Billie Eilish is PETA’s Person of the Year: Here’s Why

|Updated Dec 7, 2021
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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.

Sandra Oh and 20 Others It Might Surprise You to Learn Are Plant-Based

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1. Paul McCartney

Sir James Paul McCartney is no stranger to a meat-free life as he's been vegetarian for 45 years. He initially went vegetarian in 1975 with his first wife Linda McCartney and began his advocacy for animal rights.

Jason Bahr

2. Sia

If you find yourself constantly singing along to the song The Greatest, then you're already a Sia fan. Sia tweeted that she is "fully vegan now" back in 2014 and stays true to her word

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3. Sandra Oh

Way back at the start of Grey's Anatomy, Sandra Oh took the cast out for a plant-based lunch at Truly Vegan in Hollywood. In her effort to inspire contemporaries to eat vegan, the TV star is known to invite her friends for vegan meals that are delicious. She adopted the vegan lifestyle years ago and continues to quietly live a cruelty-free life.

4. Gisele Bündchen

Giselle revealed that when she was at the peak of her modeling career, her diet consisted of "cigarettes, wine, and mocha Frappuccinos," according to an interview in People Magazine. Now 39 and the mother of two children, Gisele eats a "mostly" plant-based diet to nourish her body and stay fueled.

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5. Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin has made a bigger commitment to plant-based eating since he was first told by doctors that he was pre-diabetic and needed to change his diet. That was decades ago. But, over the last few years, he's been vocal about the benefits not only to his health but also the impact plant-based eating has on the environment.


7. Pamela Anderson

We all remember Pamela Anderson as the curvaceous blonde in the hit series Baywatch as she played Casey Jean in the red one-piece swimsuit that brought her world-class fame. She is a life-long active animal rights advocate and teamed up with PETA to join the Animal Protection Organization.

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8. Kristen Stewart

"We shouldn't eat as much meat guys," Kristen Stewart told GQ in an interview in January. The Twilight star has made a full 180 from vampire to vegan. When she appeared on the game show "Hot Ones" she chose to skip the wings and instead compete by eating increasing spicier sauce on vegan cauliflower wings.


9. Jared Leto

This award-winning actor eats a high-protein diet consisting of only plants. Leto, who has been plant-based for 20 years, says it keeps him "shredded" in an interview. Now, 48, Leto looks half his age.


10. Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith switched up his diet from vegan to vegetarian, meaning that he doesn't eat meat but does eat dairy from time to time. In a recent article by Plant Based News, Smith admits he skipped meals and was not getting the proper nutrition when he was vegan, but this hasn't stopped him from espousing the plant-based life.

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11. Meghan Markle

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex has never admitted to being fully vegan, but sources say, she eats a plant-based diet most days during the week. She is teaching Prince Harry vegan cooking and in a Plant-Based News article, Markle explained how she hopes to raise baby Archie on a mostly vegan diet.

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12. Serena Williams

As a professional athlete, fueling the body is a key factor to Willaim's successes. In a Bon Appetite article, she explained that she adopted a plant-based diet back in 2012, she was eating a lot "healthier" for her sister, Venus, who eats a strict vegan diet for health reasons.

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13. John Mackey

The popular grocery store, Whole Foods Market sells vegan products and nonvegan products which arises black lash from ethical vegans as CEO John Mackey follows a strict vegan diet. The successful businessman grew up in Houston Texas and told Business Insider that he would traditionally eat processed foods for dinner while watching TV with his family. Now, Mackey steers clear from the processed isle and eats a clean vegan diet and feels amazing at the age of 65.

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14. Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz, singer of the popular song, I'm Yours, committed to a vegan diet to support his friend diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Mraz says he eats mostly raw food and told magazine sources his favorite vegan dish is "Chocomole, a mixture of avocados, dates, cacao, agave nectar, and coconut oil."


15. Leona Lewis

Long time vegan, Leona Lewis grew up in a vegan household and continues to eat a plant-based diet. Lewis first adopted the diet at 12 when she learned about the health risks of eating animal products but told Women's Health Magazine she occasionally eats an omelet. She also mentioned her 2:30 lunch is normally a kale salad topped with dried cranberries and she loves a veggie stir-fry for dinner.


16. Hannah Teter

Hannah Teter changed her diet after watching the documentary, Earthlings when she discovered how "horrible" factory farming is. After a strict vegetarian diet, Teter liked the way she performed as an athlete and believes that her diet helped her win gold at the 2006 games.


17. Maggie Q,

You may recognize Maggie Q as the star of the Nikita series, but in the plant-based world, she's well-known for her heroic activism. Maggie Q has followed a strict vegan diet for 19 years, making her a true veteran of the lifestyle. She made the plant-based diet transition because she felt sluggish and had low energy, she has said. The famous actress keeps in shape by eating veggies and plant-based protein and working out with a passion.

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18. Madelaine Petsch,

Winner of the first Masterchef vegan cook-off with Gordon Ramsay, Madelaine Petsch was raised vegetarian and went completely vegan at age 14. She claims that she started this diet before it was "trendy" and shot a campaign for PETA last year wearing a dress made of bok choy. Petsch says her vegan diet allows her to feel "healthier" and not "lethargic."

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19. Millie Bobbi Brown

After doing a little sleuthing on her social media platforms we think Millie Bobbi Brown qualifies as plant-based. Whether or not she is actually skipping all meat and dairy, one thing is for sure: She eats mostly salads, vegetables and grains and lives a predominantly plant-based lifestyle full of healthy foods.


20. Chloe and Halle Bailey

The grammy-nominated sisters went vegan for a week with their mom but liked it so much they decided to stick with it. For one thing, it helps keep their "voices in shape" by eating a vegan diet and they emphasize the fact that dairy helps to limit extra mucus build-up, according to a PETA interview.

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21. Hilary Duff

Best known for her role as Lizzie Mcguire in the long-running series, Hilary Duff is a recent vegan advocate and entrepreneur. She recently launched the vegan and cruelty-free eyeshadow palette, "Day Dreamer" and changed her diet to plant-based last fall.