Until now, I have resisted saying anything about this annoying story—which highlights yet another influencer pivoting from her veganism in a public way—due to a) lack of interest, b) eyes that would not stop rolling, c) a desire to not indulge anyone’s self-absorbed tendencies, and d) an equally keen desire to not boost anyone’s visibility. I can see from my Google alerts that this story isn’t going away, though, so it’s probably time to address it. I watched her video announcing her shift so that you don’t have to, gentle reader. Don’t say I never did anything for you.
From vegan to “carnivore”
There once was an influencer who built a sizable following on social media by promoting a plant-based diet (perhaps you can see where this story is going). I had never heard of this individual before but that really is not a yardstick for anything. This particular individual started not only eating flesh and animal products again, but recently went whole hog, as it were, into what she calls a 30-day carnivore challenge, a diet that she describes in her video as a month of eating only “meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and organs such as the liver and brain,” and excludes everything else except bulletproof coffee and matcha tea (‘cuz an influencer’s gotta live). Despite this being called a “carnivore diet,” we see the influencer—who claims to have been vegan for nearly five years—cooking steaks on a grill and bacon in a skillet, which you can find true carnivores doing in nature, along with using salt grinders, refrigeration, electricity, indoor plumbing, and selfie sticks.
Her “coming out” post
What this influencer did is as old the dawn of YouTube: She built a decent base of followers by promoting a plant-based diet and then she did a 180. She started eating animals—lots and lots of animals. I cannot know her intentions but it does seem like an obvious grab for clicks and attention whenever someone does this, as many have done before her, and I am sure many will do after her. (I’ve actually forgotten her name at this point. Anna? Angela? Ashley? Does it matter? No.) The point is that her “coming out” post and video follows a timeworn, paint-by-numbers template: Assert that you were experiencing stubborn but completely vague health issues as a vegan. Check. Shoot a video with wide eyes, a tentative voice, and practically an audible gulp to show that you’re nervous about what you’re about to do. Check. Remind people that you built your entire online identity around being vegan. (What a risk-taker!) Check. The self-described Mindset Transformation Queen (Is this a royal lineage you’re born into?) took it all in stride because she lives for a stunt—er, I mean, challenge—along with her other challenges of a year without deodorant, three years of not applying heat to her hair (???), and that harrowing nail-biter of a month without social media.
And then the sponsors sneak in
At this point, I should say that she—Amy?—broke a little from script and actually sponsored her foray into her 30 days of flesh-eating by, in her words, “team[ing] up” with Butcher Box, a monthly subscription service that drops dead animals packed in a box with dry ice conveniently at your door, you know, like how carnivores do things. It’s only sensible to monetize your 30-day stunt eating expedition with a robust brand collaboration, so no one can say Amanda isn’t clever. Way to hustle! Of course, a core conceit of this brand Annabelle is affiliated with is the notion that you can eat sensitive beings who did not want to die in a compassionate and ethical way, and that’s right up her alley, too, so isn’t that a perfect win-win? The synergy sizzles like the bacon frying in Allison’s skillet. We see Alisha picking up eggs at a farmers’ market and do a weird little happy jig I have never seen over ovum, eat bacon on her couch, buy meat at the grocery store, and for some reason, this is interwoven with shots of the ocean and scenes of people surfing, but I have stopped asking questions at this point. Because natural? Nature? Balance? Water? I have no idea.
Is it over yet?
Putting aside the idea that you can be complicit in the violent deaths of those you profess to care about, how many planets would it take to accommodate the diets of those who emphasize eating animals? And how many iterations of the high-protein, low-carb diet—diets that induce the state of ketosis and have been known variously as Banting, Atkins, paleo, and more since the 19th century—must we bust out again before the novelty wears off? And how many influencers need to go through this whole “breaking up with veganism” song and dance before they are too embarrassed to trudge out this hackneyed trope again? Allie said in her video that she feels “super, like, mentally clear right now” after her 30 days of eating only eggs and carcasses, and she’s suddenly wearing glasses now, so we know it’s serious and scholarly. But I think what she is super, like, mentally clear on is clicks, future brand collabs, and growing her brand. In other words, it’s the same ol’, same ol’. Can we move on? We see you, thirsty influencers, and it’s beyond tired.
Marla Rose is co-founding partner of VeganStreet.com.
Photo credit: YouTube/Alyse Parker