Marco Antonio Regil Was the Face of McDonald’s and Nestle. Then He Watched Glass Walls and Gave it Up
Turning on the TV these days can be overwhelming, especially with the current news. Then, there is an occasional bright spot when someone does something positive, especially a celebrity who is determined to break out of the safe, lucrative, or predictable path, and speak his or her truth. Enter Marco Antonio Regil, Spanish TV Game Show Host, author, podcaster, and a household name in Mexico and across Latin America.
Regil's millions of fans love him for his story of resilience in the face of personal conflict. He was the Latin face of McDonald’s and Nestle in Mexico for years, but when he watched Paul McCartney's documentary video, Glass Walls, and learned about the cruelty animals endure on factory farms, he felt compelled to go vegan, and it cost him dearly. He walked away from lucrative contracts and since has dedicated himself to building a platform for the Latin American community with his Marco: El Podcast focused on personal growth and spirituality.
His Instagram posts are replete with writings and inspirational messages:
"I remember when I focused more on what others did or did not do than on what was going on inside of me. This is actually one of the favorite "tricks" of that little voice in your mind. Telling yourself stories about how bad others are is a distraction from your true mission, which is, to transform what is inside you 🙏🏽💜 Have you already experienced the difference by changing your priorities?"
Rather than telling others how to behave, he shares his personal transformative thinking:
"Every time I manage to let go of a limiting judgment or thought, a space is created within me where I rest, smile and flow that creativity full of ideas and solutions to handle the challenges I have today. On the other hand, creating and carrying judgment and grudges is like putting heavy stones in my backpack and blaming the stones for my pain and fatigue when I was the one who put them there and I was the one who decided to carry them every day 😱😢 The good news is that I can decide what to do with them because I am free to change the story that I am telling myself about any matter or circumstance. It's called free will and that's a gift I was born with and no one can take it away from me 😃💜🙏🏽 How heavy do you want your backpack to be today? Share below if you have already experienced it or would like to try it.
Regil shared his story of how he switch to a vegan lifestyle with The Beet’s interviewer, and host of the Awesome Vegans columns, Elysabeth Alfano, who conducted the interview remotely. Here is their conversation.
EA: Let's hear the story about how you went vegan and how this changed your outlook.
MR: "Well, I mean, it’s like in my dark past. I always say when I go to festivals–I speak very often–Or I used to before COVID-19– I used to speak at these festivals in Minnesota, Washington, New York, Mexico, Tulum, you know, many places. I always tell them that I used to be the face of McDonald's in Mexico for about three years."
EA: When did this all start to change for you? When did decide to give those up?
MR: "Fifteen years ago, before being vegan, and I was the face of McDonald's... and I was the face of Nestle. We toured Mexico promoting Nestle milk. I worked for Frito-lay. I worked for all those companies because that’s what I was doing. I was on television, prime time, on great shows and those were the sponsors, and I didn’t know better than that.
"So, I tell people, if I made the change, anyone can make the change, because for me it was not only a lifestyle thing because I was a heavy, heavy, heavy carnivore. For me, a meal without meat was not a meal. So, I let go of all that and it cost me a lot of money because I did have to let go of a lot of income that was coming from those sponsors.
"What happened to me is I watched documentaries. The first one I watched was Glass Walls with Paul McCartney [that he made] with PETA. It's an amazing documentary that is available on YouTube [and is celebrating its tenth anniversary]. That was before Forks over Knives and The Game Changers and all of these amazing documentaries. That was just one of the ones that showed the animal cruelty and, in my heart, it was really clear that I did not want to be aligned with exploitation, suffering, or anything that would make another living being suffer.
"Well, when I looked at what was happening to the animals I said... I just do not want to be a part of any dynamic that includes torturing someone in order to survive, when we don’t need to do that. So that was it. It cost me a lot of money but, like I say, all the same, if I made the change anyone, believe me, anyone can make the change."
EA: I get it: You don’t want to see any kind of suffering, human or otherwise.
MR: "It's not the problem of the animals...It’s our problem because we have been a part of it one way or another. We have been a part of this unfairness and inequality in the world so it’s about: 'Let’s stop it.” Let’s stop it right now.' Let’s be a part of this positive change. That’s it."
EA: Do you believe that there are no differences between pets and farm animals?
MR: "Of course. Well, that was one of the “Ah-ha!” moments I had when I watched that documentary of Glass Walls with Paul McCartney. I always loved my dogs and I never realized that- I didn’t know, it’s just the marketing, right? You see the cows in the milk marketing and you see they’re happy cows and grazing and free."
EA: And of course that is not true.
MR: "Not true. When you see what’s happening and you realize, 'Oh my God! The cows are the same, the pigs are the same. The pigs are even more sensitive and intelligent than dogs.' Like right now, you know, we’re seeing people horrified with the Chinese markets where they’re doing that celebration again of the dog meat festival when you see all the doggies being eaten and served..."
EA: It's Awful.
MR: "Yeah, awful, but it’s the same thing we’re doing to the pigs and I just went last week here in Austin to one of the sanctuaries here and I took pictures of them. I have an Instagram account where I share photography, which is my passion, and it’s called 'Pics By Marco' and I took pictures of the piggies and they’re so sweet.
"They were so sweet, I mean one of them I was taking pictures of him and he was talking to me like 'Stop taking pictures, come rub my belly.' Right? Which is the same thing that Bernie (my dog) does when I’m not close enough to him and when you actually realize that they’re exactly the same! (It was) only in my head, it was different."
EA: But these animals are the same.
MR: "We tell ourselves: Pigs are not the same as dogs. You wouldn’t eat your dog, but the pigs are not the same. So, therefore, we can exploit and torture (them.) Every time we go into that pattern of “we’re not the same” is when abuse happens and that is the origin of all this misunderstanding: we are the same! We are the same and if we can give that idea and opportunity in all the aspects of our lives, then I think we have a chance to move forward and be more compassionate and more loving and for me that’s the essence of the whole thing."