Allisyn Ashley Arm is best known as star of the Disney Channel’s “Sonny with a Chance” and “So Random!” which we think is extremely cool! But what made this interview our most exciting to date was that Allisyn is not only Vegan, but a teen herself. We couldn't wait to chat to her and find out what she thought of TeenVGN – the Social Network for Teenage Vegetarians and Vegans.
Allisyn is seventeen years old and lives in Los Angeles with her parents. Not only is she a successful actress but also a sketch comedienne and artist. Allisyn started acting just before her fifth birthday. She then went on to appear in television commercials, before appearing in episodes of Friends and several films before landing a starring role in the Disney teen sitcom.
The first question on our lips was, how and why did Allisyn decide to lead a compassionate lifestyle? “I went vegetarian at age 10 after reading a magazine and learning about the poor treatment of animals. My mom had been a vegetarian for years, and my sister was born and raised vegetarian, so we never had too much meat in the house anyway. Shortly after I stopped eating meat, my dad went vegetarian also.”
We asked Allisyn about when she made the switch to being Vegan and whether she found it difficult; “At 12 years old I made the transition to vegan. It's a lot easier to make the commitment to a healthy diet when your parents are on board, and willing to try new vegan recipes. I started researching the best foods to eat to make sure I had a balanced diet, and stumbled upon a fantastic book called "The China Study," which prompted me to cut all animal products out of my diet. I have passed this book on to several family members and friends, who then made the transition too.”
So, if you’re a teen vegan living in LA. Where’s the best place to eat? “Los Angeles is packed with restaurants that offer a variety of vegan and vegetarian foods. One of my family's favourite is "The Veggie Grill." I always order the Santa Fe Crispy Chicken sandwich (fake chicken of course), and the vegan Mac N' Cheese. We go to the Veggie Grill in Hollywood quite frequently, so if you stop by for a bite sometime, you just might run into us!”
We love that Allisyn is enormously proactive for the animals, and dedicated to encouraging and educating people about the perks of a Vegan lifestyle “I'm always getting tweets and letters from kids and teens who are curious and interested in trying a vegan diet. My biggest piece of advice to any newbie is to do the research and make sure you're eating a well-rounded diet. Being vegan doesn't mean living off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I've had so many friends who will just cut out all the animal products from their diet, without replacing it with the right foods to keep them healthy and active. So make sure to eat lots of spinach and leafy greens, and take iron supplements if necessary!” We wondered whether her co-stars on set are ever inquisitive about veganism, “I do get a lot of questions about being vegan which I'm happy to answer.”
We mentioned to Allisyn that we are currently running a campaign to encourage schools to offer more Vegetarian and Vegan options, so that children have a choice and don’t feel left out. Allisyn agreed; “It's very important for school's to have healthy lunch options, especially since the number of vegetarian and vegan kids is constantly growing.”
We also talked to Allisyn about the importance of adopting and rescuing pets instead of buying from breeders, and our recent campaign video filmed at an animal rescue shelter, “My family has two lovable and adorable rescue dogs that we adopted from the local shelter. If you're looking to add a new furry member to the family, adopting is a great choice! Buying from pet stores and breeders and supporting that industry will only add to the overpopulation of dogs and cats and pack the shelters past capacity, causing thousands of homeless animals to get put down every day.”
As a teen vegan herself, we were absolutely delighted that Allisyn loved the TeenVGN website, “I just made a TeenVGN account and am very excited to chat with some fellow young veggie lovers and answer questions!” She even had some tips for members on raising funds for TeenVGN and the animals “One of the easiest ways to raise money is to ask friends and family to donate money in your name in lieu of a Christmas or birthday present. I've also held charity backyard movie nights before, where kids bring blankets and lawn chairs over and we watch a movie on a big projector. I usually charge about $5 for tickets and all proceeds will go to a selected charity. You can also sell popcorn, drinks, and candy. Be sure to have a donation bucket available too for people who want to contribute a little extra.”
As we continued with the interview Allisyn told us that in her spare time she loves reading books and listening to music; “It's too hard to pick one favorite, but some of my favorite books include Ender's Game, Harris and Me, Lord of the Flies, The Outsiders, Shutter Island, The Likeness, and so many more! As for music, I'm a huge fan of Bright Eyes, Wilco, Radiohead, The Cure, and Rumspringa.” She is also a bit of a roller derby girl “Last summer I played on the SFV junior team! My derby name is Blooderfly. I love playing roller derby and attending practices when my schedule permits.”
We concluded by asking Allisyn what project she had lined up “I recently worked on a pilot which is testing right now. Waiting to hear if it gets picked up, fingers crossed!” And plans for the future? “Art is a huge passion of mine. I'd love to start designing graphic t-shirts. Also, turning some of my quirky sketches into 3D characters and making short animated films, and maybe eventually I'll produce and direct some feature films and follow in the steps of Tim Burton.” - TeenVGN HQ