She grew up in the Chilean countryside, surrounded by animals, an hour from the capital. At the age of 5, she had a wide range of pets, including a little pig. “I remember discovering that beyond appearance, they were pretty much no different from my dogs.” She was around 10 years old when she realized a lot of the food they ate at home came from pigs just like hers – that’s when she started cutting out animal products.
While developing her journalistic career, going on to become the director of Cosmopolitan Chile and Cosmopolitan Peru, among many other things, she started a media outlet to report on vegetarianism and veganism. “At 27, I founded Vegetarianos Hoy, and 10 years later, I can say that it is the best job in the world – doing something about that injustice every day of my life is what keeps me alive,” she confides. A non-profit organization that works in Latin America to promote plant-based eating and reduce the suffering of farm animals, Vegetarianos Hoy stemmed from the fact that 84% of vegetarians/vegans eat meat again, and that 50% fall back into this habit during the first year due to not having adequate knowledge or social support.
“We believe that anyone can be a vegetarian with the right information.” The NGO leads the international Meatless Monday campaign in Chile, which is now active in more than 40 countries, organizes the #SinRodeos campaign, and, since 2013, also certifies vegan products through V-Label to facilitate and promote their consumption. “We are also the only NGO in Latin America to do that.”
Her biggest leap? For a long time, she kept her activism with Vegetarianos Hoy as a side hustle. “Working as an Editor-in-Chief for Cosmopolitan for multiple years, I had what many women and movies considered to be the best job in the world: I was influential, traveled the world staying in amazing hotels, interviewed famous people like Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande, had tickets to all the concerts, and earned a good salary. But I felt that something was missing. I wanted to change the world.” As she flipped through the fashion pages of the magazine, she couldn’t help thinking about the thousands of farmed animals that were dying at that very moment – and it made her very sad. Eventually, she resigned from the magazine and also from her journalistic life, and decided to dedicate herself 100% to defending and working for animals. “I didn’t quite know how I would do it, but was confident it would work. And it wasn’t easy, but I did it,” she says.
What keeps her sane? “Working with veganism is difficult, and often, the mental pressure of the animals that you manage to impact versus those that you fail to impact grows year by year.” For Ignacia, traveling is a conscious habit she builds. It allows her to disconnect and rest from this enormous problem, and at the same time, she learns about new cultures. “Visiting vegan restaurants in other parts of the world and seeing with my own eyes that we are part of a global movement brings me back to my center.” In addition, trips are enjoyed three times: when you plan them, when you do them, and when you remember them.
“Pizza! I love Italian food and eating with my hands.”
“My book! It should be out at the end of this year.”
“…my superpower would be to veganize people and speak with animals.”
“When I see everyday veganism is becoming mainstream and easier. Also, being at the beach.”
“Probably that I have 2 kids (3 and 1.5 years old), and they have never eaten meat.“
“My heroes are the women of the vegan movement. From Carol Adams, Ingrid Newkirk, and Marly Winkler and all the work they started some decades ago, to Sharon Nuñez, Ana Ortega, Leah Garcés, and many more who are making history today.
“I’d be a scuba dive filmmaker or a murder investigator, hehehe.”