Rochester Educator Is Crowned PETA’s ‘Sexiest Vegan Over 50’

Heart Attack Survivor Nabs 10-Day Luxury Cruise—and a Platform to Help Even More Animals

For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Rochester, N.Y. – He’s a dynamic teacher and a swift long-distance runner—and today, Rochester resident Doug Schmidt has also been named the male winner of PETA Prime’s 2017 Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest. He beat out four other finalists and dozens of entrants from across the country to win a 10-day luxury Caribbean cruise, courtesy of Holistic Holiday at Sea.

At 49 years old, Schmidt suffered a debilitating heart attack. Now nearly a decade later, he has shed 60 pounds, is off all heart medications, and is training for a marathon. His not-so-secret weapon? Vegan eating. As a teacher and the health and wellness coordinator for his school district, he uses his story to inspire others to make kinder, healthier choices in their daily lives. “We need to show compassion and sincere love for all species, human or animal,” he says. “I think that with this title comes expectations to be the voice for other people my age who strive to live better on this Earth.”

“Doug Schmidt is dedicated to spreading the word that vegan eating is a boon for animals, our health, and the environment,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is recognizing him for setting a compassionate example for others and for being living proof that vegan foods can help keep us active, healthy, and sexy at any age.”

The female winner of this year’s contest is California-based dancer Erin Riley-Carrasco. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—selected the winners based on several factors, including vote count.

For more information and to view Schmidt’s bio, please visit or click here.

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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