Actress, model and internet personality.
"The first time I saw Tonya is when I watched Bold Native at one of the premieres in LA. It is an incredible movie, if you haven't seen it definitely check it out. Tonya was brilliant and funny and I liked her even before I met her many months later. She is even more brilliant and funny in person! She is one of those people that is herself, no matter what and I have a lot of respect for people like her. She brought tons of creative ideas for the shoot and was excited to shoot sexy looks - her confidence and independence are truly inspiring. She is a strong woman; proud of her femininity, sexuality and body and she let's nothing hold her back from being a good person, following her dreams and having fun. She has links to much of her work below, please check out some of what she has done! Another thing I wanted to mention because it made such an impression on me during our shoot, is her dedication to leaving a small footprint on the earth. She wastes nothing, reuses, buys food from local farmer's markets to support small humane business and her local economy, buys awesome fashion forward clothes from thrift shops to reduce her consumer impact and of course she eats the best possible way for the environment! Vegan! And I knew it before - but shooting her really drove it home for me: if one wants to look young over the years, eating raw (and keeping your skin safe from the sun) is instrumental. She looks amazing, is totally energetic, athletic and toned - there is no way anyone can argue that vegans are not healthy when Tonya Kay is an example of what veganism can do for a human's health." - Melissa Schwartz
SS: What made you go vegan and why?
TK: At this point in my life, I have been vegetarian for 28 years, vegan for 18 of those and raw vegan for the past 11. I transitioned each shift for a different reason. Specifically, though, I went VEGAN when I was on tour with Kenny Rogers. I was a bit of an insomniac back then and was the only one awake on our tour bus when the driver pulled off to a truck stop for refueling. I was hungry and stretched my legs while wandering inside to look for food. However when I got in there, all I could find was neon colored packages and cartoon character marketing on products that I was supposed to consider food. Suddenly, I wasn't fooled. I was outraged! Perhaps I was just tired enough and just loopy enough, but in that moment I went vegan out of the pure renegade desire for real food.
SS: Has it been difficult for you?
TK: Regarding going RAW vegan, which people sometimes perceive as more difficult than cooked vegan, I have to say this: eating cooked, animal-based or junk foods is like hitting yourself on the thumb with a hammer. Once you find out what's causing the pain, it's pretty easy to not hit yourself with the hammer again. Eating raw vegan is easy because the rewards are so tangible.
SS: What are some of the animal rights related things you participate in?
TK: I produce media, I am a conscious business owner, I donate to organizations and I've been known to rally and speak at city hall when moved. I always try to keep it positive, not only because I find people naturally gravitate towards what's working but also because I insist on my lifestyle being easy going/no problem, so keeping it positive is just as much for the public as it is for me.
You can read my writing in raw vegan nutritional analysis eBooks available at http://kayosmarket.com/ or you can read my award-winning column, Clean and Green Everyday, at http://ecohearth.com/eco-blogs/clean-and-green-everyday.html.
You can watch my Eco Tourist web series at http://www.youtube.com/user/grapespacecoaster#grid/user/724514E7C5A44C60 and my raw vegan lifestyle videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/grapespacecoaster#grid/user/6FE85AC38488509A.
You can enjoy my performances in films, Bold Native http://boldnative.com/, Rawman and Green Girl http://rawmanandgreengirl.com/ and Vegan Fitness http://store.veganessentials.com/vegan-fitness--built-naturally-dvd-p176....
You can read oodles of vegetarian-based press I've done at http://tonyakay.com/press.html
I am a conscious business owner and my companies http://happymandible.info/ and http://solidhollywood.com/ are doing amazing work bringing organic, raw, vegan and natural products to major motion picture and television sets.
You can see my last rally here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lO6iDkUxx8
SS: What are your favorite animal rights organizations?
TK: I donate to and/or support http://elephantnaturepark.org/, http://seregetifoundation.org/, http://seaturtles.org/, http://pawsweb.org/, http://centerforbiologicaldiversity.org/, http://treepeople.org/, http://carbonfund.org/, http://norml.org/, http://www.idausa.org/ and http://www.ad-international.org/adi_world/.
SS: What would you say to someone considering going vegan?
TK: If you want average results, do what average people do. If you want extraordinary results ...
SS: Do you have any memories that stand out in your mind of someone helping an animal?
TK: I grew up in a farm town in Southern Michigan with lots of country roads winding around lots of lakes and swamps. Invariably, the lake turtles would try to cross those country roads to the other pond, and if a car roared by, they'd just pull into their shells and hide there as if they were protected. My mom and dad would pull over to the side of the road, stop the car and pick up any living turtle (snappers included) and place them on the other side. What a great feeling. I still save turtles if I see one in the road and I am planning my next volunteer travel to Costa Rica to work with the endangered sea turtles down there through http://www.pretoma.org/. I'm still saving turtles.