Finalists From Across the U.S. Compete to Become PETA’s ‘Sexiest Vegan’

Marketing Director, Air Force Veteran, and Librarian Among Those Battling It Out in an Attempt to Take Top Honors—and a Tropical Vacation

For Immediate Release:
April 25, 2019

Contact:
Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – PETA is preparing to crown this year’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door—and these African-American vegans have beaten out hundreds of other entrants from across the nation to advance to the final round of 20 contestants. Visitors to PETA.org can now help PETA select the two winners, who will each receive a free vacation for two to Hawaii, courtesy of Humane Travel.

  • Alpharetta, Georgia, resident Tabatha James is a marketing director at a law firm and an author who watched the documentary Vegucated a year and a half ago and immediately dropped animal-derived foods. She says, “I was mortified. I was shocked. I cried. Most importantly, I knew I could never eat or purchase animal products ever again. I literally became vegan overnight, and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made!” She currently runs a vegan snack-box company with the help of her daughter and husband, writes a vegan blog, and speaks at vegan festivals to share her tips and recipes with others. Her next project is a vegan children’s book.
  • McDonough, Georgia, resident Kesha Pressley is an Air Force veteran who, after sustaining an injury during service, started volunteering full-time in her community, helping PETA check on animals living in poor or abusive situations and transporting dogs and cats to their adoptive homes across Georgia. She recently inspired the staff of a local organization in which veterans help at-risk members of society make the transition into the workforce to take a 30-day vegan challenge.
  • Bowie, Maryland, resident Kenny Nero went vegan 10 years ago after having been vegetarian since birth. He’s a librarian at a Washington, D.C., high school where he orders books on healthy and affordable vegan eating for his students. An aspiring personal trainer and a social justice advocate, he shares vegan nutrition tips online and speaks up about the positive impact of vegan living on human health and the lives of animals. “The meat industry is a system of violence, from the abuses inflicted on animals to the damage that eating meat does to our health, especially in communities of color,” he says. “Going vegan is one way that we can reject systemic violence and strive for justice.”

“For Tabatha, Kesha, and Kenny, vegan eating is an essential part of social justice—benefiting the Earth, animals, and human health,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “All the finalists in PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door contest prove that there’s nothing sexier than making the world a kinder place.”

Voting to help PETA determine which finalists it should select as the winners ends at 12 noon EDT on May 13. The winners—who will be selected based on several factors, including vote count—will be announced on May 20. This is the first year that the contest is gender neutral. See the full contest details here.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind