I’ll admit it—I’ve been known to get sucked into the occasional America’s Next Top Model marathon. High drama and high fashion in one show? I’ll take it! Which is why I was so excited when former ANTM contestant Lexie Tomchek contacted peta2 about her passion for animal rights. Check out our interview with Lexie to find out how peta2 influenced her decision to go vegetarian and her take on fur in the fashion world.
1. How long have you been vegetarian? What prompted you to make the switch to a vegetarian diet?
Lexie Tomchek: I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 11 years old, so 8 years now. I used to be such a carnivore as a kid, but all it took was someone posting a link to peta2′s website back in the days of MySpace to get me to change my ways. I remember I spent hours searching through the site reading articles and watching videos. I guess I just never realized where meat REALLY came from until then. I loved pigs, I loved bacon… but I loved pigs more. I’ve been veg ever since.
2. What sort of positive changes have you noticed in yourself—physically or mentally—since becoming vegetarian?
Since becoming veg I definitely have more energy. Cutting meat out of my diet definitely benefited me as an athlete in high school as well. I just feel healthier! I also don’t have to worry about my weight nearly as much as a vegetarian model. Being vegetarian or vegan is the best diet there is.
3. As a model I’m sure you’re very conscious about eating healthy and staying fit. What are some of your fave vegan snacks?
Brown rice or quinoa. I eat pounds of it in a week haha. Quinoa, my favorite veggies and some Borsari salt mmmm…
4. Have you ever been asked to wear fur at a photo shoot or on the runway?
YES! It’s the worst. Few things disgust me more than fur as fashion. There was fur at a runway show on ANTM. It was either speak up and potentially get eliminated or go against what I stand for. I refused to wear it. I’ve also literally had to choose to go topless at photo shoots instead of wearing fur-trimmed sweaters/coats/whatever. I would not be caught dead in fur.
5. In addition to factory farming and the fur industry, are there any other animal rights issues that you feel passionately about?
Absolutely. Every animal I’ve had has been rescued or adopted and I strongly believe that everyone should adopt their pets from a shelter or rescue. I rescued my dog, Olive, hours before she was set to be euthanized and she’s the greatest dog I’ve had.
I also have been known to picket outside of the circus. The way they abuse animals and confine them is horrendous and it truly sickens me.
6. What advice can you give fans who would like to be more involved in helping animals?
Well my first piece of advice would be to become a vegetarian or vegan. That alone saves hundreds of animals a year and benefits the environment (bonus!). I started helping animals when I was in elementary school by volunteering at the local animal shelter. Volunteering was not only helpful to them, but it was fun for me (I got to play with cats all day… awesome!).
Big thanks to Lexie for taking the time to talk to peta2 and for all she does for animals. If you’re looking for fun, easy ways to help animals, check out the peta2 Street Team!