It may seem like singer-songwriter Billie Eilish came out of nowhere, but the young musician has been honing her craft since she was eight-years-old. By the time she was a teenager, Eilish had firmly left her mark on the music industry with tracks like “bellyache” and “Bad Guy.” But the artist is influencing more than just the music scene. Eilish is a vocal advocate of the vegan movement and is inspiring many to give cruelty-free living a try.
Who Is Billie Eilish?
Eilish was born and raised in Highland Park, Los Angeles. She was raised as a vegetarian and was homeschooled. At age eight, she joined the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. She frequently collaborates with her brother, Finneas O’Connell.
Eilish first caught the attention of music-lovers in 2016 when she released her single “Ocean Eyes” on Soundcloud. The following year, Eilish released her debut EP, “Don’t Smile at Me.” It snagged a spot in the top 15 in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Now at just 17-years-old, the musician already has a number of accolades to her name. Her recent (and debut) studio album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 before reaching the top spot in the UK, Canada, and Australia. Four of the album’s singles — “Bad Guy,” “Bury a Friend,” “When The Party’s Over,” and “Wish You Were Gay” — made it into the US Billboard Hot 100’s top 40. “Bad Guy” was her first number-one single in the U.S. and so far, she is the first and only artist born in the 2000s to record a number one single in the U.S.
Billie Eilish Takes a Stand for Animals
Eilish adopted a plant-based diet around 2014. In a blog post, she wrote that there were “a lot of reasons” for the change but animal welfare was a leading motivator. “Leave animals alone,” she said.
Earlier this year, Eilish took to Instagram to raise awareness about animal cruelty in the dairy industry. She shared footage of the largest undercover dairy investigation to date. The footage was taken at Fair Oaks Farms, a facility in Indiana that supplies cow’s milk to dairy brand Fairlife, which is a subsidiary of Coca-Cola. Fairlife promotes itself as a “premium” dairy brand with “grass to glass” traceability.
The video showed farm workers punching, dragging, and throwing calves. The calves are separated from their mothers within days or hours of being born. The Fair Oaks Farms footage showed the young animals being burned and hit with branding irons. Workers left dead calves in a heap, hidden away from the public.
“I keep my mouth shut most of the time about this because I believe everyone should do, eat, and say whatever they want… and I don’t feel the need to shove what I believe in in anyone’s face,” Eilish wrote in an Instagram Story. “But man… if you can watch the videos that I just posted and not give a [expletive] that it’s YOU contributing by LITERALLY EATING the creatures that are being fully tortured just for your pleasure. I feel sorry for you.”
“I understand that meat tastes good and I know you think you’re just one person and it ‘won’t change anything if you stop,'” she continued. “But that’s ignorant and stupid.”
“If you have half a brain, you should know ‘one person’ adds up. Be smarter,” Eilish said to her then-26.1 million followers.
Eilish’s views on animal welfare extend further than diet. The artist recently shared a video (to her now more than 40 million followers) that called on people to think twice about wearing wool. The clip starred Pink and was made in 2008 by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the largest animal rights group in the world. In the video, Pink reveals she refuses to wear fur and opts for vegan leather for animal cruelty reasons. The musician narrates over top of disturbing footage of sheep in the wool industry, explaining that “this is what you are paying for.”
A week before sharing the video, Eilish spoke out about the mink fur trade. She shared images of a mink on her Instagram Story and wrote: “Just so you know… this is a mink. You [expletive] getting mink lashes and mink slippers disgust me.”
“Where yo heart at?” she added.
Billie Eilish and Plant-Based Health
Eilish is a strong believer that a bad diet can impact your body, and in ways one might not expect. In a video interview with Pitchfork, Eilish was asked her opinion on various topics, like prom and pooping. The latter is a favorite for Eilish. “Pooping is one billion percent underrated,” the songwriter said. “Pooping is my favorite part of the day. There was one day I pooped eight times… That was the best day of my life. And they were all solid, good poops too.”
“I’m really talking about poop out here,” she said. “It’s really about your diet, because you can have miserable poops. People who don’t like pooping are probably people who eat like [expletive].”
Eilish also feels the impact of what she eats on her skin. She wrote on Tumblr last year, “dairy is horrible for your skin and my skin is VERY aware of that.”
Billie Eilish Speaks Up for the Planet
In September, Eilish joined forces with vegan actor Woody Harrelson to urge people to switch up their diets to help save the planet. In a video called “Our House Is On Fire,” the pair spoke about the increasing urgency of the climate crisis. “Our earth is warming up and our oceans are rising,” Eilish said in the video.
“From California to the Amazon, our forests are burning,” Harrelson added. “We are in a climate emergency.” Eilish highlights that one million species are on their way to extinction, thanks to “mankind’s actions.”
The two asked people to take responsibility for the state of the planet and do their bit to help – namely by giving up meat, dairy, and plastic. They also urged politicians to push for legislation that better protects the Earth. “History shows us that when enough people rise up and demand change, those in power have no choice but to act,” Harrelson said.
A Loud Voice for Veganism
Along with raising awareness of the ethical, health, and environmental advantages of a vegan lifestyle, Eilish leads by example. The songstress recently took to social media to show her fans how to order plant-based at Taco Bell, the Eilish way.
She was filmed placing her order at a Taco Bell drive-thru speaker: “I’m gonna get 18 bean burritos with only beans, nothing else. Only beans inside. Eighteen burritos and only beans. You know what? Make that 20. Swear to god.”
Earlier this year, Eilish made an appearance on the web series “Hot Ones,” hosted by Sean Evans. The series sees celebrity guests being interviewed while eating increasingly spicy chicken wings. For her episode, Eilish chowed down on vegan hot wings. To cool the effects of the hot sauces, she drank water and soy milk. Eilish completed all 10 rounds of the challenge and carried on eating afterward, (mostly) unphased by the burn of the final sauce, which is rated 2,000,000+ on the Scoville scale.
Eager to motivate others to try plant-based food, Eilish created a U.S. road trip plan which features her favorite vegan-friendly restaurants. The artist teamed up with UberEats to create the road trip, which included stops at ATX Food Co. in Austin, Cafe Gratitude in Los Angeles, Love Life Cafe in Miami, and By Chloe. in New York.
Looking past food, Eilish also created a signature capsule collection with Los Angeles-based clothing brand Freak City. The line includes loose-fitting, gender-neutral, vegan clothing.
Eilish recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Meat-Free Monday campaign. She asked her millions of followers: “Help the world. I try.”