Monday, March 19, 2012

March of the Hot Vegan Army - Day #19 - Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis

Know her from: Ms. Lewis won the British version of American Idol (called the X Factor) back in 2006, and she's had some pretty spectacular things happen since then. She performed with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page at the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games, contributed the theme song to the wildly popular movie Avatar, won 3 Grammy Awards, and saw her single Bleeding Love hit #1 in 30+ countries.

Lewis is also working to release a vegan and eco-frieldly clothing line. In fact, she's been walking a number of red carpets in her own designs lately, and seems poised to join the ranks of Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Lady Gaga in presenting unique and eye-catching outfits to the world. Leona's 3rd studio album will also be released toward the end of summer this year.

Why she's vegetarian: The soulful singer has been a vegetarian since the age of twelve, and animal welfare has been a priority for her ever since. She was an ardent supporter of the World Society for the Protection of Animals before she ever became famous, but designed a campaign for them called "Animals Matter to Me" once she became a household name. The WSPA, much like PETA, is working to ensure that animal protection laws are not only improved, but also enforced. One of the more important issues to Ms. Lewis is the current global trend towards the slaughter of healthy horses (which is only getting worse with the economic downturn) for meat or industrial products. Leona follows an only partially-vegan diet at this time, but she does not wear any clothing made from animals. PETA voted her Sexiest Vegetarian Alive in 2008.

Why she's awesome: Besides her impressive vocal talent, which - at least temporarily - even left Simon Cowell speechless, Leona is a driven and principled woman. She learned to play the guitar and the piano when she was a child, and wrote her first song at the age of 12, already sure that she wanted a career in music. She also studied opera when she was younger, which she continues to practice today to maintain her voice.

More than the above, however, I am impressed by the strength of Leona's character. Her morals are worth more to her than money or prestige, and she's proven it. She turned down an estimated $1 million offer to have her vegan clothing line sold in a special sale at the world-famous Harrod's Department Store back in 2008. And the reason? Harrod's Department Store continues to sell clothing made of fur year after year. Maybe they haven't seen PETA's Skinned Alive videos. I am almost hesitant to link to this because I found it so sickening, but if anyone you know EVER buys fur products, or is considering doing so, please show them this video. I will warn you, the images in this video are incredibly disturbing, because the global fur trade is incredibly disturbing.

Well Ms. Lewis, I applaud your campaigns to bring animal welfare issues to a wider public audience. I am sure that you will continue to speak out about about global cruelty to animals, and I hope you will consider - at least gradually - upping your weekly dosage of vegan foods. Besides, all my voice teachers in the past always told me that dairy isn't good for your voice anyway ;-) But I think your consistent animal advocacy warrants you a spot in our Army ranks just the same.

Welcome Leona. I think with your powerful voice you'll have to sound the wake-up alarm in the morning. We'll even give you a viking helmet with plastic horns and you can practice your Der Ring des Nibelungen.

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