Today we have the absolute delight in sharing with you one of very first followers of The VE; Giulia Diana! Giulia completely won us over with her cool, edgy style and honest, authentic voice. She discusses with us her thoughts on veganism becoming trendy and her passions and goals in life. Read on to find out more…
Hi Giulia! Tell us a bit about your childhood and background and how you feel that has influenced you today?
Hi, my name is Giulia Diana. I’m Italian, 32 years old and I come from Aprilia; a small city close to Rome. I became vegetarian when I was 16 and vegan 5 years ago. My love for animals is something I was born with and grew up with. All the other members of my family were omnivores, but we always had cats and dogs we found on the street in our house.
I’m an only child and my parents raised me to be respectful towards others, but also a free spirit.
My choice to become vegan was thought-out, I think I have to thank a girl whom I don’t know personally, but who came up to me at a fair in Rome while I was watching a video about the killing of cows for food, crying. She consoled me, telling me that I could do a lot by just not eating meat. I have her in my heart even if she doesn’t know it.
When did you decide to go vegan and why?
Ever since I was little, even though I still ate animals, I loved them so much. So by the time I was 13 I started gravitating towards the vegetarian world, taking part in some animal protection agencies like L.A.V. When I was 16 I decided to become more serious about it and began to inform myself about everything else, not just food, by make-up, leather used for shoes and bags, wool and honey.
Thus, starting the day of my birthday; January 21st, 2000, I set out on a intimate and important journey that has brought me to change my life and I’m proud of it.
You have such a fun and colourful Instagram account, how do you make being vegan fun?
Thank you for the compliment! I started using Instagram a few years ago as I figured out that I could tell the whole world about my life as a vegan. In this way others could see that being vegan doesn’t mean you have to just give things up, it can be fun if you’re willing to do your research and make it a part of your life.
About a year ago I started using the hashtag #SEITANtoFICA which in Italian means “you are really hot”, it’s a sort of play on words with SEITAN.
My boyfriend came up with this name on my behalf and I’m quite grateful to him because it’s cool and it totally represents my vegan lifestyle, which also intersects with fashion and the discovery of new tendencies.
What do you do as a job and how did you first find going vegan?
I’m originally an art, event and music curator, but I’ve recently moved to Milan (3 months ago) because I would like to become a funeral planner and organise funerals in the American style (with the vegan touch, obviously) here in Italy. It’s a difficult task, but I’m going to make it!
In the meantime, I collaborate with an Italian site veganfriendly.it , for which I write reviews about Milanese restaurants and produce some events.
My boyfriend and I also have an eco, vegan accessory line with patterns designed by him and the bags sewn by me. It’s called Ho Capito Che.
I have lots of other projects, but I can’t talk about them….you know, we’re superstitious in Italy!
What do your friends, boyfriend and family think about you now being vegan?
Let’s just say they’re all ok with my choice, my mum has been exploring my vegan world for the last few years even if she’s not vegan. My dad makes fun of me, but in good spirit, and my boyfriend is practically vegan. And my friends appreciate my skill in the kitchen! I’m good at cooking because I love to do it and it shows!
What’s your one health tip?
I’m not vegan because it’s “good for you”, in fact, I smoke! Obviously, the tobacco is certified VEGANOK and the rolling papers are organic. The advice I can give is to walk a lot and get exercise, I do so despite my high heels! hahahah…. Oh, and to eat in a balanced way, of course….
What’s it like being vegan in the city you live in?
When I became vegetarian in my native city, it wasn’t so easy. Above all, making people understand and appreciate my choice wasn’t easy. Then I lived in Rome and Naples for many years and there it was easier because they’re bigger cities. And in any case, many Mediterranean dishes are vegetable, legume, pasta and fruit based, which means I’m well off in the eating department as a vegan.
It’s now easier to find vegan food, but sometimes not other things. Lately, however, there has been some growth in vegan stores, like perfumeries and others as well.
Now that I’m in Milan; which is even more international, I have more choice.
Why do you think there has been such a rise in veganism over the last few years?
I think it’s due to a rise in awareness in general and because it’s something that has been talked about lately. Many people have made this choice for health reasons only, thus leaving out the aspect regarding make-up and clothing.
And, of course, since the beginning of time, there are people who make decisions based on the sole fact that it’s currently fashionable. Fashions come and go, but I hope that with time people will listen to their consciousness as well.
What inspires you?
Art, fashion, design for sure and I like to have my own, very personal, style. In food as well…
I love the gypsy and kitsch style!
What’s your average day like?
I don’t really have an average day because I live in a big city, Milan, and there are plenty of different things to do every day. Art shows, sewing courses, happy hours and events of every sort. I lead a full life. The only set thing is my morning walk with my little dog Fefè. I found him in the street 3 years ago.
Do you think you have a work/life balance?
Yes, I’m very happy with both my personal and work life. I just hope to be able to make my dream of being a funeral planner come true!
What’s next for you?
As I said, working on my dream work wise.
For now, I’m not thinking about getting married or having children. I think I’m still too young. I love my boyfriend and we have a happy life with our animals, Fefè and Vincent, a black cat we found on the street in a garbage bin when he was just 10 minutes old.
But you never know, life is not something you can plan out completely!
We loved catching up with Giulia and having the amazing opportunity to hear all about her exciting, creative lifestyle. We hope you enjoyed it as much as us!
All images via Giulia Diana.