. I struggle with my fears of rejection and I'm pretty sure that is what is holding me back.”
What are you best at?
“I'm really good at eating chocolate, but I'll go with the time I had one of my iphone images selected to be a part of the Shot on iPhone 6 campaign.”
photos by Stephanie Warga
29; vegan 3 years; hometown Los Angeles, CA
“I wouldn't change a thing in my life or in my past. For the first time, I feel like I am where I'm supposed to be and I'm grateful for that. I'm not perfect, but that just makes life more fun, I'm learning to love me more every day!”
31; vegan 6 years; hometown Canberra, Australia
“I remember having a moment a few months ago, on a Friday night at home when I was sewing, and my cat was snugged onto my leg, and I had this moment of realization of "this is masculinity to me." That my Dad (who raised me on his own) showed me that being a "man" just meant being you and doing what needed doing. That was good. I'm happy with that.”
36; vegan 8 years; hometown Hollywood, FL
“I absolutely love my job. I picked up a camera when I was 15 years old and the obsession never went away. It's blossomed into a beautiful career. Completely grateful for my gift. I would love to open a photography studio in the coming years. Coming up with the funding is holding me back, for sure. I'm too proud to ask for help. If it's meant to be it will happen. And I'll make it happen myself.”
Photo by Stephanie Warga
37; vegan 15 years; Forestville, Ca
“I'm a nanny and a yoga teacher. I work in the helping professions. I enjoy time in nature-hiking, gardening, kayaking. I also love music and dancing! Yoga and meditation keep me sane.”
What are you most proud of?
“Getting back on my feet after addiction and financial distress.”
Photo by Stephanie Warga
24; vegan 2 years; hometown Medina, OH
“As cliché as it may sound, I refuse to believe in regrets—therefore I have nothing I would change. I think that every living being on this planet has a part to play. We're essentially all a giant chess board, and the sooner you come to terms with this reality, the happier your time will be on Earth.”
photo by Michael Rivera
42; vegan 16 years; hometown Santa Cruz, CA
How do you want to be remembered?
“I actually fret about this all the time. Will I be remembered? Does it matter? What part of me wants to be remembered anyway? Probably just my ego. But, it would be nice to be useful and have a positive impact while I'm here. I worry that I'm not useful enough or doing enough or contributing enough. There's a line from a Rumi poem that I find calming: 'This is enough,' has always been true.”
Katie Medlock and Philip McCloskey
KM: 29; vegan 7 years; hometown Akron, OH
PM: 29; vegan 2 years; hometown Akron, OH
K: “Visiting my mom in the hospital after she had given birth to my little brother. I was quite upset!”
P: “I was about 2. I remember sitting on my father’s lap as he backed his Ford Pinto into the garage. I can still remember the smell of wintergreen chewing gum and a slight odor of cigarettes. My father claims he stopped smoking when I was born, but that memory of smoke is real.”
33; vegan 5.5 years; hometown Los Angeles, CA
“I'm afraid of not being connected to people and part of a community. Yet, conversely, I'm afraid of being vulnerable and connecting deeply with people. Also, I'm afraid that people will continue to only think about themselves and forget that we're all in this together.”
26; vegan 3 years; hometown Brownsville, TX
“I am proud of my background but do not let it confine me into a category. This allows me the freedom of being whatever I wish. At the end of the day, I like to sit back and reflect on my day and my life. I plot my plans for the future and allow my mind free range to bring in new ideas. I am proud of the person I am becoming. Not perfect but flawed in the most interesting way.”
49; vegan 19 years; hometown London, UK
“I love my job as a journalist and content creator. My two proudest moments were persuading mainstream media editors to run my article on speciesism and to use the gender-neutral pronouns ‘zie’ and ‘zir’ for a piece I did on sex and gender diversity. Each represented a triumph for the underdog!”
photo by Clare Mann
33; vegan 31.5 years; hometown Seattle, WA
"When my parents turned the family vegan in 1983, my vegetarian roots spanned four generations. Growing up, I'd often think about the commitment made by my ancestors to live a more compassionate life. I know it wasn't easy back then, which has helped me put my own experience into perspective. Grateful for the courage and foresight of those who have and continue to make compassionate choices easier."
photo by Samuel Anderson
24; vegan 10 years; hometown Grayslake, IL
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist, author, the president, or an ice cream truck driver. Two of those things worked out and I'm not much for politics, so I guess I better work on that vegan ice cream truck.”
25; vegan 2 years; hometown Portland, OR
“My favorite part of the day is in the morning. I love to wake up, look at the sun shining on the trees outside my bedroom window, make myself a cup of jasmine green tea, and meditate for as long as I can.”
57; vegan 30 years; hometown San Anselmo, CA
How would you like to be remembered?
“I've never thought about it. It's not about how I will be remembered, it's about what I can do to help while I'm here.”
35; vegan 2 years; hometown Rowlett, TX
“My name is Arius (Air Bear) I'm a Virgo, my rising sign is Sagitarius, my moon sign is Aries, but I'm definitely a Leo. I'm a creative being, a father, and someone who promotes wellness and kindness. I'm definitely introverted but these days my personality is brought out by serving beverages. I love surrounding myself with open-minded, positive, creative people, but I like being alone the most. I've found true happiness that way.”
Nichole Dinato and Callie Coker
N: 33; vegan 6 years; hometown San Diego, CA
C: 27; vegan 1.5 years; hometown Oceanside, CA
How did your podcast start?
N: “We recorded 5 or 6 episodes in September and then did nothing with them. Neither of us listened to the podcasts until January.”
C: “We were both nervous.”
N: “Callie listened to them first and texted me, like, ‘Oh my god, I listened to our episodes and they’re amazing!’ I finally worked up the nerve and I wound up listening to all 5 in a day. It felt really good."
Nicole Brodeur and Alex Payne
NB: 29; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Portland, OR
AP: 31; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Portland, OR
NB: “A mutual friend was like, “I have a friend coming to L.A. Can he come to Disneyland with us?” I was on the verge of saying no ‘cause I’m too much of a planner, but he was like, “Be open to the universe!” So, our first date was 14 hours at Disneyland.”
AP: “She makes me laugh all the time. I love that we can get into serious conversations but still come back to a place that’s loving.”
35; vegan 18 years; hometown Brisbane, Australia
“I'm always in the midst of at least two books and e-books, working with new clients, and am currently redesigning my training packages for corporate clients… I mostly love my job and the things I do, but my aim is to have more time away from the computer.”
photo by Leigh-Chantelle
32; vegan 8 years; hometown Hoosick Falls, NY
“My go-to mentor, confidant, and best friend is my mom. She always has the best words of support and/or suggestions to pull me through. But it's not in a way that's ‘You should do this.’ It's always more ‘Here's what I would do, but do it in a way that feels right to you.’ She's always encouraging me to listen to my intuition. I can be completely honest with my Mom. [She’s] always let me carve my own unique path in life.”
photo by Phillips Payson
Scott Bokma and Sydni Deveraux
SB: 39; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Big Timber, MT
SD: 32, vegan 2.5 years; hometown Seattle, WA
SD: “We’ve been married for four years. We’re newly transplanted to Brooklyn by way of Seattle.
We met on a couch at a party. It worked out all right.”
SB: “It was the usual, back in our party days, we went to a party and woke up next to each other on the couch with blue whale song playing over our heads.”
SD: “A forewarning to how much we care about animals.”
31; vegan 5 years; Goleta, CA
“I was raised Orthodox Christian. I didn’t buy into it a lot as a kid, but I got older and bought into it. Unfortunately.”
Lauren Temple Ruff
31; vegan 6 months; hometown Rocky Mount, VA
What are you best at?
“Teaching, especially the simplification of complex concepts into real-world examples. Whenever I see understanding light up a student's eyes, I know that I've achieved something real.”
Desmond Chan and Maeve Suar
D: 27; vegan 3 years; hometown Singapore
M: 27; vegan 5 years; hometown Singapore
D: "Maeve and I run a small grooming studio and cruelty-free pet supply store in Singapore."
M: "I am blessed to have someone like Desmond, who shares the same values as me, and hopefully we can make the world a better place for animals through what we do."
Photo by Nicholas Lee
24; vegan 9 months; hometown Austin, TX
“My greatest fear was to die unhappy. I realized I needed to do something about it, so following my passions has really made face that fear and not be put down by it anymore. I know now that whenever I die, I will die happy because I am the best person I can be and I make sure to do what I love every time I can.”
42; vegan 9 years; hometown Providence, RI
“One of the things I am most proud of is the day I said ‘I do’ to my wife in our marriage ceremony. Rhode Island was the last state in New England to pass Marriage Equality, and I feel that the day I got to stand up and legally say my wedding vows in a room full of friends and family is a memory that will stay with me forever!”
38; vegan 3.5 years; hometown Tel Aviv, Israel
“I heard a lecture and turned vegan on the spot. There’s just been a huge change in the last two or three years. There are so many great places to eat now it’s very easy; almost any café will have vegan options, especially in Tel Aviv. The customers are excellent. We get a broad range, families, all ages and they return.”
photos by Dean Shanson
24; vegan 2 years; hometown Maple Ridge, BC
What are you most proud of?
“Pickin' myself up out of the hole i had fallen into (or dug myself into, whichever it was), and stretching my limbs out, opening my heart, reachin' for the light and filling my being with love. There was a time where all this would have felt absurd to me. This would have seemed an entirely impossible world, and an entirely unreal way of being and living. And here I am.”
photos by Jeremie Fremaux
29; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Tel Aviv, Israel
“My partner had been a baker for twenty years so when we turned vegan I suggested he opened a vegan bakery. He says it’s the first time he’s found his work interesting. No one sees being vegan in Israel as strange any more.”
photo by Dean Shanson
25; vegan 3 years; hometown Chicago, IL
"I came out almost three years ago and [my mom] did not take it well. I was immediately cut off financially and publicly outed on social media by her. It made me realize that I deserve so much better than that. I haven't seen her in a year or so. People say she will come around, but I don't really care. I have turned into an amazing person and I don't think that she deserves to know me."
Daniel Staackmann and Nicole Sopko
D: 38; vegan 22 years; hometown Chicago, IL
N: 34; vegan 18 years; hometown Livonia, MI
D: "Being an only child with working class parents had the most influence on my life. I was often on my own. That pushed me to be creative and, ultimately, gave me the drive necessary to start Upton's Naturals."
N: "They say that you can’t control people’s actions, only your own reactions. So, I’d hope to be remembered as someone who made real progress on learning to keep her cool."
photo by Kelly Peloza
34; vegan 3 months; hometown San Jose, CA
"I work for CalTrans to end roadkill in California. I got tired of seeing the roadkill, so I picked up the phone and got a grant. California is antiquated. Other countries and other states plan for animals; they don’t want to intersect with animals’ migration. California is a litigative state, so it’s fighting with the lawyers."
20; vegan 7 years; hometown, Long Island City, NY
“My brother and I had this huge anthology of Dr. Seuss' short stories. My parents read it to us before bed. Sometimes, my dad would skip a page or two to get to bed earlier, but we'd always notice and make him read the full thing. I don't think if I grew up without reading and humor as strong values I would have loved school as much. I'm writing my thesis on humorous literature.”
photos by Bailey Theodo & Tessa Ayson
37; vegan 17 years; hometown Oakland, CA
“I'm a geek with a heart of gold. Thou shalt not commit adulthood. Thou shall not partake of decaf. Aging posi hardcore kid. Cartoonist, writer, illustrator, baby podcaster. Currently contributing comics to punk publications like As You Were and Razorcake, all the while chipping away at my first full-length graphic novel memoir, Full Moon.”
photo by Jeremie Frémaux
31; vegan 9 years; hometown Brighton, UK
“I'm living the dream I've been working towards for years and I still can't quite believe it! I'm traveling the world indefinitely. My plans so far this year are to spend four months in Southeast Asia, a month in Austin, Texas, and four months living in a van in Europe. Within the first weeks of my travels, I was able to realize a lifelong dream to hang out with elephants when I visited Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand.”
photo by Nick Huxster
31; vegan 15 years; hometown San Francisco, CA
“I recently helped build the first makerspace in the Philippines. It’s in Tacloban, a city that had been struck by the largest typhoon on record. We created a resource center for the residents, providing space and access to a wide variety of tools, from hammers to a 3D printer, and everything in between.”
photo by Yoko Morimoto
39; vegan 7 years; hometown Houma, LA
What influenced you the most?
“Lord Vader. Seriously, I always root for the bad guy and engulf myself in the world of evil. Not that I think evil should win, I think it has more to do with reversing the role and questioning the norm.”
photo by Stu Babin
76; vegan 42 years; hometown Hollywood, CA
“Whether I'm asked to speak at a recovery meeting or a veg/animal advocate meeting, my story is still the same. I got sober by going vegan and Macrobiotic in January of 1973. I gave up meat and dairy instantly and discovered I couldn't metabolize alcohol anymore. Stayed sober and vegan ever since.”
If you could change anything?
“I would grow some cojones and go back to age 21 with all the wisdom I have now.”
40; vegan 5 years; hometown Oakland, CA
“My dreams are to stay in the moment as much as possible. Thinking too much about what could happen in the future is a waste of my time. Being human causes us to worry about things that we have no control over. Learning how to let go of the ‘control’ we think we have over things is one of my biggest struggles.”
Holly Noll and Ed Bauer
H: 29; vegan 9 years; Santa Rosa, CA
E: 35; vegan 19 years; Albany, NY
“It was pretty obvious by the first few minutes that we were hanging out that we were taken with each other…forever. I remember thinking, and I’m one of the most jaded people ever about romance, the first time we ever kissed, I was driving away like, ‘YEAHHHH!’ Like, Rocky movie theme music was playing. And he said he did basically the same thing, so, we’re stoked.”
26; vegan 5 years; hometown Orange, CA
“I’ve been a body piercer for 7 or 8 years now. I had a bunch of tattoos and piercings. I went into a shop to find out about a counter position, because I heard that they were hiring for almost, like, a secretary. They found out that I was piercing myself at home and they were like, ‘All right, you can’t work here, but stop doing that and we’ll teach you how to do it correctly.’ So, that basically fell into my lap.”
37; vegan 5 years; Rhododendron, OR
“One of my biggest goals is to shatter vegan stereotypes. That is the biggest thing holding our movement back. By pushing the bounds of veganism into more mainstream, what I call "vegan vacant," parts of society, we can truly expand its reach. I have shared vegan meals on the Rubicon trail, found vegan muffins in Moab, and even gotten people to try vegan jerky at the shooting range.”
photo by Scott McNamara
45; vegan 4 years; hometown Vancouver, BC
“As the founder of Rocky Mountain Soap Company, I have been a long-time advocate of holistic living. Not only do I feel naturally plant empowered, but I feel lighter without contributing to suffering both of animals and the planet. As a nutritionist I now have the blessing to focus on empowering others to create vibrant health from the inside out, fulfilling my belief that taste buds are the perfect vehicle for change!”
photo by Alexa Roggeveen
42; vegan 15 years; hometown Vancouver, BC
“Lately, the best part of my day is my walk to work. My pace is quick and I listen to The Current on CBC Radio One on my iPhone, which helps exercise my brain. My walk grounds me, as I travel the hilly streets of East Vancouver, stopping to pet neighbourhood cats and checking out any of the four community library boxes along the way. I enjoy the ritual of self-propelling and getting lost in my thoughts.”
photos by Michelle Lee and Jill Yeomans
53; vegan 3.5 years; hometown Brisbane, CA
“I work in communications for a biopharmaceutical company that makes important medicines for very sick people. It is a highly ethical company that truly focuses on doing what is best for patients and applying excellent science and innovation to improve and extend life. That said, I wish people would change their diets to plant-based so fewer people would need our medicines.”
photo by Lise Dumont
34; vegan 10 years; hometown Memphis, TN
“By day, I'm an editor and reporter for the Memphis Flyer, an alt-newsweekly in Memphis, Tennessee. By night, I'm a home cook and blogger/cookbook author. In 2012, I published Cookin' Crunk: Eatin' Vegan in the Dirty South, a collection of veganized soul food recipes. I'm the mother of six cats, two dogs, and an inside-outside squirrel named Herman. I'm an avid runner. I've run a couple of half-marathons, but I'm aiming for my first 26.2 this winter."
44; vegan 20 years; hometown Corvallis, OR
“When I moved out west to Oregon, my cat of 18 years traveled with me. She died of cancer shortly thereafter. I had her cremated and sprinkled her ashes on a specific tree that had attracted me in a forest nearby. I drew the tree and had the image tattooed on my back. I will carry her until it is my time to go. Then, I hope to be added to the tree as well.”
photo by Leslie McDonald
40; vegan 16 years; hometown Los Angeles, CA
“Me and my siblings were raised in New York by my dad, who was a triathlete and ex-marine. He brought us up as vegetarians. I feel he was wise beyond his time. Although as kids we didn't always like it. I was never embarrassed that we were vegetarian, just some of the other things such as our lifestyle in general and having no TV. He was a great influence on our lives.”
photo by Melissa Swan
44; vegan 44 years; Niagara Falls, Ontario
“It seems to me that free will is an illusion and that I'm simply a product of my genetics and life experiences. I would like to be remembered simply as someone who got lucky in life. However, I don't count on being remembered at all. I can never know for sure if anything exists outside of my brain. For all I know, I could be inside a computer generated simulation.”
Photo by Yoko Morimoto
Beth and Daniel Redwood
B: 64 D: 66
Both vegan 10 years; hometown Portland, OR
D: “I was in college in Buffalo. I left there to move out west and sang for the peace movement and the farmworkers movement. And then, we got very upset about the war in 2003 and got involved in the presidential campaign because we wanted to stop the war... Beth had been encouraging me after we became vegan, ‘Why don’t you write songs about this?’ The first song for the animals that I wrote is called ‘Sanctuary Song.’
37; vegan 6 years; hometown Huntington Beach, CA
"I played with Barbie as a kid and that totally formed who I am. My friends will say, 'Did you know that your lipstick and your outfit totally match?' Yeah, that's not an accident."
63; vegan 3.5 years; hometown Hood River, OR
“I started the Tofurky Company in 1980 at a small co-op cafe in Forest Grove, Oregon, on an investment of $2,500. For 15 years, I made tempeh products here and in an old elementary school. I was living on $300 a month. I built a 11x16 treehouse, where I lived for 8 years. In 1995, we sold the first 500 Tofurky Roasts. It became the magic product that brought us to national and international distribution.”
photo by Yoko Morimoto
27; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Memphis, TN
“I am working toward figuring out what exactly my dreams are. I am learning that it is a patient process and that I may be ready to be where I want to be right now, but it takes time. It's a process. I need to take it moment by moment. I seek simple happiness on a daily basis.”
57; vegan 6 years; hometown Portland, OR
Why did you start your own business?
“I needed a job. No one wants to hire older people. Ageism is real. They want young people for the grab jobs and experienced people for the good jobs.”
33; vegan 6 years; hometown Corvallis, OR
"I have always cooked, for my whole adult life. I went vegetarian when I was 14. My mom was like, ‘You can do what you want but you gotta cook for yourself.’ So that pushed me into learning how to cook. I play music outside of work. I’m a couple different bands. I take pride in my cooking but I definitely would not mind being able to quit working in kitchens to play music."
36; vegan 3 years; hometown Bellingham, WA
"One of my reasons for going vegan is the negative environmental impact of the meat and dairy industry. I’m working toward lightening my environmental footprint any way I can. Cycling is also an important part of that.
I want to be remembered as kind, and as someone who lived according to his ideals."
Jeremy Paul Hernandez
32; vegan 10 years; Lancaster, CA
"I work two jobs. I got debt and I got a lot of projects. I do photography. I just put out a zine, ‘Lover’s Rock.’ It was the first of hopefully a lot of zines. I noticed that a lot of friends and people in town are doing photography and keeping it to themselves. I really admire a lot of the work. I want to either highlight them in their own zines or bring them together in a collaborative zine like this one. There were five photographers."
27; vegan 5 years; hometown Honolulu, HI
“School used to mean so much more when I first started. I wanted to make my parents happy by being the first in our family to have a college degree. That was seven years ago. With loans adding up and my job only getting me from paycheck to paycheck, I worry if my degree will mean anything when I look for work related to it. I'm burnt out but I'm trying to make it through.”
29; vegan 6 years; hometown Memphis, TN
“I completely love my career. I work for a progressive IVF Clinic. We help heterosexuals and same-sex couples create life. It's such a rewarding field to work in. Although I have not had a maternal peak, nor do I think I will, I love that I can play a small role in helping others' dreams come true.”
22; vegan 8 years; hometown Portland, OR
“I'm a documentary photographer and barista. My family owns Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ and we are all vegan. I live in North Portland with my two pet rats, Fred and George.”
Most proud of?
“My family. Ridabock pride!”
29; vegan 9 months; hometown Aargau, Switzerland
“I've been in the cabinet industry for over 10 years, dreaming of a different lifestyle the entire time. When I started the apprenticeship I had my first vegan encounter which made me want to switch, but I hadn't found the courage and knowledge to do so for those 10 years. Going vegan last year gave me a purpose in life and something to focus my photography on.”
photo by Andreas Knüttel
42; vegan 16 years; hometown Portland, OR
“I live my life as consciously as I can. I consider myself a culture shifter, and I love to surround myself with other culture shifters as friends, lovers, clients, collaborators in various ways. Vegan, car-free, NVC-using, touch-positive, sex-positive...I'm into all that stuff.”
29; vegan 3 years; hometown Seattle, WA
Do you love your job?
“Yes, absolutely. I am a nanny and have been for many years. It keeps me on my toes. Always aware of how I present myself, always clear and compassionate when I answer questions or introduce new concepts to the kids. I want to lead by example. A good one.”
Nikki Duong Koenig
31; vegan 1 year; hometown Dallas, TX
“I love my ‘job’ because I'm finally living my dream of 12 years. Being a social entrepreneur has its ups and downs, but [with Cykochik] the rewards of getting to do what I love and helping make a difference for people, animals, and our planet is so much more fulfilling.”
Photo by Jonny Ngo
Josh Raymond and Stephanie Rice
J: 33; vegan 17 years; hometown Old Bridge, NJ
S: 29; vegan 3 years; hometown Portland, OR
J: “I like to think I'm trying to make the most of my current existence by spending time with friends, my lady, and my senior pup, exploring the outdoors, racing sailboats, building/projecting, and cooking food for people. Have been both vegan and straight edge since the mid-'90s. Yep, I'm old.”
Photo by Mark Rainha
30; vegan 2 years; hometown Renton, WA
How’s your job?
“It's a love/hate relationship. The company I have worked with for 5 years wouldn't let me go if I told them to. However, being in the service industry has many downfalls. You really learn how different people are and it's helped me become more sensitive to people's beliefs and opinions; even though most of them are wrong. Kidding! Being around people all the time makes it a bit easier to not take life so seriously.”
41; vegan 9 years; hometown Chicago, IL
“I'll always be a Chicago girl. I moved away 15 years ago and have lived in New York, L.A., and now Portland, but I know I'll just never be West Coast. Here, you tell someone to fuck off and they're probably gonna be offended. Chicago will always be special. I mean, it’s the only city where I’ve fallen in love, you know?”
Danielle Whitley, Jason Graber
D: 36; vegan 13 years; hometown Auburn, CA
J: 29; vegan 5 years; hometown Rockton, IL
“Iggy and Thelonious, who are brothers, are our firsts. We went to the rodent rescue shelter to see all the critters. The woman at the shelter said, ‘Well, let's say hi to the boys.’ They were both hanging on the cage wall side by side, poking their heads in opposite directions staring intently at us like they were saying, ‘Hello? We want to meet you.’ We knew they would come home with us.”
42; vegan 4 years; hometown Detroit, MI
“My mom wanted to raise me UU. When you are raised Unitarian Universalist, you’re exposed to really liberal values. So, I knew about transgendered people, marriage equality, non-violent communication, and alternative forms of worship when I was small. That didn’t necessarily translate to the lifestyle or culture that is Grosse Pointe, or traditional family values. So, interesting that they wanted me to have that liberal perspective.”
33; vegan 10 years; hometown Graz, Austria
“Since 14 years, I am a vegan baking nerd. I don't have an education as a baker, but I love what I do and I am good with it. Four years ago I baked a carrot cake and brought it to one of the oldest and famous veg restaurants in Austria and asked for a job as a baker. They tried my cake, and since this time I work for them as a vegan baker. I am so happy to be there.”
Ji Yun Yoo
31; vegan 18 years; hometown South Korea
“My passion is making better place where I am now through my talents. It can be done through baking, cooking, or painting, or music.”
photo by Helen Feliciano
47; vegan 8 years; hometown Los Angeles, CA
"My wife is my best friend. We have been together for close to 19 years. My wife is the smartest person I know. [We] co-founded Evolotus PR. We work mostly with nonprofits such as Mercy For Animals and Animal Place; vegan documentary films like Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, and Cowspiracy; companies such as Tofurky and Vegan Vine; and authors like Ruby Roth and Jo-Ann McArthur. Our job is our activism."
photo by Jo-Anne McArthur
34; vegan 18 years; hometown Portland, OR
“I’ve been drawing comics ever since I was a kid.”
“It was called Hitman. It was about ska music and aliens and working at Subway. I was 14. If I ever see copies in public, I steal them. It’s so anti-feminist and uncool. I was hanging out with punk boys who I wanted to make think I was important. It’s all this stuff that’s obscene and absurd, like, ‘I hate girls.’ You stupid idiot. Don’t say you hate girls! You are a girl. Own it.”
43; vegan 15 years; hometown Atlanta, GA
"I felt a lot more responsibility to be more politically informed and active when I lived in the south, but when I moved out here, I was like, 'Oh, you guys got this, so I can relax.' That’s actually one of my resolutions for this year is to get back into the swing of things. I was so much more active in a vegan community in Atlanta because it was so much smaller and scrappier. Here, I’m one of thousands instead of one of tens."
Christina and Luciano Cuenca
CC: 39; vegan 15 years; hometown Seattle, WA
JC: 4; vegan 4 years; hometown Seattle, WA
"The best part of my day is seeing my son first thing in the morning. He loves life with such a fierceness, it's beautiful to see the way he greets the day with such optimism and enthusiasm."
28; vegan 1 year; hometown Northampton, MA
"I live life in constant amazement. Sitting here, we’re moving at the speed of light! Trees defy gravity! When we touch something we send a message to our brain at 124 mph! There are as many atoms in a single molecule of our DNA as there are stars in any given galaxy! We’re all little universes walking around together, experiencing this thing called life, and every morning we get another 24 hours. Some people see the mundane, but I see the miraculous."
33; vegan 6 years; hometown Ames, IA
"Being a vegan is the most important and thing I'm most proud of. How humans and industry treat animals is beyond cruel and immoral."
photo by Lindsay Rosenberg
29; vegan 2 years; hometown Pretoria, South Africa
"I had to move to a different country every five years as a kid, so now that my passport's purposefully expired I travel the world through food and shared experiences. It's infinitely more rewarding because now I do it with purpose and with passion. It can sometimes be overwhelming, so veganism is the best and brightest lens through which to view the world."
photo by Margaux Mouton
Joni Marie Newman
39; vegan 9 years; hometown Long Beach, CA
"I am just a regular gal who loves to cook, especially for friends and family. Self-taught, and still learning, I spend most of my spare time in the kitchen. Through my food, I hope to help people understand that it is not necessary to murder or torture another living creature in order to have a tasty supper."
photo by Jackie Sobon
27; vegan 4 years; hometown Los Alamitos, CA
"When I wanted to be able to cook for myself, learning about food and where it comes from was part of the foundation. That information is what eventually led me to become vegan, and is why I believe that introducing people to delicious vegan food is absolutely imperative to helping the movement grow. Vegan food blogging and photography is my subtle form of activism."
photo by Jackie Sobon
25; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Turin, Piemonte, Italy
"I always had an insane passion for traveling and not feeling rooted somewhere, that somehow made me feel lost but excited. I finally came to understand this is not going to change or evolve. I’ll always want the new, the unexpected—the unknown sky, the less-traveled road, the unfamiliar face—and I’ll always want to get lost in it."
photo by Ilaria Bertini
27; vegan 2.5 years; hometown Messina, Sicily, Italy
"Ever since I was a kid, I have always been around the sea, learning to respect and love it, and dreaming of becoming a fish! I have always been fascinated by their way to enjoy and live across the oceans, swimming without borders. Apart from studying, researching, and writing critical media theory upon all, I like to go back to the island that gave me birth, trying to become a fish as much as I can."
photo by Ilaria Bertini
33; vegan 8 years; hometown Portland, OR
"I worked at Farm Sanctuary for a month, in New York. You’re taking care of these animals that are super sick. I had this panic moment where I knew that I couldn’t get a painting degree because I would be of no use to animals. I came back and I changed my major immediately to graphic design... It turns out that I’m really excited about it. It’s the only thing other than painting that I can sit down and do for 8 hours."
35; vegan 7 years; hometown Kailua-Kona, HI
“I have been in education, nonprofit, and now real estate and event planning, professionally. I have a Masters in Education in School Counseling. I want to renew my disaster relief certification, go to all of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, and take classes in eco-psychology, glass blowing, and sculpting. I also want to get a pair of snowshoes. I'm like an onion, I have lots of layers. I'll try not to make you cry, though.”
32; vegan 6 months; hometown Beaverton, OR
“I’ve been car-free for a year. For the past 6 months, I’ve primarily lived without money, too, aside from my rent, which is $150. We live in a big house and we share. I do Food Not Bombs, where I cook here every Tuesday. We just cook it up and we serve 50, 60, 70 people. It’s been actually one of the best 6 months of my life. Very low stress, don’t have to freak out about stuff.”
25; vegan 3 years; Orlando, FL
“I love my job. Working at World Foods, I am able to inspire vegan alternatives to our Lebanese cuisine, and am able to share my veganism in an appropriate environment.”
What are you working toward?
“Opening a food cart within the next few years, themed on the Ocean Gyre, a floating island of trash in the Pacific Ocean. The idea is to bring awareness to where our garbage really ends up.”
33; vegan 6 years; San Diego, CA
“Science Fiction, specifically Star Trek, The Next Generation. That was the big thing I watched with my parents. As with a lot of science fiction, there was a lot of social commentary that goes along with those shows. They’re dealing with a common topic dressed up in an alien outfit. Star Trek kind of made me think that the world could be amazing, and hopefully one day it will be. Everything else just cemented the fact that it isn’t there yet.”
36; vegan 10 years; Boston, MA
“My goal since I was a kid was to inspire people the way people have inspired me through photography and storytelling. So far, it’s manifested in me traveling. For instance, being vegan, none of my family even knew what it was. I’m still educating them about it, and I feel that I wouldn’t have had the same opportunity to learn about it if I hadn’t traveled. I haven’t converted anybody, but I’ve created conversation.”
Night photo by Mark Raihna
37; vegan 9 years; Fairview, PA
"My favorite place to hike is the Broken Top Loop near Bend, OR. It brings you face to face with four mountains and I rarely see anyone when I’m there. Four or five days in the wilderness is my therapy. You wake up listening to owls. It reminds me to slow down and appreciate my life. At one point, you can climb up on these rocks bordering a glacial lake; the world seems so much bigger from that perspective."
Hiking photo by Tim Kahn
45; vegan 12 years; hometown Nha Trang, Vietnam
"Trying to help people eat healthy and exercise has made me find my path. After a long day at work, but still, training are my toughest struggles."
Any advice for today's or future youth?
photo by Yoko Morimoto
24; vegan 7 years; hometown Concord, NH
"When I first got into skating, I would watch videos of ladies skating all the time. It was really exciting to see ladies having fun, ripping on a skateboard. Now that I live in Portland, it’s so rad to live around lady skaters. It’s also really cool to rep that. A girl at the skate park is a pretty rare thing. It’s very male dominated. So, it’s good to provide that for each other and feed off each other."
Alyssa Boyle and Tani Demain
A: 43; vegan 7 years; hometown Mariposa, CA
T: 44; vegan 6 years; hometown Los Angeles, CA
Favorite childhood memories?
A: “The birthday party I threw for my pet rooster, Penrod. We had cake with a rooster on it and everything. All of my school friends came and brought homemade presents.”
T: “My parents and I went to a vegetarian restaurant in L.A. for Thanksgiving dinner. An employee brought out an amazing male turkey happy as can be, looking straight back at me."
photo by Yoko Morimoto
Jose, Marc, Ryan, and Paul
J Arias: 22; vegan 3 years; hometown Guatalajara, Mexico
M Langlois: 26; vegan 10 years; hometown Deerfield, NH
R Jay: 30; vegan 4 years; hometown Long Beach, CA
P Turillo; 26; vegan 8 years; hometown Jamestown, RI
R: That sounds pretty cool!
J: I have, like, a way crazy idea.
M: Yeah, yeah? I like where this is going.
J: I don’t! Because I don’t know how to explain it!
J: Ah, damn it!
R: Damn you, language! Sumerians! You have the Sumerians to thank for that.
38; vegan 7 years; hometown Seattle, WA
What are you best at?
"Singing. I attended Berklee College of Music, and in my last year I had a performance with a big band and duet. It was the first time performing live where I felt totally at ease and happy. I hit all my notes and them some. It was a good moment. Also empathy, so much so I have to force myself to turn it off to function."
44; vegan 12 years; hometown Salina, KS
“My dream is not to quit working and go lay on a beach. That would be the most boring thing in the world. Actually, that would be really great for a month, but I just like to be busy, to be doing things and helping people and making good things in the world. It’s always been in my nature to help people. I’m the person who picks up a nail in the road because someone’s going to get a flat tire.”
Stephanie, Victoria, and Megan
S Sulger: 21; vegan 5 years; hometown San Diego, CA
V Cappucci: 21; vegan 4 years; hometown Reno, NV
M Peranteau: 20; vegan 5 years; hometown San Diego, CA
V: “It was Stephanie who got us all together.”
S: “People are always like, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if we this and that?’ and I’m like, ‘It would and we’re doing it.’”
M: “I met Stephanie here the other day and we were like, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if we went ice skating?’ and she was like, ‘It would and let’s do it on Monday.’”
44; vegan 14 years; hometown Frankfurt, Germany
“I am an incurable sarcastic cynic. I believe it's better to be a smart-ass than a dumb-ass, but I still hold a kernel of hope, because I still stand up against injustice and oppression, and work toward making the world a better place for animals and humans.”
42; vegan 14 years; hometown Toronto, Canada
“I wouldn’t change much about my life. Everything that’s happened has made me who I am. Of course, if I could live my life over, I would worry less. And for the do-over, I would have gone vegan long, long ago! Being vegan is the best decision I made. It brings me joy, peace, and health, and it’s something I would have liked to have started much earlier.”
Giselle and Cody Correia
G:36; C: 34; vegan 2 years;
hometown Toronto, Canada
"We did a lot of work for elephant and wildlife conservation, going undercover to so-called elephant sanctuaries, elephant camps, zoos, safari parks, and even tiger kingdom. We acted like the average tourists having a great old time while gathering footage of abuse and neglect. It was extremely difficult to put smiles on our faces knowing full well that every single animal we came in contact with was suffering."
30; vegan 9 years; hometown Mukilteo, WA
"I am a professional wedding and portrait photographer. I am so happy to be able to be a part of documenting the love between couples and families as an artist and business person. I also love that my business allows me to volunteer and give freely of my time/talent to organizations and businesses that are doing wonderful work."
44; vegan 13 years; hometown Seattle, WA
"I'm really proud of the five years I spent managing Vegan Haven (formerly Sidecar for Pigs Peace), Seattle's all-vegan grocery store owned by Pigs Peace Sanctuary. I feel I really put Vegan Haven on the map and made it a true community asset."
30; vegan 9 years; hometown Ontario CA
"Writing's been my passion since I was about 5 years old. In the last few years my career has taken a different turn (RIP, journalism), so writing hasn’t been as big of a part of my life as I’d like...
I gain a lot of inspiration from powerful women in the arts, writing, vegan, and feminist activism worlds. To name a few: Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Chrissie Hynde, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, PJ Harvey, Lee Krasner, Kathleen Hanna."
38; vegan 5 years; Seattle, WA
"Since I was a kid I've been inspired by science fiction authors like Ursula K Le Guin. whose stories explore diverse imaginary worlds and possible futures. As I've gotten older, I've also found inspiration closer to home, from people in my life who have taught me to navigate uncertainty, fear, and self-doubt to embrace new endeavors and opportunities to make positive change."
37; vegan 3 years; hometown Bucksport, ME
"My mom and my grandmother and my sister are all quilters. As a kid, I was dragged to fabric stores. I hated it, thought it was boring and dumb. When I was 26, I was living in San Fransisco and I was really homesick. I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll start quilting and it’ll make me feel connected with home.’
I love colors and I love fabric. I also love how they’re all optical illusions."
Holly Feral and James Allen
H: 33, vegan 3 years; hometown Nashville, TN.
J: 37, vegan 3 years; hometown Kenosha, WI
Do you feel that your art-making helped bring you together?
H: "Well I definitely think that James’ art making is what made me fall in love with him, because when I first met him he was working on an excavated book and I was just super impressed and really intimidated. "
J: "It’s because I had a knife!”
H: "And he took my wallet."
You took her wallet?
J: "No, that’s a lie."
Photo by Jade Sturms
26; vegan 4 years; hometown Vancouver, WA
"I’m a total nihilist, but I have a lot of compassion. It is weird thinking about how we’re really inconsequential. We’re just on this rock floating around space. What do you do with that? How do you attach that to your everyday, inconsequential life and try to make it worthwhile? [Voltaire's] Candide says, 'We have to cultivate our garden.' Because you have to distract yourself. You have to keep busy."
Ahimsa Kerp & Janessa Philemon-Kerp
A: 37; vegan 19 years; hometown Portland, OR
J: 34; vegan 6 years; hometown Cave Junction, OR
J: "My mom lived in a tepee in this commune called Sun Star. She’d leave home and just walk around topless."
A: "We wouldn’t have been identified as hippies because we weren’t men wearing dresses… But ideologically, we were super big hippies. My mom’s boyfriend went to jail for spiking a tree so it couldn’t be logged."
34; vegan 7 years; hometown Stockholm, Sweden.
"A few street dogs in Philly let me help them, then I volunteered, doing all sorts of AR stuff, then got a job for Vegan Outreach in 2008 and did not have an apartment for the next 6 years, traveling to over 500 places on a mission to introduce as many people as I could to the beautiful life.
I fell ill and after powering through a few more years finally relented and plopped down in L.A. and now do activism in SoCal."
Photo by Yoko Morimoto
33; vegan 7 years; hometown Portland, OR
"I’ve dealt with a lot of clients who have gone through cancer and chemo. We’ll all go to their houses and do a hair shaving day. That’s really fun. We’ll do a party with their husbands and their kids and shave their heads too.
Three months ago, one of my clients was going through chemo. She came in and said, 'I’m going to lose my hair in 15 days. Can you find me a wig?' I went shopping and got her a wig. It worked out great."
38; vegan 20 years; hometown Melbourne, Australia
"As a vegan since 1994, I was always inspiring people around me and making others laugh with my wacky sense of humor, so I combined the two. I formed my own production company in L.A., named it Vegan Vision Productions, and started creating my own work.
It is a joy to run VVP. Every day I get to live my life with purpose. Having humor play a role in my life means my career doesn't feel like work."
47; vegan 10 years; hometown Salem, OR
"We dated for almost 5 years before we got married and 2 years in, I still was like a feral cat. If you’re still single when you’re 46, you’ve seen some shit. But we had this conversation one day about, 'What do you think a good relationship is?' I remember saying, 'I don’t think I've ever seen a marriage that I would want to have but I think, ideally, it’s your refuge.' A couple of years later, I realized, 'That’s what he’s become to me.'"
33; vegan 10 years; hometown Anaheim, CA
"I play music and that’s my passion. I’ve been a musician and a songwriter since I was 16 but that always comes second to making sure my kids are taken care of. So working full time, and having a job that’s stable and has good benefits is a necessity because I want to be a good parent and provide for my kids. And having a good relationship with my wife. Family is number one."
45; vegan 5 years; hometown Sherwood, OR
"I didn't like hanging out with friends in the summer, I would come out here to the farm. When the opportunity came for me and my husband to move out here, it was a dream come true. This was a great opportunity to turn my dream for a farm animal rescue into a reality, on my grandparents' farm where I grew up. And I think they would be proud."
46; vegan 4 years; hometown Lake Oswego, OR
"I’ve worked from home for the last 20 years and I feel really fortunate that I was able to watch my son grow up. My husband is a stay-at-home dad. Right now, I’m just really on the lookout, really searching for what I want to do for the next 40 years."
Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart
32; vegan 15 years; hometown Darien, IL
Biggest turning point in your life?
"The day I moved to NYC. Left a 7-year relationship, my hometown, with a rescued pup, a company, and an aerobed, to move to Brooklyn. I knew what I was doing, but I didn't really."
How do you hope to be remembered?
"Awake and thankful for each day and each of the faces I see and do this thing called life with!"
26; vegan 6 years; hometown Lake Oswego, OR
"My life revolves around my deep and consuming love for art in all its forms. I'm a singer, musician, visual artist, and actor.
My whole life I've been a deeply empathetic person, which has lent not only to my artistic endeavors but also to my unrelenting passion for animals and their well-being."
Jill Ettinger and Imogene Novic
Jill: 42; vegan 23 years; hometown Pittsburgh, PA
Imogene: 14 months; vegan 14 months; hometown Los Angeles, CA
"I often tell people that I was born vegan, but only 'came out of the refrigerator' once I was old enough to truly understand the benefits of a vegan diet, and make my own food purchasing decisions.
Raising a vegan child is incredibly easy, and a great way to help develop healthy eating habits. And we hope she’ll be a lifelong friend to the animals, too."
Photo by Baza Novic
27; vegan 2 years; hometown Boulder, CO
"The biggest turning point in my life so far was the day I started meditating. I started listening to my body, my mind, the environment, the people around me. I stopped trying to feel accepted, or necessary, or validated and just let myself experience the world as it came. I started to learn that everyone was just like me, and at no point would that change. We all want happiness, and we're all relatively bummed when we don't get it."
26; vegan 6 months; hometown Dominican Republic
What would your advice be on self-worth?
"My advice will be to not give up on yourself. There are good days and bad days. On those bad days, make sure you list all of the great qualities you possess. When I don't do something right, I am really hard on myself and say I am a failure. I have to learn that one mistake doesn't define me as a person. The mistake taught me something new and to do it right next time."
Photo by Helen Feliciano
36; vegan 7 years; hometown Youngstown, OH
"Back in San Francisco, I worked in a produce department and it was all organic. It was like 2001 to 2003. I was always into that kind of stuff, everyone who was there was into it. None of us worked on farms but we would always talk about how we want to see where it comes from. The more I got into permaculture and then learning about agro-forestry…I realized we need to think bigger and longer than 'I have 5,000 tomatoes.'”
Danielle "Jupi" Holland
18; vegan 10 years; hometown Portland, OR
Biggest turning point?
“The day I glimpsed a slaughter video. I was 8 years old. I have had a lot of important turning points since then, but nothing has stuck quite so unfalteringly as the idea that formed in my head that night that I would never, ever again allow myself to hurt an animal like I saw in the video... but I think childhood is the best time to think for yourself and to form your own ideas about the world with both rationality and love."
John and Brian Wilson
B: 39; vegan 15 years; hometown Gardnerville, NV
J: 34; vegan 15 years; hometown Gardnerville, NV
B: “John and I took a different path than our parents did. I feel like we took the same kind of moral--”
J: “--Compass that our parents gave us, but we were more involved with punk rock and hardcore, a lot more affected by music. I grew up skateboarding and so it just changes your ideas.”
30; vegan 5 years; hometown Rochester, NY
“Even though we're witnessing a global environmental catastrophe play out in slow motion, I'm optimistic that we can overcome these challenges and correct our course.”
What is the best thing on planet earth?
“Two things. Loud music and coffee.”
28; vegan 4 years; hometown LaCrosse, WI
"I’m an OR nurse. I do all of the liver transplants for Oregon… I found out they raise calves for the pericardium of the heart for these staple adhesives. I took it to one of the surgeons and he’s refusing to use it now. There’s a synthetic form. I mean, think about how many surgeries he performs. He had no idea. They don’t talk about it."
Sung Mo Cho
39; vegan 14 years; hometown: Seoul, South Korea
What is your favorite childhood memory?
“I lived in a small village in Seoul. Everybody knows who's who. I go to my friend's house to play a game, eating dinner and watching a TV. Whenever I visit there, I feel warm around me.”
Photo by Helen Feliciano
28; vegan 7 years; hometown Miami, FL
31; vegan 11 years; hometown Seattle, WA
What are you most proud of?
"My current music project, Skates! We're a high-energy pop band with a little surf mixed in. I get to play with, truly, my favorite musicians in Seattle, and we have a heck of a lot of fun doing it."
35; vegan 7 years; hometown Orland Park, IL
What has had the greatest impact on your life? "Empathy—in all its forms. All the people, all the stories, all the moments light is found through the darkness, all the times a being reaches out in kindness and joy to another. The possibility in that effort to lessen another’s suffering is a major reason I do what I do and love it."
Jack and Morgan McGuirk
Jack: 32; vegan 14 years; hometown San Antonio, TX
Morgan: 26; vegan 7 years; hometown Fort Collins, CO
J: “I can have it all now. We hitchhiked for years and years after we got married. For years, half of each year, we were bummin’ around the country.”
M: “And now, instead of being a solo traveler, we’re always together. So we have unlimited entertainment, company, support.”
Rhonda Buchanan, aka Indigo Luna
52; vegan 1 year; hometown Bristol, TN
"I went [to Burning Man] for the first time this year. It can be logistical nightmare, some parts of it. You spend a lot of money getting there, your first time, that is. But your journey getting there, the people you meet, and the situations you run into and the friends you make, that's the most awesome thing about it. And once you get there, it's such a gifting, compassionate, accepting, loving community, and that's what I love about it."