Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a native New Yorker (Greenwich Village to be exact) who currently lives in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. I am many things… but I am an activist first. As for my career, I was the Director of Television Development at Def Pictures and am now a country singer. My music and music videos can be found on all streaming platforms and at @simonereyesmusic ( music Instagram ) @simonereyes (activist Instagram ) @simonereyes ( twitter ). Website: www.simonereyes.com
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
Since I joined an abolitionist group in NYC, I phased out my animal items pretty fast- it made sense that animals are simply not ours to use for any reason whatsoever. While I applaud the Meatless Mondays, the Vegan-ish, the vegetarians at the end of the day none of the math adds up to me. I always say, were the slaves who were desperate for freedom satisfied with Monday’s off? Of course not, freedom is freedom and if you know enough to not consume animal products sometimes you know enough not to do it at all. I’ve lost a lot of patience for that stuff the more images I see of suffering animals. The science is here, the facts are solid, enough is enough.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
My friend Ruby Roth has written several books for children on veganism. I absolutely believe that when you are explaining difficult truths you must be gentle in your approach with kids but children have empathy for animals typically from birth so they should never be lied to about what they are eating/drinking. Veganism is becoming much more commonplace among children so they don’t feel as isolated at school and in social situations. Thankfully plant based food options are plentiful and now we even have schools that have gone totally plant based. Why parents still choose to feed their kids meat and dairy given the health risks and the assault animal agriculture has on the planet these kids will be inheriting just blows my mind.
What does being vegan mean to you?
I am a true abolitionist. I don’t believe in killing any sentient being. I don’t kill bugs of any kind unless it’s by accident. In suffering we are all equal. Every being trembles before death. That is all I need to know to live in line with the philosophy of doing no harm. As for how it affects how I treat others, I am the first to admit that I do judge a person by their conscious actions, with an emphasis on the word conscious. I don’t expect people new to the movement to come into my life vegan but if they become educated on all the millions of valid reasons why they should make the switch and they still don’t have the capacity to extend their compassion to serve all then that tells me a lot about their character. I’m also dumfounded by the number of parents who post social media videos of them feeding meat and dairy to their children, which is like giving them cigarettes (processed meat, just like cigarettes are a class one carcinogen). That is why it is so important to continue to educate the public on the health dangers of consuming animal products, the horrors it is doing to our climate and of course, the innocent lives it takes.
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
I think it’s every human’s duty to become an activist – it’s the rent we pay for borrowing from this planet. Vegans are the most evolved humans on the planet in my opinion so yes, I do believe it’s our responsibility to spread the message. It is also our duty to STAY vegans. To me, there is nothing worse than an ex- vegan. Nothing. It means the person knows they have blood on their hands and they don’t care.
Any recommended Vegan books? Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
There is a GREAT new show on Amazon Prime that I guested on hosted by Jane Velez- Mitchell called NEW DAY, NEW CHEF – it has tons of easy, fast and delicious vegan recipes for all to enjoy!
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
You are on the right side of history – stand proud. Your community is growing every day, continue to recruit and stay strong. Your heart will get broken every second of every day but total animal liberation IS coming. Keep fighting. We are their only voice.
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
Los Angeles is on fire with protests, potlucks, save vigils (where we bear witness to animals heading to slaughter ) and vegan restaurants. I am the Vice President of Communications of Social Compassion in Legislation and feel so fortunate that we are able to get so many bills passed by living in California which is a leader in compassion. Judie Mancuso started the group years ago and the amount of bills we have been able to get into law by sponsoring lifesaving legislation has been beyond incredible – we banned puppy mills, kicked wild animals out of circuses, stopped fur trapping and the list goes on and on and on. Sign up for our newsletter at www.socialcompassioninlegislation.org and be a part of changing laws for animals.
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
What is the joke, how can you tell if someone is vegan, don’t worry they will be the first to tell you …something like that? LOL. Vegans tend to find each other pretty organically but I encourage all vegans to get out and protest. It’s the best place to meet like minded people while helping to save the planet.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too? Living cruelty free means being able to sleep with a clear conscience at night and being able to wake up and look at my own reflection and know I am doing my best to be a part of the solution not the problem. Living cruelty free extends to humans on every level because vegans typically are against suffering – all suffering. We stand for social justice – justice for ALL. We fight the good fight for all sentient beings. Animal Rights Vegans talk the talk, and walk the walk and are the most evolved, woke people on the planet. I could not be more proud to be a part of this community. It is magical.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
I love everything Kat Von D has put out- her make up line, the shoes she does with Mink Shoes, all of it. Her heart is so big for animals. Of course, Stella McCartney is always the right choice when we want to splurge. Beyond Meat ( Ethan Brown) is changing the game for animals – they will go down in the history books right next to Ingrid Newkirk and so many other leaders as being true heroes.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
I really love pleather but it’s not ( so far) a fabric that stands the test of time. Sadly, almost all my pleather ends up falling apart in my closet eventually. I hope they can make some durable eco-friendly pleather that I can hold onto.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
Honestly, I have never struggled with my veganism. Once I became vegan, I have been pretty much been unapologetically vegan. I have been on first dates, one that I recall specifically, where I really didn’t want to tell the person I was out with what to eat. It was uncomfortable because I wanted the date to go well. That said, when veal was ordered I spoke up and said I just can’t sit here while you eat veal. These sorts of situations are bound to show up but I made a vow to the animals with this lifestyle and I will never go back on that promise to fight for them – no matter what.