10 Questions: Vegan Rockstar with Jane Velez-Mitchell

Marla Rose
8 min readFeb 28, 2020

One of the hardest working activists on behalf of the animals, legendary journalist and author Jane Velez-Mitchell was known for her indefatigable pursuit of justice from when she hosted her own current affairs show on the HLN network from 2008 until 2014. Now through her #JaneUnChained digital news network, Velez-Mitchell and nearly 70 worldwide contributors promote veganism and animal rights every day through their savvy use of social media, particularly Facebook Live, and through this, JaneUnchained chalks up millions of video views each year, exposing the public to activists, activism, entrepreneurs and more who are working to build a more compassionate world.

It was only a matter of time before Velez-Mitchell spun off her popular daily lunchtime Facebook Live cooking videos into a pioneering series for Amazon Prime called New Day New Chef, which will also be airing on Public Television stations in the spring. With the first season of eight episodes available and a second season of nine episodes currently in production, Velez-Mitchell and a celebrity co-host, like basketball legend John Salley, host a panel of taste-testers and chefs as they show how to create easy, affordable and delicious vegan dishes. With recipes spanning the globe and Velez-Mitchell’s infectious enthusiasm, New Day New Chef promises to make inroads to a public that is becoming more and more hungry for plant-based food. I am proud to feature Jane Velez-Mitchell as this week’s Vegan Rockstar.

1. First of all, we’d love to hear your “vegan evolution” story. How did you start out? Did you have any early influences or experiences as a young person that in retrospect helped to pave your path?

My mother was born on Vieques, a beautiful island that is part of the Puerto Rican commonwealth. When she was a young girl, she had a pig who was a friend and companion. She didn’t realize the animal was destined to be slaughtered for food. When that happened, she fainted and woke up disillusioned with the adults around her and determined to shun meat from then on. She moved to New York City at twelve and formed a successful dance troupe. I grew up in Midtown Manhattan, across from Carnegie Hall. My Irish-American dad was a Mad Men-style advertising executive. Upon marrying my mother, he — with rare exceptions — also shunned…