Many celebrities are vegan, but many may be more discrete vegans in that they do not engage in any animal activism and do not promote a vegan diet. Yet, there are some who are unabashed in their vegan and/or Animal rights advocacy, participating in protests, campaigns, and the like. These celebrities include award-winning actors, singer-songwriters, and even a handful of athletes. The following is a list of 10 vegan individuals, couples, and families who are not silent vegans and, instead, use their fame and platform to advocate for animals in various ways. Notable Animal rights organizations such as PETA and Mercy for Animals have benefited from celebrities like these.
1. Joaquin Phoenix & Rooney Mara
Source: Joaquin Phoenix Updates/YouTube
Joaquin Phoenix is perhaps one of the most notable and recognizable vegans in the world, and is an award-winning actor who mentioned the dairy industry in his Oscar acceptance for “Joker.” He first went vegan more than 40 years ago, when he was on a fishing trip and noticed how seeing the treatment of fish made him feel “distrustful, and angry and frightened of humans.” Phoenix has often partnered with such organizations as PETA and Animal Equality, in hopes of encouraging others to adopt cruelty-free lifestyles. In addition, he narrated the 2018 Australian documentary “Dominion,” which showed the cruelties of animal agriculture and animals used for entertainment. He has also been a producer on similar films like “Gunda,” “The Animal People,” and “What the Health,” and has attended slaughterhouse vigils as part of the Animal Save movement.
Phoenix and his partner Rooney Mara — who reportedly tied the knot in 2022 — have both been active in the Animal rights community for quite some time. Mara, who co-narrated “Dominion,” went vegan along with her sister, Kate. Mara, who is an Oscar-nominated actress, founded the Hiraeth Collective, a sustainable, ethical clothing brand. Before the pandemic, both Phoenix and Mara lead an animal rights march for National Animal rights Day, in which they walked next to each other as they carried the lifeless bodies of animals “in a show of respect for the trillions of animals killed each year.” Other marchers carried banners that said, “This is how we, the human race, treat animals. Do you want to be part of this?”
The couple now has a child, River — named after Phoenix’s late brother — who they say they won’t force to be vegan. “Certainly, I would hope that [he is vegan], but I’m not going to impose my belief on my child,” Phoenix says. He clarifies that, while he and Mara will Support their son as he decides whether or not to consume animal products, he will not “perpetuate the lie” in regards to supposedly happy cows, pigs, etc. In 2021, shortly after giving birth, Mara wrote a letter about the importance of advocating for all mothers, in a special campaign for Farm Sanctuary. “I feel so fortunate to be able to nurture my son in all of the ways that nature intended,” Mara says, adding that she wished “all mothers in the animal kingdom could experience that sacred maternal bond with their young, devoid of exploitation by humans.” Though neither Phoenix nor Mara is on any form of social media, they continue to advocate for animals in any way that they can. Recently, Phoenix expressed his thoughts regarding the closure of the Farmer John slaughterhouse near Los Angeles: “The closure of the Farmer John slaughterhouse is only the end of a chapter in a book that is still being written, a book in which we continue to advocate for the liberation of all animals who suffer in these oppressive systems.”
2. Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish, the 21-year-old multi-Grammy-winning singer-songwriter — who also won an Oscar along with her brother, Finneas — is a longtime vegan and animal advocate who is not afraid to speak up for animals. Eilish and Finneas have been vegan for nearly 10 years, and their mother, Maggie Baird, raised them on a vegetarian diet. Baird is a longtime vegan activist who founded Support + Feed, which provides free vegan meals to underserved communities. In talking about being vegan, Eilish says, “even though I have lots of friends that eat dairy and meat and I don’t ever want to tell anybody what to do, I just can’t go on in my life knowing what’s going on in the animal world and like, not doing anything about it.” She openly discusses being vegan through social media, mainly via Instagram — where she has more than 100 million followers — and even going so far as to share undercover footage of slaughterhouses. She also has shared vegan food recipes through “Vegan Recipes” highlighted in her Instagram stories, which include such things as chocolate chip cookies and “chicken” noodle soup.
In addition to promoting a plant-based diet, Eilish recently created her own cruelty-free and vegan fragrance, “Eilish,” as well as a limited-edition chocolate bar (that is, of course, vegan). She advocates for the elimination of all animal exploitation, and made a stand against fur at the 2021 Met Gala. The only reason, she said, that she agreed to wear Oscar de la Renta was that they had gotten rid of fur entirely. That same year, PETA named her their person of the year, becoming the youngest-ever recipient of the award. According to PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk, Eilish makes “sure that the party’s over for meaty, milky meals as well as for leather, fur, and silk.” She has also actively campaigned against the dairy industry, and at one point, shared footage of a dairy facility. Also, in February of last year, she spoke out against panda cruelty, sharing a video and post about two abused pandas at the Memphis Zoo who needed to be freed.
Eilish also advocates for other, related issues, such as Climate change, body image, and food insecurity. In 2019, she joined actor Woody Harrelson, who has been vegan for more than 30 years, in a Climate change PSA for Greenpeace. For her most recent world tour, she partnered with Reverb — a sustainable group — to make sure the tour was as kind to the planet as possible; this included a plastic straw ban, as well as the existence of “eco-villages” to teach fans about sustainability.
3. Natalie Portman
Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman went vegetarian at age 9 and vegan in 2011, and continues to advocate for Animal rights and for a plant-based diet. She was convinced to go vegan by longtime vegan Tobey Maguire while filming 2008’s “Brothers.” The Jewish, Israeli-brown actress started acting at the age of 12, and obtained acclaim for her performances, eventually winning the Best Actress Oscar for “Black Swan.” She encourages as many people to go vegan as possible, saying that, “it’s understandable that going from being an omnivore to a vegan overnight is difficult, but if we can cut out eating animal products for one meal a day or one meal a week, that makes a huge difference.”
She once spoke at WE Day — in which thousands of youth activists gather in Los Angeles — and said that, only after she became “active in women’s issues” did she recognize the connection to being vegan. “Dairy and eggs don’t just come from cows and chickens; they come from female cows and female chickens. We’re exploiting female bodies and abusing the magic of female animals to create eggs and milk.” While promoting the documentary “Eating Animals,” which she narrated and produced, she spoke to Mercy for Animals about her involvement in the film and the importance of Animal rights. The film was based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s book of the same name, and it exposes the hard truths of factory farming and its effects on animals and the environment. The book, Portman has said, also helped convince her to go vegan, and she prides the book and the film on focusing on factory farming’s effects on both animals and on humans. She also starred in a PETA video honoring the life of Bashevis Singer, a Nobel Prize-winning writer who frequently spoke up for animals.
In order to gain muscle for her role in last year’s “Thor: Love & Thunder,” Portman had to adopt a different diet from her co-star, Chris Hemsworth, who eats a carnivorous diet. Instead, she consumed a plant-based diet that was rich in vegan protein in the form of protein shakes, asparagus, and lentils. Also, Portman said that Hemsworth purposefully didn’t consume meat prior to filming their kissing scene, a gesture that Portman described as “so thoughtful.” At home, Portman enjoys vegan cooking and often with an Israeli and/or Jewish focus, including couscous. Her husband, Benjamin Millipied, is not vegan, and she has made it a point not to force her children (or her husband) to be vegan. She has admitted that she sometimes feels embarrassed telling people that she is vegan, as she’s concerned about appearing too “picky.” When debunking some myths about veganism, she asserted that there’s more to a vegan diet than simply tofu, and recommended the popular meat alternative the Impossible Burger.
4. Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck is an award-winning actor — he won the Best Actor Oscar for “Manchester By the Sea” — who is a longtime vegan and Animal rights activist. Affleck was previously married to Summer Phoenix, sister of fellow vegan Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix. He became vegan in 1995, primarily due to the cruelty of animal agriculture, at one point saying that he believed veganism to be beneficial “for the individual and the world, and of course the animal. Chickens, cows, and pigs in factory farms spend their whole lives in filthy, cramped conditions, only to die a prolonged and painful death.” Whenever people ask him why he doesn’t consume animal products, he says it’s because these products are “unhealthy and they are the product of a violent and inhumane industry.”
Affleck has been involved with numerous Animal rights organizations, including Farm Sanctuary and PETA. In 2021, he partnered with PETA to speak out against monkey research at UMass Amherst, saying, “UMass can and should do better. End these hideous experiments on marmosets today. UMass, be the leader I know you to be.” Affleck noted that the first step toward fixing issues like these is to raise awareness, and that he recognized the fact that “these are new issues to people.” He also said that this type of activism works, in large part, due to organizations like PETA.” Affleck has also worked with PETA to speak out on dehorning, dogs used in laboratory research, and abused animals in circuses.
Affleck continues to fight for animals in any way he can, sometimes using social media to promote plant-based diets. He encourages fans, friends, etc. to avoid eating meat, which he has referred to as “poison.” He also advocates for adoption — rather than purchasing animals from a breeder — and shared the heartwarming story of his rescued three-legged dog, Bella. However, Affleck came under fire from users who were disappointed in his DIY fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July last ear, especially considering how distressing fireworks can be to animals and how destructive they can be to the environment.
5. Jann Arden
Source: hot for food/YouTube
Jann Arden is a Canadian singer-songwriter — whose career has lasted more than three decades — who is vegan and actively advocates for animals, often through social media. In 2019, she released a six-episode limited series titled “Jann,” in which she played a fictionalized version of herself, and mentioned how she liked to cook vegan meals for the cast and crew while filming. Arden, who has been plant-based for more than six years, is also sober and has admitted that, since she adopted this healthy lifestyle, has felt really good.
Arden has long partnered with The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, an organization that is aimed at ending horse slaughter in Canada, as well as the live import of horses to be sold for slaughter in the country. As she says, “Canada should be leading the world when it comes to animal welfare — and yet we drop the ball in so many ways. We ship thousands upon thousands of live horses for the overseas meat trade and grotesquely fail with their treatment. Often in tight cages of three or four – for days.” In 2021, she contributed financially and otherwise to a petition — which obtained more than 75,000 signatures — that called for the end of live horse export, which was eventually sent to the House of Commons. She also actively campaigns against horse-drawn carriages, rodeos, the dairy industry, and the like.
Arden also advocates for animals on Twitter, where she speaks out against the horrific treatment of animals used for entertainment, for food, and the like. In a recent tweet posted on Valentine’s Day, she remarked that people “seem to be able to ignore the pain that millions of animals endure every day. I will never understand it.” She continues to post her unfiltered thoughts and unabashed options regarding the treatment of animals, especially in her home country of Canada; she will sometimes share grueling photos and videos of what life is like for farm animals in slaughterhouses and the like. The multi-talented Arden is also a celebrity ambassador for World Animal Protection Canada, an animal welfare organization aimed at reducing (and eliminating) animal suffering.
6. Harley Quinn Smith & Kevin Smith
Source: Rich Roll/YouTube
In 2018, after actor-writer-director Kevin Smith suffered a nearly-fatal heart attack, he followed in the footsteps of his daughter, actress and musician Harley Quinn Smith, and adopted a vegan diet. After going plant-based, Kevin felt much healthier — including regular blood pressure levels — and, within six months, he’d lost more than 50 pounds. He and his daughter remain vegan to this day, and Kevin credits Harley for helping make the vegan transition so easy. “She was my guide,” he says, and that without his daughter, he never would have gone vegan. While Harley was the first in her family to go vegan, she was able to convince her grandparents to go vegetarian, something of which she is very proud. Although, she says she does not want to force veganism on anyone, even family and close friends. She encourages people to go vegan by focusing on the doability of making the transition and expresses frustration that humans (in general) have difficulty identifying with animals.
While Kevin primarily went vegan for his health, Harley went vegan mainly for the animals. She first went vegan a couple of years before her dad, saying that she first was a vegetarian. She decided to go vegan after seeing her rescued rabbit, Cinnamon Bun, come out of her shell and willingly receive and accept love, believing that it was hypocritical if she didn’t become vegan. “There are very few people that are able to go cold turkey into veganism,” she says, recognizing the fact that many “people have to start with vegetarianism.” After eliminating all animal products from her diet, she realized that she also had to stop wearing animal products — such as leather — and stop using cosmetics and toiletries tested on animals. She admits that it’s a “long journey” toward eliminating animal products from your life, and stresses that you “can’t be too hard on yourself” because there’s the realization that “society has made animal cruelty a very normalized part of life.”
Smith and his daughter launched a vegan podcast together in 2020, in hopes of teaching people about veganism. The podcast, titled “Vegan Abattoir,” was aimed at debunking various misconceptions regarding plant-based diets, and featured the father-daughter duo answering “vegan-curious” questions they received from non-vegans. Harley, who conceived the podcast, wanted to focus on the health benefits of a vegan diet and the ethical reasoning behind adopting such a diet. Both Kevin and Harley have partnered with various vegan organizations, such as Mercy for Animals, and Harley especially praised the aforementioned organization’s focus on undercover investigations that shed light on animal abuse. Kevin, who is a longtime member of the “comic book community,” spoke about how welcoming the vegan community has also been.
7. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin is an award-winning actor and producer who has been vegan since 2011, a decision he made for both ethical and health reasons, especially upon learning that he was pre-diabetic. Every single time we sit at a dining table, he has said, “we make a choice.” He encourages people to “choose vegetarianism” for the sake of animals, one’s own health, and the environment. However, people have asserted that he is not a true vegan or even a vegetarian, and he has been spotted consuming fish. Baldwin reportedly had a platonic relationship with Sarma MeIngailis, the focus of the docuseries “Bad Vegan,” and he met his current wife, Hilaria Baldwin, at MeIngailis’ raw vegan restaurant, Pure Food & Wine.
Baldwin continues to advocate for a plant-based diet, with a focus on the environmental benefits of such a diet. In 2019, he wrote an op-ed he wrote CNN, in which he stressed the importance of overhauling the food system — especially in wealthier countries, where we “need to shift our diets away from rampant overconsumption” and severely reduce meat consumption. In the article, he encourages the move “toward a nutritious mix of plant-based foods” which use fewer resources, require less land, and are much better for human health. As he warns, our “current food systems are causing great harm to the planet” and that a “better path” to a better planet begins with our diets.
Baldwin has been a celebrity spokesperson for a number of Animal rights organizations, including PETA, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), and Farm Sanctuary. His involvement with PETA has included narrating a video — called “Draw My Life” — about a tiger named Tyler who was kidnapped and then used in a circus, where he was frequently abused and left in isolation. He also narrated a video from PETA titled “Meet Your Meat,” in which the cruelties of animal agriculture are on full display. When Baldwin came under fire from activists for his involvement in a NatGeo series about a polar bear hunter, he clarified that, while he is generally opposed to hunting for sport, the hunt featured in the series was legal and that, because he couldn’t make hunting illegal, the best he could do was “try to influence behavior.” His former wife, Kim Basinger, is also an animal rights activist, and in 2022 she called for a ban on dog meat in South Korea.
8. Rob Zombie & Sheryl Moon Zombie
Source: Vegan Mayhem/YouTube
Musician and horror film director Rob Zombie and his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, are both vegan. Rob, who was a founding member of the metal band White Zombie, first went vegan in the 1980s after watching the documentary “The Animals Film” and noticing the connection between punk rock and veganism. “It was the first time I saw what went on in factory farming and I was horrified,” he said about watching the aforementioned documentary. “Once you see something like that, you can’t unsee it. I can’t pretend like it’s not happening,” he said, referring to the horrific abuse of animals in factory farming. The connection between veganism and punk rock, as he sees it, is about “thinking for yourself.”
“Fighting for animals and being vegan,” Rob has said, you tend to deal with a lot of naysayers who “think it’s not cool” to be vegan. “Actually,” he asserts, “it is cool,” saying that those are the people who are “not cool.” Although, he admits that he’s happy to see change happening and that fast-food corporations like Burger King are selling plant-based meat alternatives. He encourages people to “fight the power” of these types of corporations. When Rob’s parents both were diagnosed with cancer, he convinced them to go vegan, which vastly improved their health. He also makes sure not to be too “preachy” when it comes to talking about veganism, as he encourages people to “look into” veganism as an alternative lifestyle.
The Zombies have been actively involved with Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in High Falls, NY, where a duck was named “Rob Zombie” in his honor. In 2019, they were both honored at Woodstock’s annual ThanksLiving Gala with Woodstock Warrior Award. They have also worked with PETA, through whom they have rescued goats, who now reside at Woodstock, although they still have a number of rescue animals at their home in Connecticut. Rob was recently featured in “Punk Rock Vegan Movie” — made by longtime vegan activist musician Moby — which focuses on the historical relationship between. Animal rights and punk rock music. Other metal artists featured in the film include Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfagng von Frankenstein and Arch Enemy singer Alissa White-Gluz. The film is currently available to stream for free on YouTube.
9. Lewis Hamilton
Source: Kinder World/YouTube
Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton went vegan in 2017, thanks to the influence of a friend and after watching the documentary “What the Health.” When he made the decision to go plant-based, doctors warned him that he wouldn’t be able to receive enough protein for his racing lifestyle, yet he has since proved them wrong. The seven-time world champion has won five of those titles while vegan, and he happily states that it “just takes proving people wrong.” He initially became vegan as a result of learning about the cruel food production industry, although he also noticed an improvement in his overall health. Hamilton has been using his wealth and fame for good, advocating for animals, the environment, and social justice issues.
Hamilton says that his favorite plant-based food is hummus, which he claims is his “go-to thing every day.” In encouraging others to adopt a plant-based diet, he says, he urges them to “find the compassion” within them to understand that what they’re contributing to (in terms of what they eat) “keeps the meat and dairy industry flourishing and therefore, deforestation, animal cruelty, our seas and climate decaying on a daily basis.” He also executive-produced — along with award-winning filmmaker James Cameron — the 2019 documentary “The Game Changers,” which focused on the misconceptions regarding plant-based diets, athleticism, and protein. Hamilton isn’t afraid to utilize his large social media following to advocate for animals, including sharing graphic photos from factory farms, while explaining why he’s vegan. “Yes it’s hard,” he says about being vegan, ” but I’ve felt the best I’ve ever felt.” He also discusses social justice issues, Climate change, and sustainability on Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Hamilton, who was featured in the popular Netflix series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” has started branching out from his racing career and investing in a number of businesses — with a focus on “planet-friendly start-ups.” He has backed Athletic Greens — a vegan-friendly nutritional drink — and has invested in vegan burger chain Neat Burger and plant-based meat/dairy start-up NotCo. In addition, he collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger to make vegan, sustainable materials. Also, as an environmentalist, he has sold his private jet, pledged to go carbon neutral, stopped using plastic at home, and has traded driving “gas-guzzling” sports cars for driving electric vehicles.
In 2020, Hamilton donated $500,000 to WWF Australia, the Rural Fire Services, and Wires Wildlife Rescue — to help the animals affected by the Australian bushfires. “My love of animals is no secret and I can’t help but grieve for the defenseless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction,” he said. He also often shares pictures of his rescue dog, Roscoe, along with regularly giving voice to the voiceless whenever he can; he has spoken out against the illegal wildlife trade, as well as shark finning, factory farming, animals in captivity, and animals used for entertainment. He implores people to not Support dolphin shows and similar types of entertainment, saying, “these beautiful creatures shouldn’t suffer.”
10. Sadie Sink
Sadie Sink, the young star of “Stranger Thingers” and the Oscar-nominated film “The Whale,” has been vegan since 2016; she was mainly inspired to go vegan after meeting and working with Woody Harrelson (on the film “The Glass Castle). She now calls herself a “passionate vegan.” Harrelson and his family — including his daughter, with whom Sink became close — helped convince her to make the switch, especially once she realized that she “felt good” about what she ate and never felt like she was missing out on anything (food-wise). Her reasons for going vegan are primarily ethically based, as she says that once, she realized what went on in the egg and dairy industries, she made the decision right then and there to eliminate animal products from her diet.
Sink has a few favorite dishes she enjoys cooking, including butternut squash and spinach lasagna, which she says is one of her dad’s favorites. While she does encourage others to eat vegan, she offers up other ways to help animals, asserting that “at least you can do something for animals” — whether it’s via your diet or the way you dress. However, she aims to not be a pushy or aggressive vegan; rather, even though she is passionate about her veganism, she also calls herself a “chill vegan.” In addition to modeling for fellow vegan Rooney Mara’s Hiraeth line, Sadie recently modeled for Stella McCartney‘s Winter 2022 collection. McCartney, who is the daughter of noted vegetarian Sir Paul, makes sure that her luxury fashion line is sustainable and animal-free; in fact, the brand has been entirely leather-free since day one.
The young actress has actively promoted compassion for animals, showing her visits to sanctuaries like The Gentle Barn in California with a pro-vegan message. In 2018, she partnered with PETA to create a vegan Fashion line for ASOS, an online retailer. Her animal activism is often visible on her social media accounts, and she also advocates for animal adoption instead of buying from breeders. “It is incredibly important to support small, local charities such as pet rescue,” she says. In addition, she joined fellow vegan celebrities in narrating 2018’s “Dominion.”
The people listed above are just a handful of vegan Animal rights activists who utilize their platform, fame, and wealth for good. Obviously, if you’re already vegan, that’s wonderful! Now, if you can encourage others to follow in your footsteps — without coming across as too preachy or aggressive — that’d be even better. Celebrities clearly possess the ability to influence millions of people worldwide, and as a regular citizen you can also affect change; sharing photos, videos, links, etc. on social media can influence more people than you might think.
- Joaquin Phoenix Speaks on the Closure of Farmer John Slaughterhouse
- Natalie Portman Ate Lentils and Drank ‘A LOT’ of Vegan Protein Shakes for New Role in Thor
- Leonardo DiCaprio Joins Lewis Hamilton’s Neat Food Co. as Investor
- Alec Baldwin Gives a Voice to the Sad Tigers Caught in Circus Captivity (VIDEO)
- Make Stranger Things Actor Sadie Sink’s Favorite Vegan Meal at Home
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