Mindy ColletteNew York, NY

Actress, Fitness Model, Dancer, Personal Trainer

Mindy is a Cover Model (2014 Winter Edition of Vegan Health and Fitness), a Fitness Model, and a natural Bikini and Figure Competitor. Mindy has always been extremely active, from swimming and dance lessons at just 5 years old, dancing all through junior high, high school, and into college. Mindy’s mom would drive her the hour and a half round trip 5 or 6 days a week, realizing their daughter’s passion for physical expression. She danced until her early twenties when she got her first taste for weights. She began lifting weights in late 2006, but she didn’t really gain the love for it–like she had for classic ballet–until mid October 2008 when she saw a poster for an upcoming NPC show. Right then and there she decided to compete in a show May 2009, where she placed 2nd in figure at an NPC show in Bend, OR. There Mindy first learned of veganism & began educating herself to make the dietary and lifestyle changes.

Through the lifestyle change she overcame illnesses, & was able to rebuild her strength to began competing again in 2013, placing fourth in a natural bikini competition in Austin, TX. Mindy will be competing again this July, 2014, but this time as a figure competitor.

My love for fitness is backed with my passion for equality, compassion, and cruelty-free living. So, now when I’m at the gym I expect physical transformations not for my own gain, but to promote that which I so strongly support. I intend to present a different body this July than I have ever had. I am pushing harder, lifting heavier, eating, eating, eating, and more driven than ever, all to show that animal exploitation, environmental damage, and risking your health are not necessary to be strong and fit!

Areas of Expertise: Bodybuilding, Bulking, Nutrition, Toning, Weight Loss

Services: Meal Planning, Personal Training

Availability: In person, Online

It was sort of an accumulation of things that led me to veganism. I had been vegetarian on and off throughout my life, but in 2010 I had some serious health issues & my doctor said to cut out all dairy & gluten. So, since I'd been cutting meat, I just decided to do both!

It wasn't difficult at all once I wrapped my brain around the "why". Here & there that first year I would have something with animal in it, but the game changer was really through Robert Cheeke. He sent me a ton of reading material with one of my orders, and after I read the little packet called "Why Vegan?", I sat sobbing for 45 minutes straight. From there, how could I turn back? NO WAY!!! My heart is way too sensitive & compassionate for that!

Besides being part of the Plantbuilt team, I participate in some other forms of animal advocacy. I will do whatever I can to save animals from being sent to be euthanized, I share the knowledge I have about veganism & know I've touched some lives via that. I also donate to a few rescue organizations in the Eugene, OR area. It is hard for me to choose favorites, I admire so many animal rights organizations. I think the work at Farm Sanctuary, West Coast Dog And Cat, & as of recent, The Cruelty Free Latina!

A number of experiences with animals have touched me. My friend Jo has such a kind heart toward animals and really has made countless impressions on me. There are many stories, but my favorite was her taking off on foot to save a lost dog. Nothing will stop her! Her passion and compassion toward animals is one to be replicated and emulated! Being vegan has just truly softened my heart that much more, and I see ALL life as equals. No breath means any less than the next.

If I had the chance to talk to someone who is considering going vegan, first, I would tell them that it's easier than they think! So, get involved online, we all are in this together and are usually more than happy to help with ideas and be support. Second, THANK YOU!!! The animals, their babies, the environment, your health, us.. we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts for you taking action in this way!

Finally, you will probably get questioned a LOT about being a vegan, and remaining healthy. VEGUCATE!! Be sure you know the right answers before they're asked If you don't know, just say so and let the person know you will find out and report back. Share the knowledge!