One major highlight of the trip was getting a chance to sit down with vegan superstar Ginnifer Goodwin.
As many of you might remember, just a few months back we gave Ginnifer a spot on our Top 5 Vegan Celebrities of 2009 list…and man does she deserve it. Brimming with passion and full of lively energy, Ginnifer is truly a warrior for the cause.
Check out the interview below and see why we’re proud to call her one of our favs!
Ecorazzi: I know that you’re a new vegan. I’d love to hear about what inspired you to choose this lifestyle.
Ginnifer Goodwin: Well the seed was planted in 2007 when my beloved, healthy dog Scout was tragically killed by my vet. This was, of course, deemed an accident even though I had plenty of proof that malpractice had occurred. So I hired the most esteemed lawyer specializing in animal rights that I could find. We really just hoped that by making the veterinarian take responsibility we could establish some sort of standards so that nothing like this ever happened again.
But it’s funny, that experience really wasn’t what caused me to make the connection. It was something much smaller.
A year later I was pouring milk in my coffee and all of a sudden I actually took in what it was I was drinking and I was truly disgusted. Then I started to think about all the things I ate, wore and used in my life that I had NEVER educated myself about.
I always had this romantic idea that animals were raised like how they were on my grandmother’s farm growing up. Basically I was just really, really uneducated and very naive about how animals are treated in our society. So I decided it was time that I should learn about what I was contributing to. If I didn’t need those foods to be healthy than I didn’t see why I should be taking lives away.
I started studying nutrition and found out that we really don’t need animal products to be healthy and that it’s extremely easy to find alternatives. In talking with friends and family I’ve noticed that what most people believe about nutrition comes from some kind of social conditioning and not from actually having read the research.
And while I was reading about healthy foods, I learned about factory farming and just knew right then that there would never be a day when I would support any of those industries again.
E: You mentioned talking to your friends and family about veganism, which oddly enough was the topic of my next question. How have people reacted to your new lifestyle?
GG: I’ve gotten mixed responses. First let me say that two of my four parents have actually gone vegan, which I think is shocking and out of character for traditional southern parents. But they saw the impact it had on my life and it just sort of happened.
For the most part I only talk about veganism when I’m invited to because I believe that it’s such a strong personal choice. I feel like it’s more effective to introduce people to this lifestyle when they can set the pace about what they want to learn. So I wait until people ask me questions. I do find that there are people who, when I say I’m vegan, automatically assume that I think I’m superior or more compassionate than they are. And I find an immediate judgment from them. With those people I’ve noticed that just by saying I’m vegan can lead to a knee-jerk justification on their part. Sometimes I’ve had a reaction like, “ Oh you don’t eat animal products? You know that broccoli screams, right?”
For the most part the biggest thing people say is, “ Oh my God! That would be so hard! How do you do it?” That reaction is really what propelled me into trying to learn more about activism and how to become a better activist. Because I feel like it’s sort of the biggest myth about this lifestyle. I’ve only found the opposite. It really is truly one of the easiest things I’ve ever done, especially in 2009 when we have so many options out there. I guess I found that eliminating all the cruelty in my life was not only easy, but also very practical and reasonable.
There are a lot of myths that this lifestyle is a struggle, but it’s actually very cool and I think we just need a few people out there going, “Yeah, this is really cool and it’s really easy.” That’s what motivated me into action.
E: I know you’ve mentioned before about your love of Riblets. Is there another vegan product out there that you can’t get enough of?
GG: Have you tried the Daiya cheese?
E: Umm…it’s AMAZING!
GG: I’m obsessed! I got some recently and ate it on everything. Like I’m probably eating dangerous quantities of it. You should probably never eat one thing to this extend! Oh, and I have to say that I’m also very excited about Gardein.
[Editor note: They served Gardein at the TAFA Conference and it was, for lack of a better word, incredible!]
E: Now I always end with the same question for all the famous vegetarians I interview. If you had the chance to meet one person who you’ve found specifically instrumental in the vegetarian community – dead or alive, past or present – who would it be and why?
GG: I have to say that the person who’s inspired me the most is the person who’s responsible for me aligning myself so closely with the Humane Society. I could listen to and read all day the words of Wayne Pacelle. Anyone who listens to Wayne, no matter where they stand on the issues, has no choice but to respect the reasonable and practical ways he wants to change the world. They’re very attainable. He’s always clear and his tactics are never punishing. I really respect that he’s not trying to use the Humane Society as a way to make the whole world live like him. He is just trying to make the world better for animals. And I find the way he goes about it to be just very classy and respectful.
A big thank you to Ginnifer Goodwin for taking time out of her busy schedule to sit down and chat with us! To learn more about the work that continues to inspire Ginnifer, visit HSUS.org! And don’t forget to tune into Big Love every week on HBO.