He’s a beefcake — and he won’t even eat one! Williamsburg actor and waiter Zachary Koval is the “Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door” according to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, earning the accolades of plant eaters worldwide. And he bares it all in this exclusive interview with The Brooklyn Paper:
Ben Lockhart: We’re talking over the phone now, but you sound like you look great. How did you become such a sexy vegetarian?
Zachary Koval: I had done a quick fun photo shoot with one of my friends and posted the pictures on Facebook. One of my other friends, who had heard of the contest prior, saw it and recommended that I enter. So I sent in my picture and filled out the quick questionnaire just for fun and sent it off.
BL: And you actually won this thing?
ZK: It was a huge surprise. I’m completely honored; there were some pretty amazing contestants. I got a lot of great support from friends and family with regards to the contest.
BL: We live in the borough of Mile End, Fette Sau, and Nathan’s. Does Brooklyn really play nice with vegans?
ZK: Oh, definitely. In Williamsburg there are vegan foods everywhere pretty much. Every restaurant, essentially, has a vegan option. Even the corner stores sell almond milk or other things you can buy that are super vegan friendly.
BL: There’s no way you get a body like that by cutting out pork chops. How do you do it?
ZK: I bike everywhere. It’s my mode of transportation. I go to the gym about four times every week, for an hour each time, working my entire body. A couple days a week I go running, so I live a pretty active lifestyle.
BL: Zachary you’re an animal! Where do you do your grocery shopping? We want to know who will be asking for endorsements now that you’ve hit the big time.
ZK: Quechol Products off Graham in Brooklyn and Westerly Market in Manhattan are my favorite grocery stores to shop at, and there are a couple of organic groceries stores that are right next to my house.
BL: Tell us about the simmering tension between the vegan and vegetarian communities? It exists, right?
ZK: I don’t think so. Personally, I was vegetarian since I was ten before I became vegan two and a half years ago. Vegetarianism is kind of a diet where you don’t consume meats or fish, whereas veganism is more of a lifestyle where it’s your diet but it’s also how you live your life. You don’t buy or purchase anything that comes from an animal or is tested on an animal. So it’s a little more holistic in that sense.
BL: What’s your stance on plant rights?
ZK: It’s a whole different thing than animal rights. For example plants don’t have pain receptors to like animals do, so they don’t have feeling. There’s a pretty big difference between the two actually. A vegan lifestyle simply means not consuming eating anything that comes form an animal — no leather, no wool, no eggs, no dairy, no fish, no meat.
BL: I take it you don’t own leather shoes then.
ZK: Yes, no leather shoes.
BL: You consume no animal products. So what would you do if your dog baked you a fruit pie?
ZK: As long as my dog baked the pie of his own free will and without butter or eggs, I’d happily eat it.