First off Ashlynn, I have been just dying to know, since we first connected months ago. How did you get into modelling and when did you become a vegan?
When I was fourteen I got scouted on Instagram by Jeni Rose, the Vice President of IMG Models. She commented on a picture of me, which my sister had taken, asking for me to contact her. A few months later I was in Paris signing a contract.
I have been a vegan now for just over a year. First I cut out all red meat products, then I gave up fish and chicken. After doing more research I realised that I did not want to contribute to the agriculture industry at all, becoming plant-based in September 2015.
What agency(or agencies) are you currently signed with, and where do you currently live?
I live in The Hague in the Netherlands. I have lived here for 11 years, after moving from North Carolina in the United States. My mother agency is IMG Models, however I also have a local agency here in the Netherlands called Dune Agency.
What was your biggest reason for becoming vegan?
My biggest reason for becoming vegan was the environmental impacts of eating animal products. I was shocked after watching Cowspiracy, this was the main inspiration for me to go vegan. I found out that “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction,” and as someone who has always loved animals and nature this really hit home. I believe that we need to take care of our planet and once I realised how my diet was effecting the world around us, I knew something had to change.
Is anyone else in your family vegetarian or vegan?
I am the only full vegan in my family, however my sister eats plant-based when she's at home and my dad calls himself an “accidental vegetarian.” My mum has not eaten any red meat for years, so I grew up not being exposed much to beef or pork. My family has been extremely supportive and I have shown them that our family dinners can be just as good (even better) when they are vegan.
Personally I believe that it is a bit of an assumption that all vegans eat healthy, how do you keep yourself in check, balance nutrients, and eat healthy?
When I first went vegan I did lots of research to ensure that I was aware of the health issues within a plant-based diet. I have good energy levels and generally feel good health wise, so I don't worry too much about nutrients as I know that my diet is balanced. Despite this, I did recently go get a blood check just to make sure that everything was all right, and my nutrient levels were all at least average. I eat food which makes me feel good, usually a lot of rice, pasta, beans, fruit, vegetables and hummus (my favorite!). I try to eat minimal amounts of processed food, but occasionally eat “vegan junk” such as ice cream, Oreos and chocolate chip cookies because, let’s be honest, it tastes good. I do supplement with B12 as every vegan should.
Have you had the opportunity to work for any vegan fashion designers?
Sadly not yet, but I hope to in the future. This magazine is actually the first shoot I have done relating veganism and fashion.
That is super exciting we are the first related to veganism, I have no doubt however you will have many more reasons as the fashion world becomes more 'green.' Another and a bit of a controversial topic among many vegans is do you wear and buy leather? I am sure that some shoots and shows you are in, you don't yet have the choice, but from day to day when not modeling do you wear leather if its vintage or recycled?
I have stopped buying leather myself as I still see it as contributing to the industry, but I do still sometimes wear some of my leather shoes which I bought before going vegan. I honestly have never considered about whether I would buy it if it was vintage or recycled. Personally I think recycling leather’s great, as it means it does not go to waste. However, I’m unsure if I would actually buy it.
Glad to have brought the idea of 'vintage' leather to your mind, personally being vegetarian myself I wear vintage leather and sometimes get ridiculed for it, but stay strong in I also believe that it should not go to waste. So onto green beauty, are there any that you are currently using in your daily routine?
I have recently been using a lot of The Body Shop products. I especially like their new tea tree oil line. I use their face wash, toner and BB cream.
What vegan snack can you never leave home without?
I would have to say my favourite vegan snack is hummus. I honestly could eat a whole pot of it in a day. Regarding snacks that I bring with me places, it would probably be the chocolate and orange NAKD bar.
Do you have a favorite vegan restaurant? What dish do you typically go for?
I’ve honestly been to so many great vegan restaurants thanks to the Happy Cow app that I can’t pick just one. I remember one in particular in Tokyo called Cafe 6BT. Their food was just so fresh, and especially in a city where the language barrier was so difficult it was nice knowing I could just order anything off the menu. I also really love the vegan bakery Cookies and Scream in Camden Market in London, their chocolate chip cookie with ice cream is to die for.
Okay you just sold me on Cookies and Scream, I am making that my first stop next time I am in London! Any advice for those who are contemplating becoming vegan?
My best advice to those considering veganism is to do your research. The more research you do, the easier it becomes. The internet helped me understand more about the reasons behind becoming vegan and also helped answer many health questions. There is also a whole vegan community online that I would suggest getting into. Sometimes its great to join in on a vegan Facebook group or watch vegan YouTubers to remind you that you are not alone.
featuring Ashlynn White of IMG Models Paris and Dune Agency