Orange County Student Is a Finalist in PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door Contest

Going Vegan and Protecting Animals Is a Family Affair for English Major and Her Sister

For Immediate Release:
April 22, 2013

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Huntington Beach, Calif. — PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door 2013 contest is down to the wire, and 22-year-old Marchesa Schroeder, a junior at Costa Mesa’s Orange Coast College and part-time construction worker, could take home the grand prize. That’s because Schroeder 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 male and one female) 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.”

Schroeder’s sister first inspired her to go vegetarian when they were in elementary school by informing her what—or, rather, whom—her bologna sandwich was made from. “Even though I was very young, it disturbed me enough to consciously, from that point on, ask, ‘Does this have a face?’ before I would eat anything,” explains Schroeder. And five years ago, her sister again led the charge for the two to go vegan. “I grew up in a household of people who are extremely compassionate, caring, considerate, and supportive,” says Schroeder. “When my sister and I announced we were vegan, we were met with love and support.”

When she’s not in class, Schroeder enjoys working for her parents’ construction firm, playing sports—especially basketball—and riding her motorcycle. She is also a dedicated guardian to her cat, Penelopea, whom she adores.

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.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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