20 December 2010

Interview with actress and TDIV contributor Hayley Marie Norman

Hayley Marie Norman is a Los Angeles based actress who has appeared in numerous films including Hancock and Fired Up, as well as several television shows such as Crash and a recent stint on CSI:NY. She is also known as being the girl with the wild crazy afro, aka #25, on the hit NBC television show Deal or No Deal. Hayley, a proud vegan, joined the This Dish Is Veg team in October and finds that one of her biggest life passions is educating people on the importance of adopting a vegan lifestyle and the profound health, environmental, and economical impact it has on not only the individual, but society as a whole. Of course she passionately loves animals and thinks that factory farming is the worst invention ever.

This Dish Is Veg: When did you become a vegan and what were your influences?

Hayley Marie Norman: I became a vegan a little over 2 years ago. It happened completely by accident. One of the closest people to me is vegan and even though I was always open to eating the food, it wasn't something that I ever considered for myself. Mostly because I didn't understand it. I think as human beings, we tend to reject things we don't understand and that's why education is so important so that we can be more open minded, accepting, and aware. Randomly, I began to experience some stomach problems and was no longer able to eat most foods. I wasn't eating meat, but it was not intentional. At this same time, my other close friend sent me the book Skinny Bitch. I had no idea that it had anything to do with veganism. This same friend had mentioned to me a few months earlier that she was becoming vegan and I stupidly assumed it was "just a phase." Well, I read the book she sent me in just one night, and I immediately knew that I had no other choice but to become vegan. And not just for vain reasons such as being a "Skinny Bitch" but because of the immense cruelty toward these sentient, amazing beings that experience feelings and emotions such as fear, love and pain, very similar to humans. This has been scientifically proven. The negative ramifications on the environment also blew me away. I previously had no idea that factory farming was destroying our environment.

TDIV: Why did you decide to write for TDIV?

Hayley: I think when people are given information about veganism, hopefully most of them will realize that they have no choice but to convert to this lifestyle. It's just getting this information to the masses that is crucial at this time, and it has now become probably my biggest mission in life. I always loved This Dish is Veg, and I used it as one of my main resources when I became vegan, and I still do. I am so proud to be a part of it. We are changing not just people's lives, but the world. I also love writing. Love it. Combining all these passions just felt natural to me. I really enjoy it.

TDIV: You have such beautiful hair, what type of products do you use to maintain it? What are some of your other favorite beauty products?

Hayley: Thank you so much! I love Original Sprout because it is not tested on animals, is totally vegan, and completely natural. I also use some L'Anza products which according to the PETA website, aren't tested on animals either. I used to use Redken, which makes a lot of beauty products, but have since discontinued as soon as I found out that they do practice animal testing. Such a shame. I hope they stop. My secret beauty ingredient is baking soda. It's so inexpensive and works so well on so many different areas. I add it into my face wash for a great exfoliating agent and also dip my toothbrush into it while brushing my teeth to help keep them white. And, it's gentle enough that I can do both of these things twice a day and it's not too harsh.

TDIV: How did you get into acting?

Hayley: I first got into this business as a child. My family and I were at a restaurant in Malibu, and Cindy Crawford told my mom she should get me into modeling. This story is hilarious to me because it totally sounds like I made it up, but I promise that that actually happened. Modeling led me into my biggest passion, acting at an early age. I always knew it was what I wanted to do. There was never a doubt in my mind. So I studied theater and took acting classes throughout my adolescent and teen years and started acting full time about 5 years when I graduated from a theater conservatory.

TDIV: What is it like being a vegan in the acting world? What types of food do you eat on set?

Hayley: Eating on set is hard. The last time I was filming something, they didn't even have soy milk for coffee. Luckily, I have a pretty amazing person by my side who brought me some food and coffee with soy milk. It's hard for sure, but I just have to plan ahead. To me, it's a sacrifice that is 100% completely worth it. It's crazy to me when people say that they can't become vegan because it's too hard and requires too much planning. It's like, stop being so selfish. We need to learn to see outside of ourselves and look at the bigger picture. But those same people manage to pack a gym bag to workout after their work day is over, or party clothes to go out after work. Planning ahead what you're going to eat is just as easy, and has way more positive effects.

TDIV: Tell us about your recent appearance on CSI: New York and your upcoming one on CSI: Miami.

Hayley: CSI: Miami was a dream come true for me because I always wanted to be a roller derby girl but unfortunately could not because the numerous injuries these women sustain wouldn't be the smartest career move to make. But, I got lucky enough that I got to play one on TV! I also wanted to be a cheerleader in high school, but couldn't because of an acting commitment, and then a few years ago I got to play one in the movie Fired Up! I love it when stuff like this happens. I also got to play a tough girl in CSI: Miami so that was fun for me, getting to express that side of myself. I got whiplash while we were filming though because I fell so much. We skated with the Los Angeles Derby Dolls for the episode, and those are some amazing women. CSI: NY was super awesome for me because that was one of the first roles I was ever offered without having to audition. I've been offered a few lead roles in independent movies before, but being offered a role on a primetime TV show was a surreal experience for me. And then when I found out that it was a pretty meaty (soy meat of course) role as well, I was extra excited about it. Sela Ward is so beautiful and her eyes are hypnotizing, I couldn't stop staring at her while we were shooting.

TDIV: What projects can we expect from you in the future?

Hayley: I have a few film projects in the works as well as an animated cartoon I am developing for children. I also want to continue to do whatever I can to bring awareness to veganism. I love being and staying busy, so I'm looking forward to lots of work!

TDIV: Are you hoping to use your fame to spread the word about veganism?

Hayley: Definitely. God gave me a voice, and I want to use it however I can to make a difference and make this world a better place. I will definitely be talking nonstop about veganism on whatever platforms I am granted.

For more of Hayley Marie Norman check out her personal blog, view her TDIV articles, and follow her on Twitter.

Julia is a student who has a passion for veganism, animal welfare, and religious studies.

Photo credit: Hayley Marie Norman