Drew Khandi is one of the 20 men and women who are up for PETA's ninth annual Sexiest Vegan Next Door award. While the contest is indeed a shameless display of 20 gorgeous people, it's also PETA's way of educating others that vegans aren't all crunchy, hippie-dippie people. Khandi an aspiring singer from Queens, N.Y., is gay, and he loves animals and vegan quesadillas. He's also looking to win the vote-in contest by Friday to win a trip to Hawaii (a bioethically responsible trip, of course). Here's what he has to say about dating nonvegans and the cow that made him give up meat forever.
The Advocate: What first inspired you to go vegan?
Drew Khandi: I follow a lot of vegan nutritionalists and activists, and I remember it very vividly. On December 15, 2011, I was inspired by those activists to start watching some documentaries on veganism and animal abuse, particularly Forks Over Knives. So that night I started watching, and when I looked into the eyes of a cow that was going to be put down, I could see and feel the fear, sadness, and pain. Not to mention vegans are slimmer, have healthier hearts, lower propensities for obesity, cancer, and diabetes. Also, by switching to a vegan diet, I can save 100 animals a year from slaughter and maltreatment. From that moment on, I knew I would be vegan forever and never, ever look back.