Samantha Michelle is a Canadian actress who recently starred in “Blood Rush” as Jessica. “Blood Rush” is a horror movie about a town where all residents are taken over by blood lust, and recently screened in Los Angeles to rave reviews from critics.
Samantha’s past projects include theatrical work as well as roles in “Born of War” and “The Degenerates.”
Fit Celeb was able to chat with the actress about her healthy lifestyle, which includes eating vegan and keeping up with regular exercise.
Fit Celeb: How long have you been vegan?
Samantha Michelle: Since I was 16/17. First, I cut out meat, then chicken, then fish, then dairy. So it was a more gradual process as opposed to a sudden change.
FC: What turned you on to being vegan?
SM: It was sort of strange, my reasons for being vegan have certainly evolved and developed over time. Initially, it was simply because I thought there was something quite sweet about the cows my family and I would drive by on our way to my cottage in Canada and I just found myself, suddenly, at about age 16 repulsed by the idea of eating one.
So I tried not to anymore, and I never really missed it. Then I found myself feeling similarly about the birds that would appear in my neighborhood in Toronto in the springtime, and I would be so careful not to run them over, as at this point I started driving, and the
birds would prance around and often fail to flee from cars and it occurred to me – if I’m so concerned about not killing them, why am I so untroubled by eating them? So I stopped, and again, found myself not missing chicken in my diet at all. I’m a sauce/ flavor/ texture
person and so I found myself able to experience my favorite dishes and enjoy those dishes without using an animal in them. Now, I remain vegan simply because I believe you are what you eat – not what you wear, but what you eat, it defines how you feel in terms of general health, overall energy, what you swallow becomes a part of you and affects how you function – and I want to eat things I can comprehend… things that resemble foods that grow from the ground, that involve little in the process that transmutes the food from its natural to its edible state. There is simply too much that has to happen to a walking/eating/breathing cow for example to turn it into an edible burger or piece of steak, and what happens in that process? And at the end of it, what I am left with that’s classified as edible? And that animal is or rather was too what it ate, now I don’t want the culinary history of that being digesting in my system.. I suppose it’s sort of a strange reason, but it’s always made sense to me..
FC: Did you find it hard at first to be vegan?
SM: Well when I became completely vegan for the first time, I was living in NYC – a vegan’s paradise! There are so many fantastic vegan restaurants there like Gobo in the West Village, Quantum Leap in Greenwich Village, Viva’s Herbal Pizzeria in the East Village, Candle Cafe on the upper east side… It was however still tricky because none
of my friends have ever been vegan – actually, come to think of it, to this day, I don’t have one vegan friend… I’m not sure that I even have one close vegetarian friend… So I find myself subject to quite a bit of mockery when it comes to social culinary situations, but I’ve gotten used to it… I just don’t like making hosts feel uncomfortable at dinner parties, when there turns out to be literally nothing I can consume, as the asparagus are buttered, and the potatoes are roasted in duck fat, but besides those kinds of situations, I don’t find it too difficult..
FC: Any advice you could give those who are contemplating becoming vegan?
SM: DO IT!!!!! I have absolutely no regrets about it. I love the way I eat. I’m always satisfied, and I find that my restrictions force me to get really creative about how I eat, and how I keep my dishes, which involve a limited number of ingredients, interesting and unique and
exciting. There’s something quite fun about this lifestyle – it encourages you to be experimental with the details of your food…roasting your carrots for a bit longer until they’re so crispy they’re nearly burnt, or adding a vegan pesto dipping sauce to your oven
roasted yam fry, can just change everything! And the cool thing is it’s not like a tattoo, it’s free and you can always go back… I say try anything you’re curious about, so long as it’s reversible and couldn’t possibly do any long term damage, and then stick with what feels right and abandon the experiments that don’t seem to work out…
FC: What are some L.A. vegan restaurants?
SM: HUGO’s! On Santa Monica Blvd. I’m there for breakfast easily three times a week… It’s not a vegan restaurant but they have a ton of vegan options, I don’t understand who couldn’t possibly love that place where they happily serve you exactly what you want as you want it. I also love the pre-prepared foods at Earth Bar, they’ve got this one brown rice/ tofu dish and their vegan lasagne is to die for! I’m also addicted to their Miami Beach smoothies. They’re ‘shots’ which everyone raves about kind of freak me out a bit, they have these crazy effects but they’re sort of mysterious, their food/fruit based
smoothies are great and I eat them with almond butter and granola as condiments so to speak, to add crunch which is always hugely important!!
FC: What are some vegan recipes?
SM: I make the best oven-roasted sweet potato fries! Cut up a large sweet potato into french fry size pieces, mix them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, cinnamon and sesame seeds, and then let them bake on a tray until they’re nearly burnt! Serve with an organic ketchup and vegan spicy mayo! My all-time favorite! I also make these amazing pan fried mushrooms – I love mushrooms, and am totally a savory over sweet person – I take a mixed array of mushrooms, let them fry in a pan using sesame oil and loads of salt and pepper, again, cook till they’re nearly crispy, sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and
serve with a variety of dipping sauces.. Then my favorite thing — is kale and tomato sauce… Steam then slightly saute kale, ideally with caramelized onions, and then let the kale swim in a fresh delicious hot tomato sauce.. to die for!
FC: How do you maintain a fitness regimen?
SM: It really depends where in the world I am… In LA, because there I
don’t move and pretty much live in and out of my car, I insist on going on a four mile walk on the treadmill every day. Sometimes I read scripts, books, learn my lines while I’m walking — it really helps to clear my head and to ensure that there’s some routine to an otherwise totally inconsistent daily schedule. I love to run as well – I’ve got to be in the mood for it, but when I am, I can run forever, just feel like I’m flying, it’s fantastic. When I’m in London or NYC however, a nice stroll around the city does it for me in terms of exercise. I don’t do weights or anything like that. Perhaps I should… perhaps one day I will… but at the moment, I’m really concentrating on achieving balance in my life and ensuring that I don’t become too preoccupied with any one element of my work on myself, and so I’m happy with my little daily stroll/ sometimes run.. Again, it all goes back to stick with what feels good…
FC: Do you feel your healthy lifestyle affects your work?
SM: Yes, for sure… I don’t know how one could act, or endure 12 or 14 hour shoot days, unless they kept both their bodies and souls in good spirits – energized, awake, alive, responsive, calm, nourished and focused… and all of these states of being, I believe, can only be achieved by way of listening to your bodies desires and responding accordingly… by taking good care of it.. and at the same time, never being too hard on yourself, or too strict when it comes to any rule.. Rules are meant to be bended, experimented with, perhaps even broken sometimes… find a little way to reward yourself and cheat every-day - a second round of french fries, a big scoop of vegan granola drizzled in agave, keep yourself feeling rewarded and deserving of such reward. As actors, we can be so hard on ourselves, because to do our work we have to be constantly checking in with ourselves, in conversations with ourselves so to speak, that I think it’s important to create and
enforce rules and routines, but at the same time, always let yourself ’live a little’.. it all comes down to that impossible and perhaps unachievable thing, but the thing we all must nevertheless strive for - balance.
FC: What type of volunteer work do you do and why?
SM: I have always been incredibly passionate about my charity work, always very aware of my innate sense of social responsibility and always eager to mobilize and utilize my skills and resources to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than I. When I was 16, I conceptualized, created and produced an event entitled THE WORLD LEADERS FORUM in Toronto in which President Bill Clinton and Vice Premier Shimon Peres came together to discuss the conflict in the middle east, the event, was named an “evening of ideas,” by the press and not only proved to be most spiritually inspiring but also raised over 1 million dollars for Ontario’s Pine River Institute, a boarding school for teen substance abusers, and Israel’s Nano Technology Research.
Then, when I was 20 and studying at Oxford, I created and produced the Oxford Red Dress Couture Ball – www.oxfordredball.com - in partnership with an amazing charity, HELP Malawi to raise funds and awareness for children in Malawi. The four-part, four-venue event featured a VIP dinner, runway show featuring one-of-a-kind dresses by designers such as Vera Wang, Escada, Max Azria, Herve Leger and Galliano, among many others. The event was viewed live on Justin TV by over 65, 000 people worldwide and I’m incredibly proud of what my frienda dn I at Oxford, with creativity and commitment were able to put together. At the moment, I’m looking for my next project… As you can tell, I’m not one to dabble in things, when I commit, I commit full on, with my full heart and soul, and so I’m looking for the right group to partner with to hopefully, once again, organize a unique event to raise funds and awareness for a worthwhile cause. I’m in talks with a number of individuals/ organizations and there are some plans in the works, which have yet to reach a stage at which they may be publicly disclosed.