WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah --You've probably heard of People Magazine's “Sexiest Man” or “Sexiest Woman” alive lists, but what about the sexiest vegan?
The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently crowned two winners in the much narrower category, and one of them is from Utah.
That man is Victor Barragan, and he said the title of Sexiest Vegan Next Door is about more than just looks.
“There’s so many things that veganism can help with,” he said. “The world, it’s for the animals, it’s for the people, it’s for your health.”
Barragan is a fire performer and stars in his own online cooking videos, and now the West Valley City man is being honored by PETA after he beat out contestants from across the nation.
He said veganism hasn't always been a part of his life: “When I found out that animals became our food, I always questioned it: 'Why should we do that?' And that is eventually what helped me become a vegetarian."
One year after that decision, he became vegan and has lived the lifestyle for about four years now.
The 27 year old said it was a tough decision to make.
“You have this concept, especially with Mexicans, that if you don’t eat meat, you don’t enjoy your food, it’s like what else do you have left?" he said. "My dad always jokes around, like, 'All you eat is rabbit food—that’s the only option you got.' But actually, I enjoy all the same food that I enjoyed before... but it’s just vegan version.”
Barragan said there are benefits to eating vegan.
“A lot of people are under the misunderstanding that you need to eat an animal in order to build muscle, to be healthy, to run fast, things like that,” he said.”…I always tell them I didn’t use to be able to do these things until I went vegan.”
Barragan said the sexiest vegan contest is more than just looks.
“It actually has a lot to do with standing up for animals,” he said.
He spoke about his reasons for standing up for animals.
“A lot of times people aren't aware," he said. "They just see a plate of food in front of them and they don’t think, ‘Oh this was an animal that wanted to live with their family as much as anybody else does.’”
Now, Barragan plans to take his new title further by creating a cookbook and continuing to promote veganism.
“There are many different ways of advocating for veganism,” he said. “Some ways work for some people, some other ways don’t work for people. I think any way of raising awareness is good.”