Social Icon Interviews: Valeria Frei
On why she loves eating plants, re-thinking makeup, and her hope for more compassionate leaders
It’s hard to believe Valeria, a Swiss-born and now Miami based blogger, is just 21 years old. She has the calm wisdom of someone who’s lived many more years.
That’s one of the things we love most about connecting with and featuring Social Icons doing good things for the world — you’re guaranteed to learn something when you take the time to get to know anyone just a bit more. A great lesson to remember when we are so digitally connected, yet lacking real depth in our day-to-day interactions.
Besides healthy plant-based food, Valeria’s blog and Instagram are overflowing with body positivity, wellness tips, kindness, and a sprinkle of super cute bikinis (it is Miami after all)!
Q: What inspired you to start your blog and write your E-book Blissful Val?
A: What inspired me at first was the crazy amount of questions I received on Instagram about my nutrition and what my diet was like. But after that, I just really got inspired to share healthy, simple, wholesome vegan meals that I regularly eat.
Q: You have a lovely YouTube video about your decision to not wear any makeup. (And we are totally behind this philosophy!) Given your experience of being totally natural & makeup free for more than 10 months, what is the most surprising thing you learned about inner beauty?
A: Yes, it’s been actually almost a year without makeup and I honestly didn’t miss it at all. I think the best thing about it was, that I could touch my face whenever I wanted and my morning and night routine was so much faster without it! I also noticed that nobody really cares if you wear makeup or not. But, I do have to admit that just last week I started to wear a little mascara and some lipstick again. At first, I was really embarrassed because I made this video about not wearing makeup anymore etc., but I realized that what matters is how you feel about yourself. I used to not feel confident without makeup but after this year of no makeup I learned to be comfortable again in my own skin and I will definitely continue to not wear any makeup most of the time.
Q: What topics or causes are you most passionate about sharing right now - something that could really help the world if everyone did it/ got on board?
Definitely eating a more plant-based diet and less meat, dairy, and eggs. For various reasons, but I think we can all agree that animal agriculture is harming the environment enormously. And studies have shown that if humans keep fishing at the current pace we’re going to have fish-less oceans by 2048. It makes no sense for us to spend our money on an industry that destroys the environment, causes animal suffering and health problems.
Would be to vote. I think more young people should use their power and vote for someone they share the same values with. And also do your own research, don’t just vote for someone because your friend or parents are voting for them. Always do your research.
Being compassionate, loving and kind to each other. I think if we all could practice these three things towards each other (including animals), then this world would be free of war and all the other horrible things that are going on right now.
Q: If you could speak to young girls everywhere today and inspire a new direction or positive change, what would you wish for your generation’s future?
A: I would wish for them to not look up to the Kardashians and, in fact, any kind of Hollywood celebrity. Instead, learn and talk about something that’s actually going to be useful for them and the world.
Q: Since it’s Veganuary and you’re doing a fun challenge, what’s your #1 tip for people who are just getting started eating more plant-based?
A: My #1 tip would be to stock up your kitchen with lots of vegan foods. Simple things like fruits, nut butter, plant-based milks, different grains like rice, quinoa, couscous, legumes like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, pistachios, veggies and greens. Also look up vegan recipes! Just google “vegan recipes” and lots of great blogs will pop up.
(P.S. It’s not too late to join Val’s Veganuary Challenge!)
Q: What is the biggest change you’ve made in your life to be happier and healthier?
A: Definitely going vegan! Health wise, I’ve personally been thriving since eating a plant-based diet and it also changed me as a person. It made me such a more loving, happier and compassionate human being.
Q: What is the biggest change you’ve made in your life to make the world better?
A: Also going vegan haha. This lifestyle is making the world better because it’s causing less harm to the environment and to the animals. All of that, just by eating plants! 😁
Q: What is the one question you wish people would ask you more often?
A: Honestly, I’ve never thought about that. I wish people would ask:
“Who or what has influenced or inspired you to become the person you are today?”
And I’d say:
Oprah’s Supersoul Sunday Podcast
Eckhart Tolle for practicing being in the present moment
Gary Yourofsky’s speech called “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear” on YouTube
Documentaries & Movies on health, the animals and environment:
What The Health, Cowspiracy, Okja & A Plastic Ocean (on Netflix)
Documentary on ethical & sustainable fashion: The True Cost (on Netflix)
@Kittenxlady on Instagram & Youtube to foster & adopt kittens
Deepak Chopra for meditation & practicing kindness
Q: What does being a Social Icon mean to you?
A: For me that’s a big responsibility because you’re literally influencing people in whatever you do and say. So I always try to be very cautious with the things I put out there, which sometimes can be hard because at the same time I try to be myself as well.