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Puerto Rico Native Is a Finalist in PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door Contest

Model, Photographer, and Top-Flight Baker Radiates Beauty and Kindness

For Immediate Release:
April 29, 2013

Kaitlynn Kelly 202-483-7382

San Juan, Puerto Rico — PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door 2013 contest is down to the wire, and Chicago-area resident Yerika Sojo, who was born in San Juan and grew up in the San Juan–area municipalities of Bayamón and Guaynabo, could take home the grand prize. That’s because she has beaten out hundreds of other entrants from across the U.S. to become one of 10 female contestants to advance to the final round. Two lucky winners (one female and one male) will each receive a free vacation for two to Maui, Hawaii, courtesy of Although the annual contest dates back to 2004, this is the first year that participants must be vegan.

“Going vegan can help make you feel better on the inside, look better on the outside, and save more than 100 animals a year from the violence of factory farms, slaughterhouses, and fishing nets,” says PETA Associate Director of Campaigns Lindsay Rajt. “On average, vegans are fitter and trimmer than meat-eaters are, and that makes them sexier, too.”

Sojo moved to Chicago when she was 15 and has lived in suburban Bolingbrook for the past three years. She tries to visit Puerto Rico every year because her mother and grandmother still live there. This high-energy woman is now a freelance model, a photographer, a dental assistant, a substance-abuse counselor, and a professional baker, whose Azucar Vegan Bakery is known for its creative line of vegan cupcakes in a variety of Latin tropical flavors. Her favorite dishes include “vegan versions of any Puerto Rican food,” and she’ll do whatever it takes to draw attention to the plight of animals, including going naked in a risqué PETA protest. Her dedication to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle influences nearly everyone around her. In fact, after learning from Sojo how animals are abused on factory farms, her friend went vegan on the spot. Says Sojo, “To witness that and to be the spark that ignited that fire of compassion is the best feeling!”

Voting for the finalists to help PETA determine the winners ends at 12 noon EDT on May 3. PETA will select winners based on several factors, including vote count. See full contest details here. Winners will be notified and announced by May 9.

For more information and to cast your vote, please click here.