During a year filled with so much doom and gloom, Tabitha Brown made the world crack a smile. For this reason, and a whole lot more, the bubbly vegan influencer was just nominated as PETA’s 2020 Person Of The Year.
“Tabitha Brown is fun, friendly, helpful, humane, and living, breathing proof that a joyful spirit and a clean conscience are keys to a happy, healthy life,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement given to ESSENCE. “PETA is honoring Tabitha Brown for being a breath of vegan fresh air in the weirdest year ever.”
Brown went vegan in 2017 after dealing with a host of health issues that at one point became debilitating. During her appearance on ESSENCE’s Virtual Wellness House, Brown shared her testimony, saying that what started off as a 30-day vegan challenge became her saving grace in more ways than one. “I always tell people, I didn’t start eating non-vegan food because it wasn’t good,” she said. “I did it to save my life.”
If you’re apart of the millions that follow Brown on social media, you’ll know that all of the fun plant-based recipes she concocts are unforgettable. Her now-viral carrot bacon tutorial catapulted her following exponentially, only to be topped by creative and flavor-packed recipes like her vegan take on a Philly cheesesteak (made with pecans as the meat substitute), her take on fish sticks made with hearts of palm.
But Brown isn’t winning solely because of her culinary skills. She also posts encouraging videos for her followers about keeping faith when all hope seems lost. “My goal is to always make people feel loved, seen, and heard,” Brown told ESSENCE back in May. “That is part of the reason I do my videos very close to my face. I want people to feel like it’s just me talking. I’m here for you, and thankfully, God has really purposed me for this moment.”
To commemorate Brown’s Person Of The Year nomination, PETA teamed up with Brown for a recreation of Norman Rockwell’s famous painting “Freedom From Want” to promote vegan eating. The painting was created by Houston-born “artivist” Nikkolas Smith—known for his portraits of George Floyd, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Chadwick Boseman, and others.
In addition to Brown, the painting features other influential vegans: Ava DuVernay, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Jermaine Dupri, Aladdin’s Mena Massoud, The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole and rapper Grey.