Interview: Kat Zivkovic

VeganMoFo 2015 – Day 8: Reach out! Make a new vegan friend & tell us about it.

I love the daily themes for VeganMoFo this year. I recently “met” Kat Zivkovic through Elance when looking for someone to design the new logo for my blog. Not only did she design my awesome new logo but she’s also a blogger and has a really awesome website!!
Kat wanted to interview me for her blog so I shamelessly asked her to reciprocate for my VeganMoFo “make a new vegan friend”. I’d love to meet more interesting vegans around the world so please get in touch.

– Tell us a little about yourself (name, age, location, career,
hobbies, etc.)

Hi! I’m Kat, 23 from Belgrade, Serbia. I’m a freelance graphic designer and I love taking photos, traveling and exploring new places, working out, playing sports and riding my bike. I’m a proud straight edge vegan always striving to get better.

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– When and why did you become vegan?
In 2011 my mother wanted to try a new diet to lose weight when she found out about raw veganism. I wanted to eat better too, so I started reading and watching videos about vegan lifestyle. Watching that well-known Gary Yourofsky speech had a big impression on me and really made me commit. I learned very quickly how easy it is to be vegan and what you can get out of it. One of the reasons I became vegan is that I’m an animal lover, and you can’t call yourself that if you have some as pets and consume others.

– How did you life change after that decision?
Going vegan was one of the best decisions I’ve made in life. I feel better mentally, emotionally and physically. It was a logical step for me take in my evolution. I’m at peace knowing no animal was murdered so I could eat. My only regret is not going vegan sooner.

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– How did people around you (friends,family,colleagues) react to your change of lifestyle?
My mother and sister are vegetarian. Other people around me were, you could say, okay about it. All of them said they can’t live without meat and some of them gave me advice about nutrition even though they are unhealthy with bad eating habits. I wasn’t surprised by people’s reactions and I’m still not.

– What’s it like being a vegan in Serbia are there many local stores, restaurants, vegan products?
There are a lot more vegan options in every sense in USA, of course. Here in Serbia, in the city of Novi Sad, where I currently live, there’s a great vegan restaurant called Ananda, and in Belgrade there’s Radost Fina Kuhinjica and Jazzayoga. In big markets and some health food stores you’ll find soy milk and other soy products, seitan and tofu. In regular restaurants vegan options are usually French-fries and salads. I wish there are more places for vegans to eat and where non-vegans will get introduced to wonderful cruelty free food.

– for those that don’t know what straight-edge is, explain what straight-edge is to you and why you became straight-edge
Straight edge: you don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. I was always straight edge. I never smoked nor tried drugs. I hate the smell of cigarettes and I can’t stand when somebody smokes around me. Smoking was always stupid to me and drugs are a completely different world I never plan on entering. As for alcohol, I tried beer several times when I was a kid, just 2-3 sips. People here give their children alcohol to try like it’s something cool and smart to do. I tried wine on several slavas (that’s something Serbian families do, every year they celebrate a saint they’ve chosen with over-eating and over-drinking and smoking). I hate the way beer and wine tastes and smells, and I don’t like drunk people in my presence. I’m really proud of the fact I’m sXe and I love it. I don’t need any substances to escape reality, have a good time, make feel better or more relaxed.

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– is there a big straight-edge scene in Serbia? 
No. I’m not a part of any scene, but I know there aren’t many straight edge bands here. I’d be surprised to found out there’s more than five.

– How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
Most of them are surprised, then they ask questions. What majority of them has to has to say is not all that positive and I’m used to it. People are concerned with my health when they themselves are unhealthy and eat crappy food. I usually don’t like talking about it because people aren’t genuinely interested in founding out more, they just like to judge and offer their unwanted uninformed opinions. When somebody really wants to learn I have no problems answering questions.

– What are some misconceptions about vegans you’d like to erase?
Meat-eaters are still under the impression that vegans are skinny, weak and malnourished. I suggest googling “vegan bodybuilding”.
And everybody can and should be vegan.

– What would you like to say to people who are thinking about becoming vegan?
DO IT! You’ll get see the benefits fast. Go for it and don’t be afraid of what people think. Do it for yourself, for the animals and the planet.

– For many it’s very difficult when they become vegan and it’s really helpful to have a mentor. Have you ever had a mentor or been a mentor to someone that is becoming vegan?

My partner became vegan because of me and that feels awesome. My sister became vegetarian influenced by me and my mom. Inspiring someone to make a change in their life is fulfilling and it only makes you want to do more and better.

– What kind of music do you like and have any of your beliefs been influenced by the bands/ musicians you listen to?
I listen to a lot of different genres, I don’t limit myself to a specific one. None of the artist I listen to are straight edge or vegan though. Some of the music I like: Nirvana, System Of A Down, Disturbed, The Prodigy, 2Pac, Tech N9ne, Biggie, 90’s music, many old songs, random pop track, a lot of hip-hop… The list is never-ending.

– Would you ever date a non-vegan?
If it’s something casual, probably yes. My partner is vegan and that means a lot since veganism is something I strongly believe in.

– What is your biggest pet peeve?
Stupidity, ignorance and close-minded people.
Bonus: unfunny meat-eater jokes directed towards vegans, veganism and animals

– What’s your favorite food?
Pasta, and potatoes however you make them. I love fruit too, of course.

– What’s your diet like?
I don’t follow any special diets, I just try to eat as clean as possible and consume foods that will help me feel good, be healthy and grow muscles. The more fruit and veggies the better.

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– What is your message to the world?
GO VEGAN! No excuses! Go straight edge! Knowledge is power. Work and achieve your goals.

– What do you want people to know about veganism?
Everybody can do it, it’s not hard. Get informed, Google is your friend. Think logically. Going vegan will only do good to you and the world you live in. Animals aren’t ours to use and abuse.

– Your site and social media links (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
My website: xvx-trip.com
Facebook: facebook.com/katzivkovic
Twitter: twitter.com/xvx_trip
Instagram: instagram.com/xvx_trip
Portfolio: http://katzivkovic.weebly.com/

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