In 2018, there were about 400 million people who identify as vegan or vegetarian around the world. That’s about 1% of the world’s population. That statistic has seen a sharp uptake in recent years, although it is boosted by the 30-40% of the 1.4 billion Indian population that keep up a vegetarian diet for religious reasons.
Regardless, it is estimated that about 6% of Americans and 2% of UK residents adhere to a vegan diet in 2019. More and more movie stars, sports people and other celebrities are taking up a plant-based diet – for both ethical and health-based reasons. We’ve split these into a few broad categories here, to show you just how diverse (and famous) are many of the faces taking up veganism around the world today.
Starting out we have Venus and Serena Williams, two American sisters who are among the greatest and most successful female tennis players of all time. Legendary for her powerful physique, Serena adopted the diet after her difficult pregnancy in 2017. It seemed to help her return to the court, as she reached two Grand Slam finals and rocketed back up the world rankings into the top 10 again.
Other highly notable vegan sportspeople include iconic former world champion boxer Mike Tyson, world champion ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek, British champion boxer David Haye (who credited a vegan diet for his swift injury comeback in 2014)and English Premier League football players Jermain Defoe and Fabian Delph. Also a vegan, although relatively media shy about it, is infamous former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Media & Movie Stars
Easily the longest part of this article if we were to be fully inclusive, we’ve simply picked out a few of the most famous and surprising examples. Bucking the once common but now dated stereotype of vegans as hemp-wearing, non-bathing crusty hippies, we have Zac Efron, Benedict Cumberbatch, Samuel L Jackson and Brad Pitt – all men noted for their conventional good looks and healthy, attractive physiques. Indeed old Ben Cumberbatch said that he first took up a vegan diet to get in shape for the original Avengers movie back in 2016.
In the world of music, famous vegans include worldwide superstar Madonna, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, pop-starlet Miley Cyrus and Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ vocal legend Anthony Kiedis. A long-time committed vegan, from way back in the 90s’, is electronic music producer Moby – who opened a plant-based café in Los Angeles way before it was cool in 2002, although it sadly closed its doors in 2015.
A few other famous vegan musicians include worldwide chart-topper Ariana Grande, Canadian rock legend Bryan Adams and British X-Factor winner Leona Lewis.
Politicians & Super-Rich
Top of the obvious list here is well-known environmentalist and former US Presidential candidate Al Gore. Other politicians and powerful people who have taken up the vegan lifestyle include former President Bill Clinton, Whole Foods founder John Mackey and Def Jam Records co-founder and hip-hop multi-media millionaire mogul Russel Simmons – who also happens to be one of the longest serving vegans on this list, having been so since 1997.