Filipino singer goes naked for pro-vegetarian compaign

Updated: 19 Aug 2009
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MANILA, Philippines - For Geneva Cruz, showing skin was a good way to remind the world of the bare essentials: All animals, including the two-legged species, have the same body parts.


The 33-year-old singer went naked Monday for the pro-vegetarian campaign of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia Pacific, and gladly let the media ogle, er, see just what she meant: that the best way to show fellow animals respect is to go vegetarian.


A few minutes past lunchtime, in a Makati studio, Geneva—mother to a 12-year-old son but looking youthful, slim and gorgeous - casually posed for photographers wearing only cut-out letters and resembling a butcher’s diagram normally displayed in a supermarket’s meat section.


Right below her "loins" and "rump", Geneva held a sign that read: "All Animals Have the Same Body Parts. Go Vegetarian." Dozens of media men from national publications and international wire agencies took shots nonstop.


Jason Baker, director of PETA Asia Pacific, an affiliate of PETA United States, which claims to be "the world's largest animal rights organization with more than 1.6 million members," explained the campaign and how they got Geneva to be a part of it.


"We found out that she was truly vegetarian and had posted PETA videos on her website,"Baker told the Inquirer.


"We've been talking with her for a year ... Vegetarianism is not [just] about granola or tofu or hippies anymore. It's about being young and sexy ... it's for everyone and Geneva is one beautiful example. She’s stunning."


Campaign target


Past campaigns featured actress-singer Yasmien Kurdi, actor Diether Ocampo and TV host-model Borgy Manotoc. The new campaign with a nude Geneva will target both the print and Web media.


"The Web is a great equalizer," Baker noted. "Some of the most successful advocacy campaigns are being done through the Internet."


He noted that, in the past, PETA had a hard time dealing with TV stations that didn't want to air its ads for fear of upsetting sponsors, especially those selling meat products.


It was like competing with the whole meat industry, whose budget is huge to begin with, Baker said.


"This is a nonviolent fight," Geneva declared moments after the pictorial.


"I'm not doing it to compel people, but rather to inspire them. The good news is that so many are going vegetarian because they see the positive effects on their health."


Geneva said she was 15 years old when the thought of killing animals for food hit her hard. She was shooting a shampoo commercial at the time in Calauit, Palawan, and had the chance to see wildlife roaming free.


Felt weird


"I felt weird, but in a good way," she said. "Not long after, I told my manager then, Girlie Rodis, that I wanted to eat just vegetables from then on."


This didn’t go well with her father, Boyet Cruz, a third-generation member of the famed clan of musicians.


"If I went on with it, he said, he would make me stop singing," Geneva said. "I couldn't blame him; he just thought I wouldn't get proper nutrition eating only veggies."


So she tried the non-drastic approach—slowly taking out red meat from her diet, having only fish and chicken along with the greens. Two years ago, she finally went vegan, omitting all kinds of animal products from her diet. She is proud to say that she cooks her own food now.


"I'm into adobong kangkong and sitaw, anything with tofu, sometimes baked pasta with canola oil, mushrooms, spinach and pepper. I’m also big on brown rice and wheat bread," Geneva said, illustrating that there’s a whole, colorful variety in a vegetarian’s world.


"She's very particular about what she eats," Arnold Vegafria, her new manager, confirmed.


Not for vanity


"I'm not doing this for vanity, please understand," Geneva told the media. "The main issue here is that animals have feelings. None of us would want to get hurt or be tortured ..."


Geneva said she has not imposed the lifestyle on her husband KC Montero or son Heaven (by ex-husband Paco Arespacochaga).


"KC comes from a family of hunters,” she explained. “And like KC, Heaven fully respects my beliefs and decision ... I don't know if he'll go vegetarian soon, but for now he says he still likes to eat meat."


After the photo shoot, media members were served what looked like an all-meat lunch pack, but which turned out to be soy-based "pork" barbecue and "chicken" drumstick.



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