Happy International Women’s Day! Here Are 25 Who Inspire Us to Go Plant-Based
In honor of International Women's Day, we are celebrating inspiring women leading the way in every part of their lives: As artists, athletes, actors, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, who have all made the decision to ditch meat and dairy and go either fully or mostly plant-based, to align with their purpose and work all while inspiring others to do the same. Here are 25 women who you may not realize have gone plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan, and who are living life to their fullest–and so can you.
Some of these plant-based influencers are new to it, like Kim Kardashian, who announced that she is leaving animal products off her plate to start the New Year, and is sharing her vegan parm recipe. Others are OGs of vegan-hood, like Alicia Silverstone who wrote the (cook) book on how to make delicious plant-based dinners, and Natalie Portman, another long-time vegan, who shows her favorite recipes on IG live, prompting people to beg her to launch her own vegan cooking show.
Everyone comes to their plant-based approach differently with their own goals and motivations. Whatever your reason for eating more plant-based-–for your health, for the planet, for animal welfare, or all three–you’ll find inspiration in these journeys. Read on and celebrate International Women’s Day your way–one plant-based meal at a time.
1. Meghan Markle, who is in the news these days... maybe you watched?
Markle sat down with the Queen of Talk, Oprah, for a two-hour session aired on CBS last night–perhaps you heard about it, or watched it? The duo–joined by Prince Harry for the second half–spent most of the interview time parsing over the way MM had been treated by the British press and the Royal family (aka the Firm) before she, Harry, and Archie fled to Canada and then the US. But Oprah did not delve into how Markle is eating a more plant-based diet these days.
Eating for two, Markle revealed she is having a girl sometime this coming summer and in the past she has revealed that she is flexitarian, choosing a gluten-free and vegan diet during the week, and allowing herself more “flex” on weekends. She told an interviewer she sees the difference in her skin, energy levels, and fitness by following this plan and still leaves herself room for favorite treats. Markle recently invested in a vegan coffee company, Clevr Blends, which makes easy latte mixes with adaptogens, probiotics & superfoods all in one “super latte” sip.
Markle has brought Harry along for the LA ride, which he himself says is liberating after being “trapped” in a life of relative misery, and she has made him sell his hunting guns, and presumably give up British grub like bangers and mash for more California fare, but no word yet on whether he is also trying to go more plant-based or whether Archie is as well. The two Sussexes looked fit, clear-eyed, and grounded in their new life in Sunny SoCal and we can only credit the fact that Markle’s approach is winning.
2. Natalie Portman, vegan chef, and animal activist, future vegan cooking show host
Since the age of nine, the Oscar-winning superstar has chosen to eat a vegetarian diet. Portman went fully vegan after she read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals in 2009. After learning more about the food industry, she decided that she could not support purchasing or eating any animal products. Since then she has moved to a wholly vegan diet and increased her activism to encourage others to do the same, or be more plant-based.
The Black Swan star’s advocacy goes beyond her personal diet. In the last year, Portman invested in the oat milk company Oatly as well as a vegan leather company, MycoWorks. Instead uses her platform, she consistently spends her money on the products she supports.
During quarantine, Portman hosted a series of home cooking tutorials where she shared some of her favorite vegan secrets with her 7.3 million Instagram followers. Late-night host Jimmy Fallon applauded her videos saying that the home-cooked meals could be the perfect basis for Portman's own TV cooking show. Portman said she simply hoped her videos would help introduce delicious vegan options to anyone curious about how to make delicious vegan meals and not sacrifice flavor. Her message: Vegan food is both delicious and sustainable.
Okay so there's no actual cooking show in the works that we know of, yet, but we can live in hope. Natalie, seriously, we are ready to watch you every day!
3. Venus Williams, Powerhouse Tennis Ace with a Love of Launching Companies
Olympic Gold Medalist and entrepreneur (she launched Happy Viking, plant-based protein shakes and powders) Venus Williams shows the world that being an elite athlete is possible on a plant-based diet. Williams ditched meat and dairy several years ago when she was living with near-constant pain and extreme fatigue, related to Sjogren's Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder. Breaking up with animal products helped her recover dramatically, and allowed her to train hard and return to the peak performance that won her gold medals as well as Wimbledon and the US Open championships.
Now Williams is crushing one of the biggest myths about plant-based eating, which is that it’s difficult to get adequate protein and nutrients on a vegan diet to support training at top levels. Williams adopted her new diet in 2011 when she was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, which causes swelling, numbness, digestive problems, burning eyes, and debilitating fatigue. The disease would’ve been a career-ender for most athletes, but Williams used her determination and athleticism to cover come it. Now she says her plant-based diet accelerated her recovery and allowed her to feel healthier today.
The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion proves that there’s no limit to what you can do when you set your mind to it, and along with launching Happy Viking plant-based protein shakes she just debuted her latest venture, a line of Wonder Woman clothing, that she hopes will show women that anyone can feel like a superhero in their own lives–if you choose to channel your inner WW (or Venus Williams) strength.
4. Billie Eilish, singer and songwriter, animal and environmental activist
Billie Eilish, one of the biggest names in music at the moment, continuously uses her platform to advocate for kinder treatment to animals and the planet through a vegan diet. The star gave away free tickets to her concert to fans who educated themselves about climate change and signed petitions to benefit environmental efforts.
She regularly talks about how going vegan is one of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint: An IGTV video that the singer posted starring herself and Woody Harrelson called "Our House is On Fire" has amassed over 15 million views. In it, she urges viewers to help save the environment by "doing what you can to live a greener lifestyle like cutting out meat and dairy in your diet."
5. Rooney and Kate Mara, sisters and mothers who make being vegan look easy
Rooney Mara: Actress Rooney Mara has long made headlines for her outspoken animal advocacy. Along with fiancé and fellow vegan Joaquin Phoenix, the pair, who are known as private people, are rarely shy about their role as animal rights activists.
Mara, a long-time vegan, as is her sister Kate Mara, shook the farming industry after joining forces with Animal Equality to expose factory farming. Mara was a vegetarian until the age of nine, and ultimately made the switch “about seven years ago, someone sent [a] horrible undercover video of a pig, which led to another horrible video and another horrible video. I went down the YouTube rabbit hole."
Mara is currently co-executive producing a documentary on factory farming’s threat to global health, entitled The End of Medicine, slated to debut in late 2021.
6. Fantasia Taylor, An American Idol ance and forever, now a vegan cooking idol too
Fantasia Taylor told her 4.2 million followers this past October that she started eating a vegan diet after dealing with health-related issues. The season three winner of American Idol shared on her Instagram “Taylor’s Gone Vegan” along with pictures of her healthy plant-based dishes. Fantasia isn’t eating plant-based alone and documented her husband cooking plant-based taco bowls for her as well as stuffed zucchini.
7. Kim Kardashian: Keeping Up with the plant-based diet trends, and fitter than ever
When Kim Kardashian makes a statement, her 209 million IG followers listen. Recently she announced that she would be adopting a fully plant-based diet, stepping up from her previous approach of a “mostly” plant-based plan, and she declared that it has helped her get back into trim, sleek shape that prompted her to post an ab-solutely gorgeous pic showing off her “plant-based body” results. Caption: 🌱🍃 Plant based does a body good 🌱🍃. We agree.
Kim has in the past shared the inside of her fridge, a recent sister brunch of plant-based eats, and her favorite recipe for vegan parm. A recent post by KKW of Morningstar vegetarian bacon did feature that product, which is made partially with egg whites, but who are we to quibble when the bigger picture is: Plant-based is good for you and the planet. If 209 million people went more plant-based because KKW is promoting this way of eating, the world would be a better place, and so would our health and wellbeing!
8. Hannah Teter, Gold Medal Snowboarder, X-Games Winner, Powder Hound
The Olympic gold and silver winner now refers to herself as plant-based, saying that she feels like her emotional, physical, and mental states have seen an amazing improvement. She swears that her plant-based diet helped her become a better athlete and a better person. We just want to snowboard like her, or even a fraction as good as she does. She is one of the coolest women on the slopes.
9. Chloe and Halle Bailey, sisters who are rising to fame one blockbuster at a time
Chloe and Halle Bailey’s path to plant-based eating started with the biggest role model of all: Their mom. The Grammy-nominated sisters’ plant-based diet was meant to only last a week when they joined their mom’s attempt to cut out animal products. The sisters were surprised at how much they liked it and decided to keep the meat in the past.
The singers caught their ticket to fame when Beyonce discovered their cover of “Pretty Hurts.” The superstar took the duo under her wing, leading to the teen stars’ rapid rise to fame.
The sisters moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles to debut in their personal show, Grownish. The two live in two amazing cities to eat plant-based foods. “Eggs and dairy never sat well with me so it easy,” Chloe said. “When we moved to LA, it really became easy. So many vegan restaurants and vegan aisles in the grocery store are like heaven for us!” Now Halle is about to debut as Ariel in The Little Mermaid, and we can't wait to go under the sea with this rising star.
10. Serena Williams, Mom, Wife, Champion, Investor, Fashion Designer, Mentor, Icon
Serena Williams is among the most winning, highly paid, and outspoken sports stars of our time. She is quieter about her own diet, but the 23-time Grand Slam champ adopted a mostly plant-based approach in solidarity with her sister during Venus' extreme health issues. The iconic star and mom to Olympia changed her diet in 2012 to promote healthier eating, but as of late, Serena doesn’t eat plant-based alone. Her largely vegan diet has also been encouraged by her husband, Alexis Ohanian, who told GQ last year that he decided to go plant-based to be a better dad to the couple’s daughter Olympia, who is quickly coming up as the next superstar in the family. William’s performance rests on how she trains, stays focused, and fuels her body, so her choices are closely watched by her fans.
According to one interview, Williams said that she's embracing veganism. After having a baby, Williams told The New York Times that she wanted to "lean out" and, in doing so, knew she had to eat healthier. "I went vegan for 44 days," Williams said then. And because she felt great, she decided to try it again. "But now, I'm vegetarian." She leans into plants but has a soft spot for European cheese.
Williams invested in Jay-Zs $1Biliion VC fund which has backed plant-based meat company Impossible Foods, as well as Partake Foods, a vegan line of allergy-free cookies. She also debuted a sustainable, vegan clothing line to her brand called simply, “Serena.” The release of the fashion line saw immediate success. The vegan leather pants and blazer flew off the shelves, selling out within weeks. The two sisters together continue to impress with their resilience and entrepreneurship, consistently use their platform to reframe the conversation of nutrition and what it takes to be evolving.
11. Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain started her plant-based diet nearly a decade ago, using her platform to tackle injustices in animal farming and telling people just how much better she feels. The celebrated actress may still be anticipating an academy award, but she’s using her widespread fame to advocate for animal shelter programs and cruelty-free products.
“I was really low on energy,” Chastain said. “My cholesterol was very high and the doctor wanted to put me on medicine. Immediately [after going vegan I] had more energy than ever.”
12. Hilary Duff, former child star now a mother of two and beauty entrepreneur
Hilary Duff may be most recognized for her role as Lizzie McGuire, but the long-time celebrity uses her voice for animal-rights. Duff altered her diet to become completely plant-based last fall, leading to the launch of her vegan and cruelty-free eyeshadow palette called “Day Dreamer.”
The actress and singer decided to cut meat and dairy from her diet to reduce her carbon footprint. Duff teamed up with Walmart and Unilever to develop a plan and initiative to educate consumers on their purchases as well as their recycling patterns. She notes that she hopes that her focus on the planet will encourage others to think about the future and the planet for generations.
“I care about the planet and the future of what it looks like for my kids...and generations to follow us,” Duff said. “ The time is now to be responsible and lower our carbon footprint.”
13. Sandra Oh, and Ellen Pompeo, who have kept us watching all these years
Sandra Oh’s quiet plant-based lifestyle is as important as any of the other outspoken celebrities. Meanwhile, Ellen Pompeo is famously vegan and among the most outspoken for animal rights. After years and years of Grey’s Anatomy with its conclusion on the horizon, Oh’s legacy and Pompeo's indelible portrayal of a tortured resident through the years have kept us watching for the past 15 years.
Unlike her more high-profile co-star, Oh has lived a relatively low-key plant-based life, rarely sharing her diet through her social media or press interviews, but the actress has been known to invite large groups of friends and coworkers out to vegan dinners. Her subtle but important gesture is Oh’s attempt to share the benefits of plant-based diets. Sometimes a nice dinner is enough to break down people’s ideas about what a plant-based diet can or can’t be, and Oh does her part to show people just how delicious her lifestyle is.
14. Gisele Bundchen
Gisele’s diet appears to be ever-evolving, as the wife of Tom Brady and mom of Benjamin and Vivian keeps up healthy habits at home, but it wasn't always the case. Back in her supermodel days she once divulged that her diet at the apex of her modeling career consisted of wine, cigarettes, and mochas. Now she’s landed on a mostly plant-based approach.
The former supermodel encouraged her entire family to eat healthier, and the ageless power couple attests that a plant-based diet does wonders for the body, saying that since adopting their mostly plant-based habits they maintain their fitness while feeling fully nourished. Coming from a supermodel and the most winning pro athlete of his era, it seems right to take notes.
15. Sadie Sink, Stranger Things Actress
The Stranger Things actress decided to go full vegan after encouragement from co-star and iconic actor Woody Harrelson. Sink practiced vegetarianism until 2016 when she became close with Harrelson on the set of The Glass Castle. Since filming that movie, Sink dropped all animal products and never looked back.
The actress promotes the use of cruelty-free skincare products, posting new products on her Instagram to encourage her fans to keep “animals apart from human vanity.”
16. Ariana Grande, one of the most prolific songwriters of our day
The pop star stormed the charts with her album sweetener, launching herself into the center of pop culture. The child actress grew up with a huge portion of the younger generations, becoming an icon for countless fans. The sweeter news is that Ariana Grande, who was raised eating meat and cheese, adopted a fully plant-based diet, and encourages her fans to do the same.
“I’ve eaten organically since I was little and always kept meat minimal, but today marks my first day as a 100% vegan,” Grande tweeted. “Joyous day!”
Grande holds the title of one of peta2’s sexiest vegans from 2014, and now seven years later Grande continues to uphold her diet and publicly defend her veganism for animal freedom, but mostly for health and happiness.
“I love animals more than I love most people, not kidding,” Grande said. “But I am a firm believer in eating a fully plant-based diet, a whole food diet that can expand your life length and make an all-around happier person.”
17. Nathalie Emmanuel, who as the gusty Missandei was stoic and heroic
A fan-favorite from HBO’s Game of Thrones, Nathalie Emmanuel, a strict vegan diet does not stop her budding athletic career. The actress’s hardcore fitness routine is fueled by a fully plant-based diet that she switched to in 2013. Emmanuel practices yoga, distance swimming, running, and boxing, claiming that her plant-based diet is no impediment. The actress proves that all you need is “quinoa, greens, veggies, and beans” which are simple food jam-packed with proteins.
The Game of Thrones star goes beyond the health benefits of her diet and continuously uses her social media to highlight the poor treatment of animals worldwide. While she was traveling to filming, she noted injustices in elephant sanctuaries and reminded people why she eats her plant-based diet.
“I ate vegan for one week at first--I would have reassessed if it made me feel really ill, but it made me feel really good so I carried on for another week, and then I felt even better,” Emmanuel said. “People kept coming up to me and telling me I looked glowy and my eyes looked really bright, so I kept going.”
18. Erykah Badu, who won our hearts in the 90s with On and On and Next Lifetime
The legendary singer switched to a vegetarian diet her senior year of high school. After almost ten years, she dropped animal products altogether, committing to a fully fresh diet. The renowned star speaks out about the nutritional benefits of eating plant-based saying, “It’s just what’s best for my body. If I was a Lamborghini, I would want to put the best gas in it.”
Badu promises that a vegan diet will give you the energy you want. Ever since switching, she’s said that her body feels fueled. The singer’s vegan diet rarely consists of alternatives or vegan treats, but rather she sticks to a fresher diet that contains less if any processed foods.
“High-energy diets are made up of whole, real foods—foods lower in sugar that are less processed, with a balance of protein and carbohydrates,” Badu said. “For someone who was eating a lot of heavier and more processed foods, switching to a vegan diet and eating more whole, plant-based foods can make them feel more energetic.”
19. Stella and Mary McCartney, talented sisters who helped start Meatless Mondays
Stella and Mary McCartney, raised by famous parents who were also vegetarians, promote a meat-free lifestyle. Mother Linda McCartney decided to make meatless meals at home and created her most notable vegetarian cookbook back in 1989, Linda’s Kitchen: Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals. Legendary father, Paul McCartney joined his ex-wife on a meat-free journey and soon became an advocate for animal rights and produced Glass Walls, a short clip documentary about the horrors of slaughterhouses.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree for these two sisters who have also given up animal products from their diet and their style. They both talk the talk and walk the walk. Famous vegetarian fashion designer Stella McCartney created her luxury brand, selling top dollar faux leathers, skins, and furs as she believes in sustainable practices. Stella admits to eating eggs and cheese occasionally but hasn’t eaten meat or fish since she was a child.
Sister Mary McCartney also praises her vegetarian diet with the launch of her newest cooking show, Mary McCartney Serves It Up, featuring her favorite meatless eats, cooking for her famous friends. The renowned photographer also makes her meals come to life through her passion for cooking and long-time photo career. Some of her latest plant-based dishes include Turmeric Tofu Noodles and Meatless Veggie Tacos.
Back in 2009, the sister duo teamed up with their royal musician father to start the Meatless Monday movement where people from around the world opt for vegan meat alternatives on Monday to spread awareness about animal welfare and the benefits of reducing animal protein from your diet.
20. Alicia Silverstone, The Kind Diet cookbook author and animal rights activist
One of the OGs of adopting a vegan diet–she wrote the book called The Kind Diet and has since appeared in PETA ads, written a vegan cookbook, and often shares details about raising her son Bear, 10, as a vegan since birth, and generally set the gold standard for animal rights activism. Her PETA ad showed her a Bear recreating an iconic image of Paul and Linda McCartney from the 80s where the two posed in PETA T-shirts. Now Sir Paul carries on Linda’s memory (the photographer died from breast cancer) and he and his daughters, the designer Stella and older sister Mary (a chef, author, and photographer) have made Meatless Mondays an international movement. Alicia Silverstone picks up the torch and keeps it real with moms wondering if it’s safe and effective for kids to eat vegan and still be well fueled for growth, sports, and active lives. (Answer: Yes.) Silverstone also launched her own company.
21. Sia, Singer, Mom, health advocate who is showing perseverance over her condition
Sia may often hide her face behind those architectural bangs from public view, but she just did a brave announcement to followers Friday that she lives with an inherited disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The rare condition affects the body's connective tissue, such as skin, joints, and blood vessels., The Australian singer makes sure that her fans know her for more than her poppy music; a long-time vegan she is actively involved in animal-cruelty awareness campaigns.
The singer announced in 2014 that she finally went full vegan and ever since, she has urged fans to adopt a plant-based diet as well. She partnered with PETA to initiate a campaign to end animal homelessness.
With a special cameo on Scooby-Doo Where are you!, Sia famously splits a vegan pie with Scooby-Doo and Shaggy. The cartoon isn’t the only time the celebrity shared her vegan diet with others. The documentary, Dominion, featured Sia alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara as activists speaking against the issues in modern animal agriculture.
22. Alex Morgan, Soccer superstar, co-captain, equality advocate, and PETA poster girl
A loved member of the USA National Team, Alex Morgan, challenges the conventional idea of what it takes to be a pro-athlete. Starring in Cam Newton’s “Built Like a Vegan” ad campaign, the soccer star disproves the false narrative that an athlete needs animal protein to achieve success. Morgan is a longtime vegan and an outspoken animal rights activist, who originally left meat behind when she faced a moral dilemma with her dog, Blue, saying “it didn’t feel fair to have a dog, and yet eat meat all the time.”
PETA chose Morgan as one of their "Most Beautiful Vegan Celebrities" in 2019, along with NBA star Kyrie Irving. We concur.
Morgan doesn’t argue that protein isn’t important for an athlete’s diet, but makes sure that her fans know that there are plenty of alternatives. She tries to eat 90 grams of plant-based protein a day, especially when she’s working out, training, or most importantly on the field. The soccer champion success and World Cup victory rip apart any idea that an athlete can’t be plant-based, and inspires any fans to try to boost their own nutrition.
23. Tia Blanco, Pro Surfer, Beauty Entrepreneur, ambassador for Vejii, the vegan market
The surfer grew up eating a vegetarian diet because of her mom, and she’s done nothing but rides that wave. Eight years ago, she and her whole family took the challenge to cut out animal products for good. Blanco never tasted meat and so she never felt the interest.
“When I was 11 or 12 I started to get the question--Why are you vegetarian? Meat is good for you,’” Blanco said. “And I could say was, ‘Shoot I have no idea.’ Then when I was 15, I watched the documentary Glass Walls, and read The China Study, and then it became quite clear to me why I wanted to be vegetarian and why I wanted to adopt a vegan lifestyle. After doing my research, I chose to go vegan and have been dedicated to a vegan diet for four years now.”
The athlete and her sister, Aja, released a vegan skincare line called Dear Self. The passion project hopes to give its fans all the beauty care with none of the cruelty. The surfer’s plant-based diet and her family’s new self-care line are just some of the ways Blanco is trying to get people on the wave. She recently became an ambassador for Vejii, the vegan online market.
24. Pamela Anderson, animal activist, and executive producer of The Game Changers
Pamela Anderson keeps a strictly plant-based diet and for years she‘s claimed that veganism can make anyone a better lover. The model and actress rose to fame playing Casey Jean on the hit series Baywatch, and after years of playing the American heartthrob, she’s claiming that to love the best people should think about plant-based eating.
“Being vegan is an aphrodisiac diet,” Anderson said. “It’s a win-win. Meat makes you impotent and unhealthy.”
The playboy center-fold took on her plant-based diet for more reasons than love. Anderson is a life-long animal activist and consistently partners with PETA to fight against animal cruelty. The actress doesn’t even wear leather or fur, hoping that consumers will notice style without it, and discourage people from wearing animal products.
25. Kristen Stewart, perhaps the world's most famous vegan vampire
The Twilight actress may not say she’s completely vegan, but she’s trying the best she can, which is all anyone can do. Stewart transitioned from bloodthirsty to plant-based, and she continues to tell people that they should avoid meat.
Although there is no confirmation, Stewart urges her fans to drop meat saying, “We shouldn’t eat as much meat guys. You know what I’m saying? But like I’m trying a lot, hard. “I’m trying earnestly.”
The vegetarian vampire is living the same struggle from the Twilight series, and her sincere push to increase her plant-based diet shows us fans that sometimes it takes steps for the lifestyle change.