Vegas-born professional skateboarder of 20 years Kenny Anderson fell in love with skating when he was just 10 years old. The successful career that followed has allowed him to enjoy a number of high profile sponsorships with major brands such as Converse; but it has also given him a valuable platform to work with nonprofit organizations and advocate for causes close to his heart, such as veganism and animal rights.
A vegan of four and a half years, and a longtime vegetarian before that, Anderson says initially finding the movement helped him out of a space where he felt lost and disconnected.
“I had a vegan friend that really helped me connect back with myself and inspired me to really align all of my values and morals in life with my actions,” Anderson told LIVEKINDLY. “Becoming vegan naturally happened because it was the best and most impactful way of doing that.”
The vegan skateboarding community is not huge, says Anderson, however interest in the lifestyle is growing. And it’s this interest that inspires him to keep advocating for the movement. “My diet does come up a lot through social media and in person,” he said. “I get a lot of people asking me questions about how to start being vegan, healing, energy, etc…I’ve seen the scene grow first hand by simply just talking about it.”
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Since adopting the lifestyle, he explained, every step in his life has been a conscious one, considering the impact of his actions on the earth, the animals, others, and himself. His food philosophy is simple, carrying around a jar of seeds, nuts, and berries on every tour, and trying new plant-based meals at restaurants around the world.
Even Anderson’s brand collaborations are as ethical as possible; he’s currently working on a 2019 collection for Converse that will be devoid of animal products, created from pineapple leather and vegan suede. He’s also in meetings regarding a vegan skate event and likes to leave himself open for any advocacy opportunity that may come along.
Aside from events and collaborations, Anderson believes in simple advocacy through his daily actions. “When I first posted anything vegan I received a lot of feedback and it inspired me to show more of what I do on a normal day,” he explained. “I feel like being myself and being open to answering when people ask, whether it’s online or in person, is the most important way for me right now.”
“What I’ve learned is that skaters don’t connect with all of the information out there, but they do connect with me as a skateboarder,” he continued. “They can relate to me so they relate to my words, so skateboarding then becomes their connection to veganism, animal rights, etc.”
Anderson chatted on stage with Janette Fernandez, aka Vegan Girl Forever, at this year’s Vevolution in London. The UK’s leading plant-based festival, Vevolution is hosted by the multimedia company of the same name, which hosts events around the globe and creates media content to inspire members of the “plant-powered generation.”
“I’m excited to be a part of this movement and also to feel the energy from London,” said Anderson. “I’ve never been to a vegan event outside of the US and I know I will grow even more from being surrounded by all of the amazing speakers and from everyone attending. I get to skate Southbank as well!”
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