Famous for the celebrity-centered contest, PETA hosted another “Sexiest Vegetarian” competition in August, this time with slightly different participant criteria. Instead of fame as the foundation, entrants were your average sexy Americans—over 50 years old. Mimi Kirk, 70, took top honors in the women’s category and continues to prove that age is just a number and the veg lifestyle only gets better with time. Hailing from Ramona, Calif., Kirk has been vegetarian for nearly 40 years, and a raw-food vegan for the past year and a half. “I feel like I’m getting younger rather than older,” says Kirk. A fervent traveler now that she’s retired, Kirk took time out of her busy cross-country schedule to chat with VN about her fabulous life, family, and the perfect green smoothie.
VegNews: What triggered your transition to veganism?
Mimi Kirk: I just couldn’t stand the inhumane treatment of animals. I’ve seen how cattle, pigs, and chickens are treated when they’re raised and when they take them to slaughter, unbelievably cruel. And on the health end, all the steroids and antibiotics that are forced into these animals are not good for humans to ingest.
VN: How has a vegan diet benefited you personally, in health and otherwise? What is your approach to food beyond “no animal products?”
MK: I feel like I’m 20 years old. I was just getting sore joints and since going raw, I have no signs of anything. My blood pressure and cholesterol are normalized. I jump out of bed in the morning feeling amazing and don’t get tired like I used to around three or four in the afternoon. My philosophy is to eat as much living/raw food as I can—green drinks, fruits and vegetables, wheatgrass, Thai baby coconut water, nuts, and seeds. I do think vegetarians have to watch what they eat as they can have too much junk food.
VN: How do you use up all of your abundant energy?
MK: Since I’m retired, my boyfriend and I travel quite a bit. We spent six weeks in Italy and currently are on a month-long trip around the country. And we spend time with family that comes to visit and friends. My grandchildren love to visit us. [I have] seven grandchildren with the oldest being 20 in November. I raised my children for many years as vegetarians; out of my four children, my two girls follow the raw/vegan lifestyle. One is 100 percent like me, and the other is almost there at 80 to 90 percent raw vegan.
VN: Has the award affected your day-to-day?
MK: First my Facebook grew from 100 to 800 friends, and is still growing. Really, I never thought I was old, but people seem to think that someone my age shouldn’t look or feel like I do. When they ask for my longevity secrets, I think, “Gee, I’m not that old, am I?”
VN: You’re a big fan of green smoothies. Care to share your favorite recipe?
MK No two are alike, that’s what’s so great. But one would be celery, cucumber, spinach, apple, goji berries, maca, and sometimes I put other fruit in like blueberries, banana, or whatever is in season.
VN: What’s your personal philosophy in five words or less?
MK: Don’t eat animals, love them!
The Many Careers of Mimi Kirk
From Hollywood to home entertaining, Kirk has one of the most diverse, fun résumés around:
Mary Tyler Moore’s stand-in for her 1970’s sitcom
Appeared on “Star Trek” as a Native American hand maiden
Designed Valerie Harper’s clothes for TV and film
Operated a jewelry business
Published and edited enviro paper The City Planet