Not Your Garden-Variety Vegetarians in PETA's Poll

Joaquin Phoenix wore vegan cowboy boots in
Joaquin Phoenix wore vegan cowboy boots in "Walk the Line." He has been entered into PETA's contest for the "World's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity." (By Suzanne Tenner -- Twentieth Century Fox)
By Joseph Dionisio
Thursday, June 7, 2007

Natalie Portman starred in the film "V for Vendetta," but off-screen her lifestyle could well be titled V for vegetarian. The Long Island, N.Y., native joins a list of 233 celebrities in PETA's sixth annual Sexiest Vegetarian poll, which runs through June 23 at

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Portman had fake leather shoes made for her role in the 2006 comic-book movie.

"A lot of folks take their cues on what to wear and what to eat from celebrities," says PETA spokesman Michael McGraw. "It's a fantastic thing that vegetarianism has taken root in Hollywood."

Yet California isn't the only bastion for non-carnivores. If Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich were to win the 2008 presidential election, he'd break the meat barrier -- as opposed to the more hyped race and gender barriers -- as the first vegetarian in the White House.

Which sexy stars qualified for PETA's contest? Here are a few who hope to dethrone reigning champs Kristen Bell and Prince:

Alyssa Milano, who stars in PETA's upcoming "Let Vegetarianism Grow on You" campaign, Tobey Maguire, Common, Morrissey (the "Meat Is Murder" singer), Forest Whitaker, David Duchovny, Joaquin Phoenix (who wore vegan cowboy boots as Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line"), Milo Ventimiglia, Shania Twain, Orlando Jones, Carrie Underwood (the "American Idol" alum says she'd rather sing to cows than eat them), Alicia Silverstone, Mos Def, Def Leppard's Phil Collen, Ed Begley Jr., Paul McCartney, Boy George and Jared Leto.

We asked several celebs how long they've been vegetarians, why they gave up eating animals and to dish on their favorite faux-meat products:

Actress Daryl Hannah -- "Since age 11. . . . I was no longer able to disassociate what I was eating from the creature it had been. Many fake meats have soy isolate . . . which can cause health problems. I really look at the ingredients and try to stick to whole foods."

Kucinich -- "Twelve years ago. . . . Initially, it was for health reasons. Then it also became a matter of respect for the lives and the treatment of animals, as evident in [my] voting record on animal issues. . . . Favorites are Tofurky's Kielbasa and the vegan Gardenburger."

Actress Emily Deschanel -- "Sixteen years ago, after watching [a school video about] the meat and dairy industries. . . . I do eat some meat alternatives. I love [the wheat/soy protein] Gardein. You can only get it at Whole Foods. It's very tasty."

Actress Constance Marie -- "No red meat [for] 23 years. . . . Meat made my body feel heavy and bloated. I started to think, what's the difference between eating a chicken or your family pet? Both are living, breathing animals with a face. . . . The quality of American meat is questionable. . . . Veggie hot dogs are my favorites!"

Singer Chrissie Hynde -- "Since 1969. . . . I cannot justify the unnecessary exploitation of an animal. I will eat whatever I am offered, provided no animals have suffered."

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