Saturday, November 29, 2008

(Re)Branding Veganism - "Skinny Bitch"

Rory Freedman, former Ford Model agent and author of "Skinny Bitch", won VegNews magazine's 2008 Person of the Year award. It's hard not to notice that Rory's books are an extremely successful example of re-branding veganism ... which I totally appreciate!

From a NY Times article about her cookbook, "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch":

“We knew that there were a lot of girls out there who would never read a vegan book, never buy a diet book that told them they had to give up coffee and Diet Coke,” Ms. Freedman said. “So we decided to package it differently.”

From that casual bit of cynicism, a phenomenon grew. “I don’t think most of the people who buy it here know that it’s a vegan book,” said Lisa Garner, a manager of the boutique Kitson in Los Angeles, a chief Hollywood purveyor of things trendy and frivolous. Normally in the business of selling “it” boots, leopard-print hoodies, and so on to the likes of Nicole Richie and Jessica Simpson, Kitson has sold more than 2,000 copies of “Skinny Bitch.” “They just like the title,” she said.

Kimberly Latham, a fashion publicist in New York, said: “I would never have read ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma.’ I’m not even sure I know what an omnivore is. But I know what a skinny bitch is, and I know I want to be one.”

Also, check this out, from another article:

G Living’s host and author, Rory Freedman, had sales of her book ‘Skinny Bitch’ jump through the roof — thanks in part to the spotlight British Superstar Victoria Beckham brought to it. After the vegetarian former Posh Spice Girl was photographed by paparazzi with the diet book in LA last month, sales of the Skinny Bitch book on UK’s Amazon soared 37,000%! Overnight, Rory’s book went from virtually unknown in the UK at 77,939th on Amazon’s sales chart to 209th on the chart.

And check this out, too. VegNews has identified "veg athletes" as the trend of 2008. One of the athletes listed in VegNews' December 2008 issue is Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder.

According to independent websites, and this ESPN article, many professional athletes became vegetarian or vegan after reading books such as "Mad Cowboy", "The China Study",

... and in Prince Fielder's case, "Skinny Bitch."

Although not a vegan, Fielder doesn't care for cheese, which seems to be the largest sticking point for most people thinking about a transition to a vegan way of eating. What made this 270-pound professional athlete change his diet? Skinny Bitch of all things. (Actually, it was his wife Chanel, who gave him the book to read.) He's only been vegetarian since February, but he already noticing a difference:

"Since I started, I feel amazing. When I wake up, I'm up. I'm not lying around anymore."

Hmmm ... pop culture influences, no? Pretty amazing.

PS - while researching this post, I came across an interesting YouTube channel, Running Raw. Might interest you:

Can a non athlete at 37 become an elite athlete at 40 by switching to a 100% Raw Vegan diet? Grab a seat, kick back and watch Tim VanOrden try to change the world - by Running Raw.

Name: Tim VanOrden; Age: 40; Country: United States

A sample video from the channel: "Tim VanOrden's Running Raw Project: Post workout smoothie"

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