Continuing with our Vegetarian Awareness Month Celebrity Interview Series, I am pleased to introduce you to Persia White. What can I say about Persia? This chick is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met– EVER! Truly a vegan’s vegan, Persia is actively involved with PETA, HSUS, Sea Sheppard Conservation, Global Green, Farm Sanctuary…and that’s just the short list.
I had the chance to chat with Persia – who’s currently on the hit show, Girlfriends — this weekend while in Washington D.C checking out my mom’s solar panels and attending Farm Sanctuary’s Party for the Pigs. As you must know by now, we here at Ecorazzi absolutely adore the Farm Sanctuary and are always pleased to cover the wonderful work they do. Keep rockin’ it strong, you guys!
Now I must warn you, this “interview” is more of a conversation, because honestly it was almost impossible for me to not interrupt Persia every two seconds with, “No way,” or “ME TOO!” or “YOU’RE SO FRIGIN AWESOME!!” In fact, she was so wonderful that I gave her my very, very favorite vegan pin that I sport at all the lovely events I get to attend! Wear it proud, Persia. Wear it proud!
So now, for your reading enjoyment, I give you the very wonderful Persia White. Enjoy!
Persia I am constantly impressed by the work you do. You’re involved with so many great organizations and really practice what you preach. Tell me about how you got started with animal rights work?
I’ve always been an animal-lover and when I was about twelve I became a vegetarian. My mom subscribed to PETA’s magazine and I just started looking at the level of what it was. And I just thought it was unkind, so I made my personal choice — which at that point had nothing to do with the global scale of the situation. And so I know it was really early, but I made up my mind then to become an entertainer primarily because I thought I could help. I noticed that all my friends respected entertainers and knew more entertainers names than politicians names, so that was my turning point from possibly doing politics to entertainment — plus I’m goofy and I like to talk a lot and I don’t keep my mouth shut very well . So that was one of the reasons I went into this field. And then the more I kept going career-wise, the more I’ve been able to use that vehicle — that megaphone. And that was exciting – the only exciting part, personally, about being a celebrity. I don’t think there’s anything good about it, except the ability to make positive change.
You said you became a vegetarian when you were 12. Are you a vegan now?
Yes. I’ve been vegan for about 8 years.
Hey!! It’s 7 ½ for me.
REALLY? Well actually I guess it’s been about 7 ½ for me too. It’s been eight from when I started trying and was still cheating and eating dairy every now and then. Yeah, but like 7 ½ totally vegan.
And it’s almost your birthday! (Persia’s birthday is on October 25th.)
Yes, and I’ll be in a board meeting for HSUS all day. Isn’t that hilarious? I told a couple of people that I was flying to DC for this like nine or ten hour meeting and they were like ‘What? It’s your birthday.’ But what am I going to do? I’d just sit at home and feel bad on my birthday knowing that I could be out doing something really good.
That’s amazing! I mean I’m not even trying to suck up here. That’s real dedication.
Yeah, but you’re the same way. You get it. It just feels good. Have you been to the actual Sanctuary?
You have to go. I hosted one of their Thanksgiving Feeding of the Turkeys. The turkeys get to eat and little kids are running around with pumpkins feeding these animals — it’s just so beautiful. Of course I started crying. It’s just so new to watch farm animals in that environment.
Let’s talk about Farm Sanctuary. Tell me about when you got involved?
I watched a video called Peaceful Kingdom. Have you seen it?
No I haven’t. I’m watching Earthlings right now. (I didn’t know at this point that Persia is the co-producer of Earthlings). I’m actually throwing a World Vegan Day screening of it. You know that World Vegan Day is November 1st, right?
No. I’ve heard about it though.
Oh, whoa! You got to spread it to all your friends. October 1st is World Vegetarian Day which kicks off Vegetarian Awareness month and World Vegan Day closes the holiday on November 1st.
That’s so exciting! It’s my birthday month! I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna have a little party.
(At this point Persia and I start talking really fast about how excited we are that veganism is becoming mainstream and who we love in the movement, and somehow we end up on Proposition 2…and then I remember that I’m doing an interview.)
OK, an official question. Tell me about your thoughts on Prop 2.
Yes, Yes, Yes for Prop 2 for every reason. It’s good for the animals, the planet, your heart, the environment – it’s so important. It’s sets a precedent that’s brand new, which is just that we’re gonna change a system that been in place for a long time, that’s so suppressive and so hidden, just because we think it’s wrong…and that’s beautiful! That’s like a shift in human consciousness. And everyone can be a part of it.
Now I know you were at the Prop 2 rally. You must have seen Ellen there. How do you feel about Ellen going vegan?
I’m so excited. She was there up on stage talking and I was so proud. You know what’s hilarious? My mom was raised very catholic and she called me and said, “ Now I’m pro-gay marriage because Ellen’s so wonderful. I just want to see Ellen and Portia be happy.” Ellen got her to actually open her mind just by being wonderful.
(Once again we go off subject and talk about tattoos, how much we love Portland and blah, blah, blah! All of a sudden, Persia’s sister-in-law, brother-in-law and 12-year-old nephew show up to say hello. Later in the evening Persia adopted one of the 69 pigs that Farm Sanctuary rescued for her nephew – who’s also a vegan, by the way.)
OK, I have one last question for you. This is a question I ask to almost every single vegetarian celebrity I interview. If you could go back in time and meet one influential vegetarian, who would it be?
I think it would be Rembrandt. I really feel like he was seeing into the future, and talk about somebody who’s completely alone. In the beginning of me feeling these feelings and becoming aware andthe growing situation with the lack of compassion — you know when you finally see it — it’s like waking up from the Matrix. And you see the world and it’s not as pretty at first. It’s all kind of grim. I always wonder how alone he felt, because we’re not alone. What’s exciting about now is that we’re not alone. There’s a shift in consciousness. More and more people are waking up to different levels of it – maybe not all the way — but different levels. But to be that far back in history and discover and be so alone, I would just let him know that the future understands.
A million thanks to Persia for all she does. She will be back on the site soon. I promise you that!