Interview with Vegan Author/Model David Raphael Hildebrand!  »

David is a vegan model and author from Philadelphia living in Brooklyn! Just like me! Except the model and author part! AND GUESS WHAT: We have the same birthday (February 25th and I love Edible Arrangements)! So we are both Pisces by popular understanding. It is hard being a Pisces so we are naturally bonded and new best friends.

David was kind enough to do an interview for us! We love to interview attractive interesting vegans! Without further ado:

First of all, how cool are people from Philadelphia?
D. R. Hildebrand: Very! Put it like this, on a scale of one to two we’re definitely a two.

Next of all, why are you vegan?
D. R. Hildebrand: Why am I vegan? Because the moral of life is not to take but to give; and I’m not willing to take what I wouldn’t otherwise be willing to give.

How long have you been vegan?
D. R. Hildebrand: I was raised pesco-vegetarian. My oldest sister was on a class trip to a farm when I was still a toddler and she came home a changed lady. The whole house went vegetarian and that, as a result, was the way I came to know the world. When I graduated from college I lived abroad for two years, in Germany and Israel. Almost as soon as I arrived in Germany I met a spunky Aussie sheila named Sarah who was running and was a vegan chef (Sarah has actually cooked for Sea Shepherd.  Pretty cool, no?  If you’re ever in Melbourne, definitely visit her). Anyway, Sarah introduced me to vegan pastries, vegan activists, and to a little thing called—are you ready for this?—conscious consumerism. It’s wild, I know. That was about eight years ago and I’ve been clean ever since.

Favorite animal?
D. R. Hildebrand: Are you kidding? Camels! They have this warmth, this air of aplomb. They’re so gracious.

Got any companion animals? Pictures!
D. R. Hildebrand: I don’t. I travel too often and that would be unfair.

Favorite food?

D. R. Hildebrand: That’s a tough one. Call me extravagant but I really enjoy rice and beans. I make a mean tuna melt (chickpea and soy) and a pretty kick-ass sweet potato kugel. This might sound over the top, I know, but I love a freezing cold apple with peanut butter. Am I glutton? [Ed. note: I love apple and peanut butter too! I’m all about Pink Ladies right now]

Favorite cookbook?
D. R. Hildebrand: Hmm, another good one. I tend to get new ideas straight off the web. Vegan with a Vengeance is pretty much an obvious necessity though.

Favorite vegan restaurant?
D. R. Hildebrand: Oh, you’re killing me, I’m starving! A few way up on the list are definitely Sacred Chow, Pure Food and Wine, Angelica Kitchen, Wild Ginger, Gobo, and Counter, but really that’s just not a fair question. I’ll tell you there’s this tiny, really tiny place called Terri at 23rd and 6th that’s maybe a year or two young. The Thanksgiving sandwich is insane. The meatball sub, the cupcakes… And they keep stacks of The China Study front and center for sale. Love that little joint. [Ed. note: that’s up the street from my work! I go there all the time! The chickpea tuna melt is out of sight and when the omnis are good on Meatless Monday, I get them apple cider donuts from there]

Who’s got better vegan food: Philly or NYC?
D. R. Hildebrand: Please don’t hate me Philadelphia… [Ed. note: they are not a forgiving people]

Vegan celebrity you want to bang?
D. R. Hildebrand: Now that’s just shocking. I assumed we were both advocates for non-violence.

Peta: Y/N?
D. R. Hildebrand: When PETA’s at its best—stealth, savvy, brazenly creative—they rock. When they get all puerile and lose their cool—pie throwing, blood slinging—they rock less. The celebrity campaigns have been great. What they need to do is connect more with kids. We all need to connect with kids. Compassion needs to be a lifestyle and a culture. Children already seek it so why not bring it to them and cultivate it?

LOLCats: Y/N?
D. R. Hildebrand: I don’t see the humor in belittling personifications, but that’s just me…

So, you model, are you super into fashion? Who’s your favorite vegan designer?
D. R. Hildebrand: If jeans and T-shirts count as fashion, then yeah, I’m into fashion. I have a lot of respect for Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (former model by the way) of Vaute Couture, MATT & NAT, Olsen Haus, Dalia MacPhee. I have a lot of respect for Stella McCartney, too. She fights a much more rigid status quo than most people realize.

Are a lot of models vegan or what?
D. R. Hildebrand: You know, I’ll show up for a shoot in New York and the catering company will bring almost no meat or dairy. It’s amazing. My guess is the number is pretty high. Of those who do eat and drink non-vegan meals, many probably do so rarely. I’ve definitely never heard of a model on an Atkins or South Beach diet. Those are just a crock of shit and everyone knows it.

What’s your book about? Is the protagonist vegan? Any overt or covert vegan messages?
D. R. Hildebrand: I thought you’d never ask! It’s called Walking Marina and it’s a straight-forward look at the male modeling industry. The protagonist journeys through a gauntlet of experiences and does, along the way, gravitate to veganism. Yes, there are covert and overt vegan messages throughout, not because I am, but because it jives with the plot. You can find the book at my site,, or on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

Do you have any amazing nicknames I should know about?
D. R. Hildebrand: None that I can think of. Got any suggestions? [Ed. note: we’ll be taking suggestions, audience!]

Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
D. R. Hildebrand: Absafrickinlutely! Why not tonight? [Ed. note: OMG no one ever says yes! I don’t know how to respond!]

Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
D. R. Hildebrand: Yeah, how’d you get so darn vegalicious?

There’s actually a recipe!: 1 part Earth Balance, 2 parts vegan chocolate chips and a half ounce of sunshine!

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