Social Icon Interviews: Colleen Cole
On her passion for animal rights, not comparing, and finding your own cause
Over the most delicious vegan pizza, I had the pleasure of talking to Colleen Cole @colleencoleofficial about her journey to a plant-based diet, being involved in animal activism and how she got into modeling. (She was scouted while working at her local animal hospital, so it’s safe to say she’s a total animal lover!)
As someone who genuinely cares about the world and our collective future, Colleen decided to start going to more events and talking to more people in person about her passion for a plant-based diet.
While volunteering with Anonymous for the Voiceless, she was met with both extremes: curious and open-minded people and angry and offended people (which came out as insults, foul language, etc). It was a great reminder to me that we all have to do our part in helping make positive change. We need to connect face to face with other humans. Even if we’re met with resistance.
When was the last time you shared something important, something that aligns with your beliefs AND helps the greater good? There are countless options. Leading by example is the best way, and Colleen is definitely doing that!
A big thank you to her agency, SKY Talent Management, for helping organize the interview. Check out Colleen’s stories for highlights of yummy vegan food, animal rights, and the environment.
Header image & Fringe jacket: Mark Hanson / @markimage
All others noted below.
Q: What topics are you most passionate about sharing right now - something that could really help the world if everyone did it/ got on board?
1. Veganism/Animal Rights
2. The environment and trying to lessen our carbon footprint
3. Health and wellness
Q: If you could speak to young girls everywhere today, what is the #1 lesson you’ve learned that you’d like to share?
A: As often as it’s said, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone is running their own race at their own speed. Once you look over to see someone else is when you start to hurt your own performance. Stay focused on your goals, find a cause that you’re passionate about, and learn ways to get involved! Whether that be by donating, volunteering, or using your voice to bring awareness.
Q: What is the biggest change you’ve made in your life to be happier and healthier?
A: It would definitely be shifting to a plant-based diet. Once I cut animal products out, I noticed a change in my mental and physical health.
Q: What’s the biggest change you’ve made in your life to make the world better?
A: I’ve stopped paying people to kill animals on my behalf and stopped paying for factory farms to ruin the environment. I’ve also started to get into attending animal rights demonstrations and talking more to people about plant-based diets. I’ve convinced some of my friends and family to go more plant based and that always makes me feel good.
Aside from that, I’ve become more conscious of my impact on the environment in terms of buying less plastic and producing less waste overall.
I’m definitely not perfect or anywhere near where I’d like to be, but I’m on my way.
Q: What’s your favorite part (and your least favorite part) of social media today?
A: The fact that we can talk and interact with our friends and family even though they may not be near us. I use Instagram or Facebook a lot to talk to my family that I don’t get to see often otherwise. Something I don’t like about social media is how misinformation can be spread so quickly — and be so widely accepted — with little or no evidence.
Q: We all have the occasional tough day…What’s something that will instantly cheer you up on a hard day?
A: Putting on some oversized sweats and watching something funny on TV. (Also, vegan junk food…!)
Q: What is the one question you wish people would ask you more often?
A: How to go vegan or why veganism is important!
It took me a long time to go fully vegan, and what worked for me was just cutting things out of my diet one by one. First it was red meat, then poultry, then fish, then dairy and eggs. As you go, you learn new recipes and new favorite foods. I would recommend challenge22.com for anyone who’s interested in making the switch and would like a little guidance!
Secondly, veganism is important because animal agriculture is destroying the planet, it’s bad for our health, and it’s incredibly cruel to the animals. Most people would never support animal cruelty if they saw it in person, so I believe it’s important to live in alignment with our values and not pay for others to be cruel to animals for us.
Q: What does being a Social Icon mean to you?
A: Being a social icon means using your platform to inspire people, connect with them, and share the things that matter to you regardless of what that may be. I feel that if you’re lucky enough to have a large platform, you should use it to bring awareness to topics and causes that matter to you so we can help bring about important social changes.