Billie Eilish is PETA’s Person of the Year: Here’s Why
Billie Eilish is consistently changing what it means to be an icon: From her music career to a breakthrough fashion statement, the 19-year-old Grammy Award winner defies the mainstream. For inspiring the world to eat more plant-based and inspiring the fashion industry to abandon fur, PETA just announced that Eilish will be awarded the 2021 Person of the Year Award. Beyond her career, Eilish is an extremely vocal activist working to promote veganism, stop animal cruelty, and replace harmful food systems with more sustainable and environmentally friendly ones.
“Billie Eilish is making sure that the party’s over for meaty, milky meals as well as for leather, fur, and silk,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in an official statement. “PETA is happier than ever to celebrate her for seizing every opportunity to point out that vegan fashion and foods are kinder to the animals and the planet we share with them.”
Eilish will become the youngest person to be granted the highly regarded PETA honor. Previous winners include Joaquin Phoenix, Pope Francis, Oprah Winfrey, Tabitha Brown, and more. Eilish received the award following her year of success, working with the MET Gala to provide its first plant-based dinner, pushing innovative animal-free fashion products, and much more.
The superstar aims to inspire her fans and people worldwide to consider the environmental, health, and ethical issues that encouraged her to go vegan. Eilish is a vocal activist who promotes veganism to assist the world against the worsening climate crisis and to boost personal health for communities everywhere. She even wore designer Oscar de la Renta to this year's Met Gala on one stipulation: That the luxury fashion house ceased all fur production.
“I find it shocking that wearing fur isn’t completely outlawed at this point in 2021,” Eilish said. “I am so beyond thrilled that … the Oscar de la Renta team heard me on this issue and have made a change that not only makes an impact for the greater good for animals but also for our planet and environment, too.”
The singer-songwriter worked hard to keep plant-based living in the spotlight, using her platform at any chance that she could. Here is a quick list of her top vegan moments that helped her achieve the Person of the Year award.
The Met Gala
Eilish served as a co-chair for this year’s MET Gala and brought her own plant-based twist to the event. The star helped organize the first completely plant-based menu for the event, hiring an impressive list of young chefs led by Marcus Samuelsson to curate an exciting vegan meal. Eilish and her co-chairs aimed to present a menu that reflected not only the New York food scene but also the changing dietary habits worldwide.
Beyond the menu, Eilish appeared at the event in an Oscar de la Renta dress after convincing the fashion house to ban fur from its products. Eilish’s ultimatum was met and the fashion giant dropped fur completely. As the fashion industry rapidly leaves fur behind, the move signified a turning point for the entire fashion industry.
“With all eyes on Billie Eilish at her first Met Gala, she turned the spotlight onto the plight of animals killed for food and fashion,” Newkirk said. “PETA is happier than ever to celebrate her for pushing the fashion industry toward its sustainable vegan future.”
Support + Feed
Alongside her mother Maggie Baird, Eilish helps tackle food insecurity through plant-based eating through Support + Feed – Baird’s charitable organization dedicated to fixing food insecurity onset by the COVID-19 pandemic. The mother-daughter duo works to provide vegan meals to those facing food insecurity or nutritional deficits.
Earlier this year, the non-profit organization teamed up with Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara to provide meals to My Friend’s Place. The meal helped feed LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. The collective organization reaches communities in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles with plans to continue its expansion.
“It’s incredible to believe that what we started as a COVID crisis response to help people experiencing food insecurity by purchasing meals from small plant-based restaurants, has grown to be a real movement,” Baird said.
They’re Trying to Kill US
Eilish’s work fighting food insecurity extends beyond her mother’s non-profit organization. The celebrity, alongside NBA Star Chris Paul, joined the documentary They’re Trying to Kill Us earlier this year. The documentary – directed by Cowspiracy creators Keegan Kuhn and John Lewis – highlights how Black communities across the United States suffered more from the pandemic. The film explores the unjust connections between racism, disease, poverty, nutrition, food deserts, the food industry, and diet.
“I want people to see this film,” Eilish said. “It is so important to help all of us understand the depth of the issue, and that we must all take action to change the food system.”
Eilish helped narrate and promote the film to broadcast the institutional problems that stem from diet and food accessibility. The documentary underlines how nutritional accessibility is responsible for higher levels of deadly diseases and nutritional deficits in discriminated communities.
Vegan Products: Nike, Chocolate, and Perfume
Eilish's plant-based activism is accompanied by her own ventures: Attempting to sway the market from the inside, debuting several plant-based products over the last year. From fashion to confections, Eilish is developing plant-based alternatives to disrupt the market standards.
Eilish recently released vegan variations of Nike’s signature Air Jordan, featuring her signature slime green color. The vegan collection uses solely vegan ingredients, including an animal-free leather product. The star also debuted her first vegan fragrance called Eilish. The vegan fragrance enters a rapidly growing cruelty-free cosmetics industry.
The celebrity also just released a new chocolate bar titled after her Happier Than Ever album. The new chocolate bar launched on December 1, containing 100 percent organic certified, vegan, and kosher ingredients, wrapped in a compostable package. The star is rapidly expanding her own vegan empire, providing groundbreaking products to plant-based consumers nationwide and paving the way for a plant-based and sustainable future.