It’s an unavoidable truth: we are what we eat (and what we don’t eat). How we treat ourselves is often written right on our faces (not to mention our bellies and behinds), and it follows that vegetarians are, as a whole, a pretty attractive group. This fact has not escaped PETA‘s attention, so the furball-loving/fur coat-loathing team at peta2, PETA’s youth division, recently launched a contest to find the “Cutest Vegetarian Alive.” And all you tofu-loving ladies take note; one of the finalists is a local.
20 year-old SB native Frank Velasquez was always an animal-lover. “I look at my dog sometimes, I look in her eyes, and I think, ‘There’s a life in there, and she has emotions, and it’s beautiful to me.’” Velasquez first checked out the PETA website after getting interested in some artists that were proponents of the group, and hasn’t looked back since. Then a steak-slinging Sizzler employee, Velasquez thought he’d ease himself into it, starting out vegetarian before progressing to full-blown veganism. He bought himself two gallons of ice cream to celebrate - and never touched them. “I just couldn’t do it - my conscience wouldn’t let me.” That was two years ago, and though he’s ditched the Sizzler gig in favor of spending his days working four different jobs - reffing kids’ basketball and selling fresh veggies at the Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market among them - he’s as enthusiastically vegan as ever.
Velasquez says he always signs up for PETA’s contests, but was shocked to get the call informing him he’d made it to the finals, which are structured much like the NCAA Tournament. Round 1, voting for which runs now through Wednesday, April 9, features 16 contestants in the male bracket; 16 in the female; check it out at peta2.com/feat/cutest_veg_08/.