by Carson Blair
Close your eyes. Imagine light squeezing through ocean blue waves and shining a spotlight on the unique creatures of the sea. Imagine green hills rolling like an old movie reel: grainy, classic and everlasting. Mountains extend their reach to the sky, blooming with fluorescent flowers at the ground equipped with dream-like snow at the top. The air is clean, crisp and clear. The wind blows freely as it weaves its way throughout the land. It is pure bliss. Pure magic. Open your eyes — this is our Earth.
How is it that our luminous Earth only has one dedicated day out of the year? It personally baffles me, for she deserves more. That being said — Earth Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Seeing the majority of people halt their busy lives to take a breath and gaze their eyes upon the generosity of our planet and appreciate it is humbling. Although Earth is constantly providing us with beauty, whether it comes in the form of big mountains or small dainty wildflowers, often times we humans do not provide it with the love that it needs and deserves in turn. Embracing this subject, one particular person came to mind that I really wanted to interview and share her story and her part in loving this world. This influential human makes the choice to live the vegan lifestyle, for she believes it is her way of caring for the Earth herself. This extremely passionate lover of the Earth and all of its creatures is Spark’s very own model, Victoria Jameson.
Spark Magazine: To start off, tell me a little about you and your Vegan journey.
Victoria Jameson: My vegan journey began the night of March 31st and April 1st (kind of ironic since that’s April Fool’s Day). I remember abruptly deciding that night that I wanted to make a change in my life and go vegan. To make a change. It was very drastic and an overnight change. My last meal was fried chicken with red beans and rice and fried plantains — a Puerto Rican staple dinner in my household.
SM: What inspired your vegan transition?
VJ: I know that Instagram played a huge role in my decision to go vegan, being that it was how I found out about it pretty much the day before I made the switch. I didn’t get the difference between vegetarianism and veganism and kept seeing it pop into my feed. So I read up on it more, and it really resonated with me.
SM: What made you decide to go vegan?
VJ: At first I saw a lot of posts about the cruelty that is done to animals and at that moment I made myself become more aware because naturally, we want to look away from any wrongdoing/mistreatment of animals, or anything grotesque. It really only took a few posts of that content (and also some really yummy looking vegan recipes) at the time to make me switch. It wasn’t until afterward that I watched documentaries and really saw my reason for why I wanted to stick with this new lifestyle change.
SM: Do you only eat vegan, or do you live a fully vegan lifestyle?
VJ: I do my best to live a full vegan lifestyle. Personally, I don’t like to purchase anything made out of leather or real fur because those industries are so cruel, and I feel that if more people understood and saw how their clothes are made we’d make more of an effort to not purchase such items. Though I will say that at first I mainly focused on properly incorporating vegan foods and cooking into my lifestyle, but after a few years I got more educated on clothing and the testing of animals when it comes to beauty products.
SM: Have you always had a passion for the Earth and the wellness of it?
VJ: I think that I’ve always tried to do what everyone else does and that mainly includes recycling. I’ve always loved animals, but I just didn’t want to think about how my food was made most of the time. But for the most part, I think most people have that thought of Earth and taking care of it — especially my generation. But most times it’s a fleeting one, and we move on with our day.
SM: What do you think about sustainability in fashion? Do you have any favorite brands?
VJ: I think that this is such an important topic to bring to the forefront of the fashion industry and discussion. There is so much waste in the world, and more than 15 million tons of textile waste is generated in the US each year alone. So many different chemicals are used to turn raw textiles into what we wear today. Each stage of the process of producing clothes takes a toll on the environment, and it’s accelerating at alarming speeds. To put it bluntly: fast fashion is creating an environmental crisis, and we need to be more aware of our buying decisions and who we support. But there are ways that we can definitely move away from that industry. I definitely support sustainable and ethical fashion brands because they have a commitment and have shown how they take responsibility for what they produce. Some of my favorite sustainable brands include Everlane, Reformation (very pricey but very cute) and Pact (for some comfy basics).
SM: How do you describe your style?
VJ: My style is pretty relaxed and comfortable and definitely lazy-college-student. Comfort is huge, but I also don’t like to sacrifice my personal style or mood through my clothes. So I wear a lot of pastels and yellows, and I’ve noticed I’ve been wearing reddish-orange and peachy hues lately. You’ll usually see me in some comfy loose pants or denim jeans along with my vegan Birkenstocks on a typical day. I also like to wear a lot of my mom’s clothes from when she was younger, it makes me feel closer to her; we’re very close…
SM: What is your favorite dish?
VJ: This is such a hard question because how can you possibly pick just one dish? But I would have to say at the moment I’m loving this vegan lasagna that my mom made over the weekend. It’s so creamy and savory and hits in all the right spots. That’s comfort food at its best.
SM: Have you gotten any opportunities for being not only a creative but also vegan?
VJ: I wouldn’t say from being vegan… but definitely from my interest in being more conscious about the environment and wanting to help bring this conversation of sustainability and ethical fashion to the forefront. From that, I was able to score an internship with SelvaBeat Magazine (which is an environmental awareness educational magazine) with a different style. It’s been a blast working with them as a creative intern and learning how an all vegan, ethical and sustainable magazine comes to life.
SM: Where are some of your favorite vegan places to eat in Austin?
VJ: Arlo’s! It’s an Austin staple at this point. They have great vegan burgers, and you can even add vegan mac & cheese on them which I highly recommend. Capital City Bakery is an all-vegan bakery that’s also been featured on the cooking channel! If you want a super moist and soft cupcake or even vegan cheesecake, then please do yourself a favor and try this place out! Bouldin Creek Cafe is also great! So many vegan options and their tofu scramble is so good.Bistro Vonish is amazing as well with their elevated vegan French cuisine! I’m a big sweets person so I love a good French toast for breakfast, and I know they always have my back for brunch on the weekends.
SM: What is your favorite thing about Earth Day?
VJ: It truly is a day, and sometimes a week-long event/celebration that just brings people to talk about some of the issues that are going on. I feel like because it’s during spring, people tend to be in better moods as well, so it’s fun learning about the environment and knowing that you are making a conscious effort to learn more or do more on that day.
SM: What is some advice you would give to people looking to transition to the vegan lifestyle or advice for maybe how people can better themselves and their habits for the wellness of the Earth?
VJ: Take it one day at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself. I feel like people get flustered when they start learning about veganism along with ethical fashion and the sustainability world, and we want to tackle it all, but I say take your time and honestly any little bit of effort helps. Another tip is to plan, plan, plan — make things easier for yourself when it comes to everyday habits like your meals. I would also say have options with you so that you don’t feel that you have nothing to eat because that’s something I hear a lot from new vegans. Lastly, enjoy the ride and the process. Nobody’s perfect, but we can all take steps to better our environmental impact. •
Driven by creativity, Carson Blair is a second-year Radio-Television-Film major. Her interest in film stems from her deep passion for photography, and she pursues freelance photography outside of classes. In her free time, she can be found adventuring around Austin and collaborating with other creatives.