Hello Cristina !
For this "4th Good Guys note," we wanted to introduce you to an important figure of veganism activism on the west coast. Cristina lives in long Beach, California, which might be one of the most "Vegan-Friendly" cities in America. She lives with her adorable dog Dobby, and she's a pillar in the Vegan community. Cristina is an animal lover and works at PETA. She is stylish as hell and is going to walk us through her "Vegan journey."
-How long have you been a Vegan? I wish I knew my exact vegan anniversary! I first began dabbling in veganism while I was in college. In 2007, I reached out to PETA for help with navigating a vegan diet and being an athlete. I swam 4-5 hours a day, and I was worried that I was going to run out of energy if I didn’t consume animal products. They gave me a ton of great information that lit the spark, and the rest is history!
-Was there a particular event that drove you to become a Vegan? At the core of your will to change your diet, was there primarily a concern with health, ethics, or ecology? My reasons for being vegan have changed and evolved over time. When I first became a vegetarian in high school, it was just a diet and a way to lose weight. Honestly, animal rights did not cross my mind at all. But as I started learning about veganism and animal rights and started reflecting on my own life experiences over the years, I realized that there is no way I could ever be anything less than vegan. Animal rights, immigrant rights, environmentalism… it’s all connected and I am still learning!
-Do you consider yourself an activist?Absolutely. Even before working in AR, I considered myself an activist because I believe being vegan is a form of activism. As consumers, your dollar is your vote and your power. Why do you think KFC, of all places, recently launched vegan chicken? Because money talks and the demand for vegan options is rising.
-You work for PETA now, how did you find yourself doing so? Yes, I do. I’ve gone full circle! A few years ago, I decided that I needed to be more involved and work somewhere that I could make a bigger impact. PETA played a big role in my road to veganism so I decided to apply for TWO positions at their Los Angeles office. I figured I had to get one of them, right? And here we are!
-You have a pet, a dog, a canine influencer, tell us a bit about her? Yes! How much time do you have? Her name is Dobby (@Dobbyisvegan on Instagram), she’s a 12 year old chiwinnie and we’ve been together for about 10 years now.
I first started her Instagram account because she is SUCH a picky eater, omg. I always offer her the food off my plate and 9 times out of 10 she will sniff it and turn her nose up in the air. I absolutely love her. She has more personality in her left paw than I do in my entire body!
-Is your dog a Vegan (when you feed her)? Yep! Dogs are perfectly able to live happy, healthy lives on a vegan diet. Dobby has been living her best vegan life for about 3 years now. And home girl loves her veggies! She will wake up mid-nap if you even whisper the word “carrot”.
-Do you seek out cultural icons (artists, singers, actors) who are Vegans? Does it matter? Can you name some? Growing up in the punk scene, I never really had to seek out vegan artists because veganism and other social issues were always front and center. Bands like Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits and even The Smiths released songs about animal rights that influenced me and so many of my friends. Now that I work in AR, I am becoming more aware how veganism is making its way into popular culture. From Greg Gin of Black Flag to social justice icon Colin Kaepernick, vegans are everywhere and their influence cannot be understated.
-How does being a Vegan influence your style? Fashion is actually a great opportunity for activism! I am always on the lookout for new, eye-catching cruelty free items. I always wear at least one bold piece that will hopefully spark conversations. One of my favorite things to do when someone compliments something I am wearing is letting them know that it's vegan. A lot of non-vegans think that veganism is just a diet and when I say that my shoes are vegan they always come back with something like “oh you can eat your shoes?” People tend to disconnect animals from fashion and cosmetics because they don’t see the process. They don’t understand that sheep are abused for wool or how countless animals are killed in cosmetic testing. So I use these interactions as an opportunity to educate on cruelty-free fashion.
-A few years back some styles, like cowboy boots, or motorcycle jackets, were exclusively reserved to leather lovers, is there an item, a style you thought you’d never be able to wear, and have been surprised (and excited) to find in a Vegan version? Oh man, there is so much! I just read that Adidas came out with a vegan version of their classic Superstar shoe. I have never in my life owned a pair of Adidas –they were never really my style- but I might just buy a pair now!
-What’s your favorite Good Guys shoes and how did you find Good Guys? Let’s see… I met you guys at California Drifters in Long Beach, CA a few years ago through my friend Matt. You only had one pair Dolly Baby Blue shoes left and I HAD to have them! I ended up buying them and throwing away the shoes I was wearing so I could wear the Dolly’s for the rest of the night J Right now, my favorite GG shoes are the Jenny Mustards. I LIVE in my Jennys! They are sooooo comfortable and really, the perfect quarantine shoe haha.
-Junk Food or Health Food? No offense to salads, but we are living in the age of vegan junk food! The day that I discovered vegan pan dulce was one of the happiest days of my life… shout out to Vegan by Victoria’s for bringing back the flavors of my childhood! Also, I never in a million years thought that I would be able to go through the drive-thru at Del Taco and get vegan tacos or go to Carl’s Jr. for a vegan burger. Don’t get me wrong, I am still team tofu, but man…what a time to be alive!
- Your dream shoe? My dream shoe would probably be some type of platform vegan leather ankle boots in a fun, bright color. Something that would make someone say, “Wow! That’s vegan?!”
The new SS2021 Rainbow Jerry
- Do you have a favorite Vegan quote? “It takes guts to be gentle and kind” – I Know it’s Over by The Smiths. I know it’s not a vegan quote, but I think it fits.
Links and references to this "Good Guys Note #4"