Anya Taylor-Joy, the 24-year old actress who is a chess champion star in the popular Netflix mini-series, The Queen’s Gambit, has been vegetarian since childhood. She was born in Florida, but grew up in Argentina and London. At age 16, she was spotted as a potential model by a talent scout while walking outside Harrods, a department store in London, and through her modelling work she met and signed on with an acting agent. By 2015 she was rising to prominence as an actress and since then has taken lead roles in several movies and TV series.
Anya recently told Harper’s Bazaar magazine that she’d been vegetarian since she was 8 years old. She has dipped in and out of being vegan, which she got into because she says it’s the most ecologically-conscious choice you can make.
It’s all the rage to be vegan in Hollywood these days, so much so that it’s hard to keep up with who’s vegan or vegetarian and who’s not, as various actors and actresses go veg. Many of them have made public statements over the years on why a veg’n diet is important to them, so we thought we’d collect a few:
“When people ask me why I don’t eat meat or any other animal products, I say, ‘Because they are unhealthy and they are the product of a violent and inhumane industry.”
“Every time we sit down to eat, we make a choice: Please choose vegetarianism. Do it for animals. Do it for the environment and do it for your health.”
“I don’t want to torture anything. … it’s about trying to live a life where I’m not contributing to the cruelty in the world. … While I am on this planet, I want everyone I meet to know that I am grateful they are here.”
“I love animals. All animals. I wouldn’t hurt a cat or a dog — or a chicken, or a cow. And I wouldn’t ask someone else to hurt them for me. That’s why I’m a vegetarian.”
“Initially, it was an energetic pursuit, but eventually I did develop a deep compassion for animals. I’d eat a burger, and want to go to sleep. I started for energy. And it has served me well. ”
‘Why are vegans made fun of while the inhumane factory farming process regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit?’
“Everyone has to find what is right for them, and it is different for everyone. Eating for me is how you proclaim your beliefs three times a day. That is why all religions have rules about eating. Three times a day, I remind myself that I value life and do not want to cause pain to or kill other living beings. That is why I eat the way I do.”
“Nothing’s changed my life more. I feel better about myself as a person, being conscious and responsible for my actions and I lost weight and my skin cleared up and I got bright eyes and I just became stronger and healthier and happier. Can’t think of anything better in the world to be but be vegan.”
Mayim Bialik has a PhD in neuroscience, but is much better known as an actress who played Blossom in the early 90s, and more recently as Sheldon Cooper’s girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler from “The Big Bang Theory.”
However, offscreen, she focuses on her passions one of which veganism. She explained how she’d always been an animal lover, and became vegetarian at age 19. As she gradually cut out most dairy in college, she found that her health improved. But it wasn’t until she read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer that she became fully vegan, embracing all the environmental reasons, nutritional and health reasons, and the ethical reasons for staying clear of animal products.
As a busy working mom, raising two boys, she tries not to spend too much time in the kitchen, so she cooks food that can be frozen and reheated, or simple foods that can be assembled easily, such as burritos with beans and rice, with a little vegan cheese and sliced avocado on top. She’s even found time to write her own cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours, in which she shares many ideas on how to eat as a vegan family.
On a road trip nearly a decade ago, Kate Mara remembers passing “miles upon miles of chicken coops” and realizing then “what a horrific life these animals were leading. I was unaware of factory farming until that moment.” She decided to become vegetarian. And five years later, inspired further after meeting with a nutritionist, she cut animal products from her diet completely.
Explaining her decision she says, “Every time we sit down to eat, we have a choice. By choosing more meat-free meals, we’re saying ‘yes’ to better health, ‘yes’ to a better environment, and ‘yes’ to better treatment of animals. Being vegan has been so good for me. I’ve never felt better.”
She goes on to say, “I was a meat eater for a long time, and I would have made different choices in my diet if I had known the facts about factory farming. I now feel it’s my moral obligation, and I’m very passionate about educating people on making better, more humane choices when it comes to the food we eat.”
Despite her plant-based pursuits she tries hard to get along smoothly with others. “I’m a vegan, but that doesn’t mean I get up and leave, if I’m out to dinner with someone who orders steak.”