Thursday, March 29, 2012

March of the Hot Vegan Army - Day #29 - Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain

Know her from:
Jessica was nominated for an Oscar in the celebrated film The Help. In this film, Chastain played the busty Marilyn Monroe-esque Celia Foote, who was learning how to cook for her husband, and trying her best to make friends in town. Chastain also appeared in 4 other movies last year: Tree of Life (co-starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn), Wilde Salome (in which she was hand-picked by co-star Al Pacino), Texas Killing Fields, Coriolanus, and Take Shelter. Additionally, she's made appearances in numerous other films and tv shows, such as The Debt with Helen Mirren (in which Jessica played the younger Mirren), and the shows Journeyman, Law and Order, Veronica Mars, and E.R.

Why she's vegan: Chastain's mother is a vegan chef (score!) and I'm sure that certainly contributed to Chastain's eating habits. But Chastain has been a vegan for about 6 years, and a vegetarian for about 16 years. She says that her reason for eating/living this way is because she doesn't want to "torture anything," ( or do something that contributes to cruelty in the world. And Jessica is true to her beliefs no matter what. Anyone who's seen The Help may remember a scene in which Chastain's character learns to make good old-fashioned southern fried chicken. However, what Chastain actually chowed down on in the scene was a tofu dog wrapped in Tofurkey, battered and deep fried. I gotta be honest, that sounds pretty tasty to me. Chastain also cooked a meal of vegan soul food for costar and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer in her apartment in Mississippi. I'm not sure what Chastain cooked, but I bet it was delicious. I have a feeling her mom taught her well!

Funny vegan story though, Jessica had to gain 15 pounds to play the curvaceous Celia Foote, which was a bit of a challenge for the healthy and fit Chastain. Our fair Jessica is not only a healthy vegan, but she is a fan of yoga, both things that make it tough to gain weight quickly. The story is it took daily doses of microwaved soy ice cream (which Chastain drank as a beverage...eeewww!) to put on that extra 15. But Chastain quickly went back to her healthy lifestyle after filming though, and dropped the excess pounds pretty darn quick.

Why she's awesome: Fun fact, Jessica attended college at Juilliard, largely owing to a scholarship she received from famous alumnus Robin Williams (who, coincidentally, has become a raw food vegan lately to prevent himself from having another heart attack). Another fun fact, Chastain has 2 rescue dogs, including an adorable 3-legged dog. You can see the latter dog here. This California native - true to the Southern charm she exudes in her role in The Help - says it's important to her that everyone she meets in this world feels valued by her. As a lifestyle, I think that's pretty awesome...She also says she works really hard to maintain friendships with people she works with, no matter where her whirlwind lifestyle takes her. Chastain seems down to earth, and way more concerned with taking jobs she's proud of, and that she can learn from, than in following a strategic career plan. She loves her life and work, and seems full of enthusiasm and gratitude. She even says failure is not a big fear for her because "when you fail, you learn more." (

So Ms. Chastain, I heartily welcome you to the Hot Vegan Army. I can truly say I appreciate you as a person, and I look forward to even more impressive performances in the future. And give those cute little dogs of yours some extra pats for the rest of the army, wouldja?

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