Being Vegan – The Rise of Celebrity Veganism

By Paul Graham

Las Vegas Informer

“I’m Vegan and eat extremely healthy.  For me, something indulgent would be to cut two bananas into my oatmeal instead of one.  I don’t eat junk at all.”  – Billy Bob Thornton

Whether we like it or not, we live in a celebrity-obsessed society.  Whether it be those in some form of the entertainment business, professional sports, or really any other type of public figure, there seems to be an ever-growing number of people who are consumed with the every move of these celebrities.  Gossip magazines have been around for a while but now it has spiraled out of control with social media and spawned entities like TMZ and fueled a growing number of paparazzi who follow these celebrities in an almost unconceivable manner.  Entire broadcast and cable television shows and radio programs do almost little else other than discuss the lives of these public individuals and scrutinize their every move.  I don’t particularly like it and I give it very little attention.  What I think we all realize is that many of these celebrities are paid incredible amounts of money for what they do and they receive much more attention that is due them for what they do. And despite all that they do and how they are compensated for it, at the beginning and end of each day, they are human just like you and I.

I do have a personal insight into all of this having worked with professional athletes, primarily baseball players, for almost eight years.  It gave me a much deeper understanding of the personal lives of these people and the highs and lows that they encounter.  They were paid great sums of money for playing a game but they faced pressures and personal scrutiny beyond anything that any of us could relate to.  They had the same, and sometimes even greater challenges of balancing family and career that we do.  It was very difficult for many to live so much in the public eye, and this was actually long before social media came to play. It is really out of control today.  There are great rewards for those in engaged in these types of entertainment endeavors but there is also a price to pay.  You give up a lot of the personal freedoms that we enjoy and take for granted. Just because they are public figures, they should not be considered role models unless they have earned it.  Being famous does not make someone worthy of emulating.  Their lives are far from begin perfect and too many have spiraled out of control. Let us make no mistake though…they have a huge platform and the public eye and ear.  When trying to take a movement forward, this can be a great asset.

The conscious lifestyle of veganism has entered the mainstream of society and is growing in unprecedented numbers worldwide.  It has reached into every area of our culture, including the entertainment industry and the celebrities that make it what it is.  Whether we look at the movie industry, television, music or professional sports, vegan celebrities can be found in every strata.  People like Ellen DeGeneres, Woody Harrelson, Joaquin Phoenix, Alicia Silverstone, Mayim Bialik, Jared Leto, James Cameron, Mike Tyson, former President Bill Clinton and Russell Simmons are not only living the lifestyle, but have become advocates and are influencing others.  There are so many more that we can name.  Almost a week does not go by when we don’t hear of another celebrity taking this step.  Things were all abuzz in the past couple of months hearing that Jennifer Lopez had also made the move.  Many of them seem to initially do it for health reasons, and I find no fault in that.  That was the bridge for becoming vegan for me and it wasn’t until I crossed that bridge that I also began to see the ethical, environmental, and spiritual reasons for embracing this lifestyle.  Just like we were given the patience to grow and evolve on this journey, we must extend the same support, encouragement, and patience with them.

Some of these celebrities have nearly unlimited resources or at least far beyond what most people know in their own lives.  Yet with all of the options given to them for food, exercise, and nutrition…and they can have their pick of the lot of it…they still are choosing to become vegan.  We need to applaud and encourage that.  Just like us, these celebrities are not going to live perfect lives.  They are going to make mistakes, say the wrong things, and sometimes take the wrong course of action.  I will never fault them for trying and I will encourage them in any way that I can.  I will not be the “vegan police” which is a ridiculous use of energy for anyone.  If you find yourself falling into this trap and entering the world of hyper-scrutinization of someone else’s life, I would implore you to focus on your own life and make yourself the best you can be.  Be an encourager and not a critic…there are far too many of those in the world now.  I am not asking you to blindly give people a pass.  I am just asking that we extend the same compassion to people that we want everyone to extend to animals on this planet.  Our love and compassion should flow to all living creatures in helping to make this world a better place for all.  We want critical mass for veganism and we want this world to change.  Celebrities can help propel this much farther than we can and we need to help them in any way that we can do so.  Rather than fight it, let’s embrace it and use this influence to make a difference. People are people and some people just get a little more attention than others.  That is okay…let us make it work for the good.

Paul Graham

Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004.  He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer.  He has a daily vegan food which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.  He can also be reached at or

Paul‘s revised edition of Eating Vegan Vegas is now available in bound book form and can be ordered through or any independent bookseller.  The e-book version can be found at  

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