|Vegetarian Era Film Star Linda Blair on Vegetarianism and Compassion|
Special Interviews — Film Star Linda Blair on Vegetarianism and Compassion
the Entertainment Department, Los Angeles, CA, USA
At the age of fourteen, actress Linda Blair rose to international fame with her unforgettable portrayal of the young girl Regan MacNeil in the Oscar-winning film The Exorcist. Through the years Ms. Blair has been nominated for an Academy Award, has won Golden Globe and People’s Choice Awards, and has worked with acclaimed stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Martin Sheen, Anthony Hopkins, Kirk Douglas, Richard Burton and Leslie Nielsen.
In addition to her many acting achievements, Ms. Blair is a well-known and respected animal rights advocate and the author of the book Going Vegan. Since childhood she has had a great affinity and love for animals and devotes her time and energy to helping her fellow creatures in need through work with organizations such as Feed the Children, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), The Humane Society and Last Chance for Animals, using her influence and voice to educate the public about animals in crisis. Ms. Blair has also founded the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, which rescues, rehabilitates and adopts animals about to be euthanized.
On May 6, 2005 members from The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Linda Blair for the TV program A Journey through Aesthetic Realms. Below are some excerpts from the interview.
Q: How did you become a vegetarian and an animal activist?
L: In 1988 I was reading an article on pesticides, acid rain and how we farm animals and that’s what made me go vegetarian. And it’s certainly changed my life. I’ve never had a weight problem since. I don’t change weight. And if anyone knows how old I am, you know that there’s something to it. You just become much more aware of foods and the atrocities to animals, what we’re doing to the animals, the planet; the fact is that everything goes hand in hand. Environmentally, how we farm animals affects the environment, affects the riverbeds, affects the ocean, affects the air, and that’s what a lot of people don’t realize. So not only is it cruel for the animals because it’s called “factory farming,” but it’s also bad for the planet. And of course the children are also suffering with obesity and diabetes; it’s at an all time high. And if there’s a way just to continue to educate people and be an example so they see there’s something to being a vegetarian, to what I’m saying. I’m of course a vegan.
I was hospitalized when I was nineteen, which a lot of people don’t realize, between stress and bad food. So I’ve been through it. Truly my life was affected and the doctor said, “If you don’t change your eating habits and you don’t change your stress level,” which is where the meditation came in, he said, “You’ll die.” A lot of people don’t know this.
Q: Now, you run a rescue [mission] out of your home. Tell us about that.
L: I realized how many people turn their animals in because they don’t match the fabric, because they’re having problems, they don’t know how to deal with them. And so I said I need to do a shelter, I need to do a death row rescue [for] all the moms and babies. It was really upsetting me. So I started Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation and I’m just one, not even one year new. It’s basically to get the public to take the journey with me and together we’ll make a difference because people know I’ll speak out. I have a very good reputation for telling the truth. Together we can make a difference. It will be a very hard fight because where you have dog fighting, you’ll have drugs and guns and violence. We can clean up not only Los Angeles but America. That’s my commitment, to clean up America and reduce the crime. And law enforcement that I speak with agrees with what I’m saying. They know where the fighting is. They’re supportive.
Q: Absolutely. It’s quite something to rescue a dog and take it home. I know Supreme Master Ching Hai rescued about five dogs and She amazed me with just how well She took these animals and trained them. At one of Her events, She had a couple of dogs just sitting there, so sweet—they were rescued dogs, they became vegetarian dogs. And She took care of them and cleaned them up. They’re just trained so perfectly. She just really took the time to take care of them.
L: And they know. The time that you put into a child, the time that you put into an animal, you’ll get that back tenfold. And they’ll offer you their unconditional love and friendship that will startle people.
Oprah Winfrey was working with my “second dad,” Howard Lyman. His book is called Mad Cowboy. And he’s a fourth generation cattle rancher and farmer, and he got cancer. He talks about all of his friends dying from heart disease. We can eliminate heart disease, cancer, diabetes, weight problems. Go back to the basic foods, become vegetarian and then go vegan, raw. And you’ll understand what we’re talking about. But he tells the truth and he committed his life, if he survived the cancer in his spinal column, that he would tell the truth. So he does. And I think that we can make a difference out there. You know, it’s just one day at a time but a lot of the illnesses, in my opinion, [come] from the foods, [the] water. You always hear that pregnant women shouldn’t eat the fish from over here. There’s a reason for that. It’s your body, your baby, your life, their future.
Q: The public would be very surprised at how many celebrities are actually vegetarians. You know when we started reviewing all the celebrities we want on the show, how many are vegetarians. I mean even Joaquin Phoenix and ...
L: Joaquin’s a vegan.
Q: Pamela Anderson, Natalie Portman, and yourself, Linda Blair. It’s such an honor to have you here.
L: James Cromwell.
Q: Yeah, James Cromwell. You know, it’s incredible the humanitarian work that you do. I think it’s phenomenal that you’re using your fame for such a great cause. That’s a beautiful existence.
L: With all of these things, the celebrity part is a blessing for the work. It is; I don’t really work enough anymore, as far as thinking of myself as that’s my complete job. My job is to make a difference while I’m here. I love my craft. I don’t like all the projects that we have. I don’t think that it’s good. I don’t think it’s good spiritual energy we’re putting out there. I think we need to do more loving and caring projects—fun, humorous, light, entertaining. And some are sort of maybe in a waiting game of watching the industry go through what it’s doing, and in the meantime I say to people, “Get involved!” It’s really hard but I’m bringing America together, one community at a time; you’ll be surprised. In a couple of years, all of a sudden, people will be going, “Wow! Yeah, there are some really good people out in the world and we just have to join forces.”
I think the Supreme Master, it’s people like Her that change the world in a way that many may not see the affects of yet, but because of the humanitarianism, the human rights, the animal rights, She connects the world in a way that’s very powerful. And what a lot of people don’t realize is the power of meditation and love and bliss and unity and calm and understanding. The answers will come in your life through meditation and you’ll also learn about compassion and sharing and that’s the true journey of the human spirit. So I know, I think it’s wonderful that the show gives Her the new channel to open and to show people Her knowledge and love, and we’re very grateful for everything that She’s done.
Supreme Master, it’s my honor and I look forward to meeting You in the very near future. Thank You for everything that You do.