I recently got the chance to have a chat with the awesome Valentina from My Vegan Valentine and I am so excited to share this interview with you all. Valentina is an animal rights activist, volunteers at her local animal shelter, and promotes a healthy and kind vegan lifestyle on her blog. What’s absolutely insane is that she does all of this, and she’s still in school! How freaking incredible is that? Watch out world, I predict big things from this girl!
Q: How did your vegan journey start? What were your main inspirations and influences?
A: I have always loved nonhuman animals. I’ve never met an animal I didn’t like – I just have a special connection with them. That’s why when I heard about how animals were treated to produce meat and other products I couldn’t stand to be part of that culture. All animals have the right to live without being exploited, and us cramming them into giant factory farms, denying them attention and love, and slaughtering them for food is a violation of that right.
Q: Are any your friends and family vegan too?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole ton of vegan friends and family. That’s why I was so ecstatic when I began diving into the world of vegan blogging! Through the internet, I am able to connect with vegans around the globe and share my experiences with them.
Q: What would your top tips be for someone in school who wants to go vegan?
Explore your options! A lot of people think that all vegans eat are salads and tofu all day, every day. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are vegan versions of most of your favorite foods, including pizza, jerky, and ice cream. Really expand your horizons beyond tofu. Also, remember to never let peer pressure affect you. If your friends are giving you a hard time, think of it as an opportunity to educate them about the horrors of the animal product industry.
Q: You have an awesome blog where you share a variety of food & animal posts. It’s amazing to see someone so young speaking out for animal rights in such an insightful way. Tell us about your blogging journey and the inspiration behind My Vegan Valentine.
First, thank you so much for your kind words! Well, around the same time I decided to adopt a cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle, I started researching it on sites like PETA2 and the Humane Society. I soon became passionate about a plethora of other animal-rights-related causes. My heart swelled with compassion for these underprivileged animals, and I knew I just had to get the word out. I started writing about animal rights and veganism for my school newspaper, making posters for my local library, and educating my friends and family. Soon, I wanted to expand my audience base and got into blogging. This way, I can educate people all over the world. For example, just today my blog got five views all the way from Hong Kong! My inspiration behind My Vegan Valentine is that no living being is “better” than another, and that nonhuman animals should have rights too. I’m so grateful to be on this blogging journey, and so grateful for everyone who reads my message and takes it to heart. 🙂
Q: On your blog you talk about volunteering for an animal shelter; that’s such an incredible thing to do, tell us more about that.
A: The first animal rights cause I became passionate about was pet overpopulation and animal rescues. It began when I adopted my own dog, Tika, from an animal shelter. As soon as I locked eyes on the poor animals at the shelter, I wanted to take them all home with me. I suggested this to my parents, who for some reason weren’t fans of the idea. 😉 The next best thing, in my opinion, was to volunteer at the shelter. I had this idea in my head of Super Volunteering Valentina who would find perfect homes for all of those animals. I waited for years to implement this plan, and this year I am finally old enough! I’ve finished my first training, which was incredible, and I am enjoying working for these deserving animals. As soon as possible, I will start documenting my journey at the animal shelter on my blog, so be sure to stay tuned. I plan to get my first post on this subject out on November 1st or 2nd.
Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
A: My signature Starbucks drink, of course! Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with soy, no whip cream, no caffeine. Perfect!
Q: What is your favourite cruelty-free beauty/hair product?
A: I have a minor obsession – make that major obsession – with beauty products by Pacifica. I love their makeup and skin care because not only is it super vibrant and beautiful, it is really accessible. You can find their products at most common grocery store beauty aisles. My favorite product of theirs is the Stellar Gaze Length and Strength Mineral Mascara. It makes your lashes super-duper-long and doesn’t smudge easily.
Q: Going vegan has been an incredibly healthy transition for me, what positive effects has adopting the vegan lifestyle had on you?
A: Most of the positive effects of eating vegan, for me, are mental. When I was just on the verge of going vegan, I would have mini panic attacks when someone served me chicken. When I eat a vegan meal, my conscience is 100% clear. :-).
Q: Describe a day in the life of Valentina.
A: As a dancer, my daily routine is always changing. My rehearsal schedule is very erratic! Generally, I am at school or at a rehearsal until maybe 3:30 PM. If I am performing that day, I won’t be finished until almost 10:30! After that, I take walks with Tika, write for my school newspaper (I’m the editor), read, draw, volunteer, and create flyers, posters or displays about animal rights to place around town.
Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?
A: When it comes to animal rights, Ingrid Newkirk really sums it up in this lovely quote: “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”
A huge thank you to Valentina for sharing her vegan story with us. Be sure to check out her awesome blog here.