Vegetarian PeopleVegetarian RecipesVegetarian Website LinksVegetarian QuotesVegetarian Product ReviewsVegetarian Book StoreFamous Veggie Home

Celebrity InterviewsVegetarian FAQsVegetarian Nutrition InfoVegetarian Food GuideVegetarian OrganizationsMessage Board ChatEmail Famous VeggieAbout Famous Veggie's Celebrity Interview with
Heather Chase.

1. What type of vegetarian are you?(vegan,lacto,lacto ovo,etc.)
I consider myself a  virtual vegan, meaning that I favor plant-based foods as much as possible, but occasionally eat items containing small amounts of honey, eggs, or dairy products as ingredients.

2.At what age did you make the decision to go vegetarian?
I have been a vegetarian on and off throughout my entire life, and a virtual vegan for approximately the past two years, becoming more dedicated to veganism since March of 2001.

3. What was your reason for going vegan?

In addition to health and environmental concerns, my primary reasons are animal rights and spirituality. With regards to animal rights, I shudder to think of how animals are abused on today's factory farms. They are treated simply as commodities, not as the living, feeling beings they truly are. Their flesh, eggs and milk are demanded, with no trace of reverence, gratitude, or even acknowledgement that their lives are being sacrificed to sustain our own. I do not want to subsidize this phenomenon.

With regards to spirituality, I believe that all beings are expressions of the Divine. In my view, torturing or killing an animal is, to put it mildly, insulting the Divine. To use an analogy, we do not compliment a painter by destroying his/her paintings; similarly, I do not believe we please the Creator by torturing and killing His/Her creations. On an even deeper level, I believe we are all connected, and thus, causing suffering to any aspect of creation ultimately causes suffering to ourselves.

4.What (if anything) do you find hard about being vegan?
It is sometimes difficult to find nutritious vegan food when eating out or traveling. I find fast food restaurants and airport cafes to be especially challenging.

5. Do you find that you feel better or worse since going vegan?
I feel better, both in terms of my physical health and my conscience. I am able to sustain a higher level of activity without feeling depleted, and my conscience is clearer, since I know that I am not contributing to the slaughter of innocent animals.

6.What about animal rights do you have any thoughts on that?

I am an animal rights activist because I feel that animals have just as much right to be treated with respect and allowed to live descent lives as we do. In addition to running Models with Conscience, I live a cruelty-free lifestyle, sign pro-animal petitions, write letters of protest in cases of animal abuse, etc. My form of activism is a gentle one, based on my spiritual belief that we are all connected. I avoid harming animals because I view doing so as ultimately harming myself. Likewise, harming people would have the same effect.

So, I try to have compassion, not only for the animals being abused, but also for the people inflicting the abuse. While the impulse to fight violence with violence is understandable, in the long run, following that impulse would be counterproductive. I believe it was Gandhi who said "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". If I wish to see more compassion and peace in the world, I must exemplify these qualities as I work steadily toward my goal.

7. How far do you go? Do you wear leather?Visit circuses? Etc?
I always try to consider the effects my actions have on animals. Just as I do not want to subsidize factory farming, neither do I want to subsidize other industries that profit from animal exploitation. So, I avoid leather, silk, and wool apparel, animal-tested products, and do not visit circuses, zoos, rodeos, etc.

8.What about family and friends are they understanding of this lifestyle?
Yes, they are all very supportive. My parents raised me in an atmosphere of respect for animals, my husband inspired me to go vegan, and my close friends all support my decision to live a cruelty-free lifestyle. I am very grateful for this.

9.What are some dumb things you hear from non-vegetarians?
Most people are fairly receptive. Sometimes they make comments such as, "How can you look so healthy if you're vegan"?. Rather than, dumb, I would call these comments, uninformed.

10.Tell the readers about the organization you started Models with Conscience.

Models with Conscience is an international group of models dedicated to promoting animal-friendly products. We are introducing a revolutionary paradigm in modeling - one centering not on greed and ego, but rather, on compassion and heart. Our membership currently includes approximately twenty active members (both women and men) of various ages, sizes, experience levels, nationalities, looks, etc.

The Models with Conscience philosophy is summarized in our motto, . radiantly representing cruelty-free products.. It embodies the four primary ways in which Models with Conscience strives to contribute to the world: by serving models, consumers, animals, and companies. The word, "radiantly," indicates how we serve models by giving them the opportunity to promote products they can truly feel good about, thereby helping them to be more fully radiant and to add meaning to their careers. The word, " representing," relates to our serving consumers by presenting an expanded concept of beauty (we accept members of various ages, sizes and looks), offering information and tools to help consumers choose products they can use with a clear conscience, and demonstrating that we humans can thrive while allowing our fellow beings to thrive as well.

The word, "cruelty-free", indicates that we strive to assist animals by encouraging people to use products which do not involve the needless suffering or death of innocent animals, and by donating a portion of our profits to animal-friendly charities. Finally, the word, "products", refers to the way in which we intend to help cruelty-free companies prosper by offering them the opportunity to have models who share their humane ethic, and who possess the rare combination of radiance and compassion associated with their products, bringing positive attention and, hopefully, increased sales to their company.

Anyone interested in learning more about Models with Conscience is welcome to visit our website at

11. You have a new book in the process called Beauty Without the Beast. Tell the readers a little about the book and when it's due out.

"Beauty Without the Beasts:" How to Look and Feel Great and Be Cruelty Free is essentially an introduction to humane living, offering consumers information and tools to choose animal-friendly skin care products, apparel, foods, entertainment, and more.

My intention for "Beauty Without the Beasts" was to present animal issues in a way that was accessible to a wide range of readers who were being introduced to these issues for the first time, and to share with them how they can help animals through their everyday consumer and lifestyle choices. I strived to appeal to the readers eye with photos of models enjoying the cruelty-free lifestyle, to inform the readers mind with basic facts on animal issues presented in easy-to-understand language, to touch to the readers heart with essays by select Models with Conscience members and personal anecdotes from my own life, and to uplift the readers spirit with inspiring quotes from some of historys great minds, and animal-related stories from some of the worlds great spiritual traditions.

"Beauty Without the Beasts" will be published by Lantern Books at the end of June, 2001, and will be available via the Models with Conscience website,

12.So you are a presenter for The Genesis Awards. Tell us a little more about that.
The Genesis Awards is an annual event produced by The Ark Trust, Inc., honoring outstanding individuals in the major media for raising awareness of animal issues. The Awards are held in Beverly Hills, California and televised on the cable TV network, Animal Planet. For the past three years, I have served as the Awards Plaque Presenter, handing awards to the recipients and escorting them off-stage. I am happy to say that I will serve in this capacity again for next year's Awards. It is truly inspiring to see the various ways in which such celebrities are using their influence to help the animals.

13.Do you know any other famous vegetarians/vegans?
I know of many, but do not know them personally.

14.What are some of your favorite things to eat?
When eating out, I have fun trying various ethnic foods, such as Turkish, Indian, Thai, etc. At home, some of my favorites are Smart Dogs!, by Lightlife Foods, Inc., and Flame Grilled Hamburger Style Gardenburgers, by Gardenburger, Inc.

15.What advice would you like to give to young men and women who are considering going vegetarian?
Eat what feels right to you. If you choose a vegetarian or vegan diet, I would suggest that you eat a wide variety of foods, including as many unrefined, nutrient-rich foods as possible, and consider taking a vegetarian multi-vitamin/multi-mineral to insure that you get all of the necessary nutrients.

16.Tell the girls and women out there a few cruelty free makeup brands that they can use to be both Beautiful and Humane.
Some of the most famous cruelty-free brands are: Almay, Aveda, The Body Shop, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Mary Kay, and Revlon. A complete list of well over 500 cruelty-free companies is available in my book, "Beauty Without the Beasts".

17.Have any last thoughts or words of wisdom?
Follow your conscience and shine!