Top 10 Famous Vegans, 2012 Edition
Nearly one year has gone by since our first list of Top 10 Famous Vegans caused an outright internet vegan-type revolution. Well, not really. But plenty of readers didn't shy away from outrightly hating or loving the list, so we thought we'd catalog a few more for 2012. The obligatory public figures, including actors, musicians and even a political speechwriter whose Wikipedia "personal life" entry consists of a single sentence: "Scully is a vegan." Turn the page.
10. Usher (Age 33):
News of Usher's veganism emerged about a month ago, but it makes sense for someone with idolized ab muscles and stealth dance moves to embrace a stricter, healthier diet. Plus, he's got to stay in tip-top shape while promoting his new No. 1 album "Looking 4 Myself."
The singer is also reportedly trying to get the Biebs on a vegan plan.
9. Rosie O'Donnell (Age 50):
Rosie suffered a major heart attack and doctors found one of her major arteries to have a 99 percent blockage. Woah. Lesson learned? Sounds like it. O'Donnell drew inspiration from the documentary Forks Over Knives and the man behind the documentary, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn helped turn the former talk show host onto a plant-based diet. Esselstyn is the same doc who helped President Clinton on the veganism track. Not too long after starting on the diet, O'Donnell dropped at least 10 pounds.
8. Alec Baldwin (Age 54):
Along with losing more than 30 pounds on a vegan diet, the vegan lifestyle also brought the actor love. (Insert obligatory "Awww" here.) Not too long ago, Baldwin was down in the dumps about his personal life, and the vegan diet didn't seem to be doing much for him. In a TV interview he said, "I did lay in my bed and say, 'This is it. I'm gonna be alone for the rest of my life, I'm gonna die alone in this apartment in this bed, I'll have my friends, I'll have Twitter, I'll have Words with Friends, I'll have my New Yorker subscription." But after walking into NYC's Pure Food and Wine, a vegan restaurant, he met his new fiancé, and the rest is celebrity vegan history. No word on whether their gluten-free, vegan wedding cake will be any good ...
7. Pamela Anderson (Age 45):
The recently booted contestant on Dancing with the Stars: All Stars is a longtime advocate for animal rights, and a racy 2010 PETA ad (pictured above) certainly helped draw attention to the issue. Montreal officials went as far as banning the ad from appearing in the city. Millions of Milkshakes boasts a vegan milkshake that Anderson helped debut. She's also helped feed cute and cuddly turkeys some tasty vegan pie when Thanksgiving rolled around ... gotta love a lady willing to frolic with poultry.
6. Russell Brand (Age 37):
The same documentary that helped Rosie O'Donnell hop on the wagon also got this comedian to tighten his vegetarian belt. He was already a non-meat-eater in Nov. 2011 when he watched declaring it on Twitter.
5. Lea Michele (Age 26):
This Broadway and television starlet recently went from vegetarian to vegan. She also managed to drastically slim down along the way -- something she attributes to "jaw surgery." And she's still managed to piss activists off by signing a contract to become a face for L'Oreal, a beauty company that tests products on animals. She told an interviewer: "I think I have a type of look that is very relatable, that's different and unique that girls can look at and say 'I feel like I look like her'." Maybe she's going for a look that says, "I eat like a vegan but I don't wear makeup like a vegan." You go, girl.
(Note: Upon further inspection, Lea Michele is a flip-flopper. In August she told In Style Magazine that she goes back and forth between veganism and vegetarianism. What a flirt.)
4. Carrie Underwood (Age 29):
Singing sweetheart Carrie Underwood went vegetarian a while ago for the health benefits started down the vegan path when one of her friends seemed to be glowing on a vegan diet. So now she's "95 percent vegan" ... that's enough, right? She also said she does her best to know where her food comes from and that it hasn't been processed in less-than-humane conditions, saying, "My veganism is based on a concern about where my food is coming from. In my perfect world, I'd have webcams wherever food is processed so I'd know how clean it is."
3. Olivia Wilde (Age 28):
With help from Alicia Silverstone (who made our first Top 10 list), Olivia Wilde transitioned from vegetarian to vegan while filming a movie in Louisiana in 2008. She had been a vegetarian since the wee age of 12, and in 2010 she earned the title of "Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity" -- a prestigious PETA award. She's been outspoken against animal cruelty on consumption and attributes veganism to helping her look good. So, if we give up bacon, we'll all look as good as Olivia Wilde. Right?
2. Paul McCartney (Age 70):
It's not clear whether Sir Paul has gone full vegan or has stuck to vegetarianism. For this list's sake, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt on being vegan since some readers missed having a dose of this Beatle on the first Top 10 list. He's often been politically outspoken on animal rights and in 2009 he told LA Weekly, "The most important thing people could do for the future of the planet would be to eat vegetarian. Cattle rearing is one of the most destructive human activities on Earth, and at this point, it's taking a bigger toll on the planet than airplanes and cars." He's yet to come out as completely vegan, but it's Paul McCartney, so whatever. And the terribly depressing video above might get you to question your carnivorous ways.
1. Matthew Scully, aka Paul Ryan's Speechwriter (Age 53):
Think what you will of Rep. Paul Ryan's performance in the recent Vice Presidential debate, but behind every practiced politician there's bound to be a speechwriter feeding him some zingers here and there. Enter Matthew Scully, a vegan author who was hired in August to help the Ryan camp. He's also written speeches for President George W. Bush and Sarah Palin.
But who'd have guessed that Scully was also the man behind Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and The Call to Mercy? Scully vehemently advocates against animal cruelty and uses religion to back him up in his book. Wonder if Ryan will ever share those beliefs too. He and his running mate have been known to change their minds without acknowledging it.
More fun in food:
Get the Squid Ink'd Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly food newsletter, which features top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips and a link to our print review.