Peeled Features a Diverse, All-Vegan Cast and Crew!
Vkind Studios is cooking up compassion with its new plant-powered chef competition show titled “Peeled”. Created to give fans of vegan culinary arts a seat at the table in the wildly-popular cooking show genre, Peeled is meeting the demand for content by promoting a compassionate lifestyle, inclusivity and social equity. It is also the very first show of its kind to lead by example with an entirely-vegan cast and crew hailing from varied backgrounds to reflect the diversity of the growing population of people attracted to the vegan movement.
“Fostering widespread interest in a vegan lifestyle is an important aspect of our mission, which is why we are committed to demonstrating by example how advantageous, and accessible, vegan options can be to those who wish to choose them,” said Jia Dadabhoy, a partner at Vkind who was intimately involved in the development of the show and served as First Assistant Director on set during the production.
Although the team working on the Vkind platforms is vegan, the company’s commitment to inclusive diversity, equal opportunity and non-discrimination is reflected throughout the diverse pool of talent.
“We recognized that attracting diverse audiences to the vegan movement begins with bringing the best of our diverse talent together in a collaborative work environment, where everyone on the team is motivated, inspired, and empowered because they feel seen, heard and valued for who they are,” she said. “We work hard to foster an authentic sense of belonging through inclusion, and celebrate the diversity of the talent and clients we work with.”
Dadabhoy, an American-born daughter of Pakistani immigrants, understands the importance of diversity and appreciates the added value cultural richness brings to the creative process. She was a strong proponent of the shows co-hosts, who are both BIPOC (Black & Indigenous People Of Color) women, and who represent 20 percent of the camera-facing talent, which is considerable when BIPOC individuals comprise less than ten percent of cast members appearing in the most popular cooking reality shows on major broadcast and cable networks on average. When the show’s press release received comments about the shows apparent lack of diversity, she was initially dismayed, as more than half of the cast and crew of Peeled are minorities or members of under-represented groups or groups excluded due to age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical disabilities, religious belief, and cultural identities.
Peeled producers had initially slated a larger, even more diverse cast of contestants; however, due to scheduling conflicts, COVID interference and impending production deadlines the group of contestants were ultimately narrowed to four, all of whom were Caucasian-identifying. Vkind understands the optics associated with a contestant group that does not include representation from the BIPOC community, and takes responsibility for and commits to ensuring against this occurring on future projects. Despite an apparent lack of representation among the judges and competitors, Vkind surveyed the entire cast and crew to discover more than 60 percent of individuals involved in the production identified as either non-white, non-cisgender, non-heteronormative, aged over 60, or female.
Celebrity chef Babette Davis, serves as the vivacious co-host and mentor to the Peeled chef contestants. She is an athletic role model over the age of 70 and is best known for her age-defying expertise within the raw-vegan diet and lifestyle. “People have been traumatized by the social inequities, political divisions, climate calamities, and inhumane treatment of defenseless animals. Being vegan is one way to be part of a solution that can heal our troubled society.”
Chef Babette concludes, “Veganism benefits everyone in so many ways, beyond the obvious humane treatment of animals and human health benefits. Given the ways in which it is a unifying movement that transcends generational, racial, cultural and economic divides, shows like Peeled need more representation in mainstream media.”
Exceeding diversity norms prevalent in the genre, Peeled cast members underrepresented and/or disenfranchised groups, including LGBTQIA+, adults aged over 60, and women, each bringing their unique perspective to vegan culinary arts.
“As a vegan member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I am acutely aware of the inadequate representation in mainstream media and understand how it feels to be shunned by people who lack understanding about my lifestyle path,” said Chef Jaena Moynihan, a Peeled contestant who speaks openly during intimate “confessionals” filmed on the set about her personal struggles as a transgender woman and professional challenges as a vegan chef.
“My journey has made me empathetic to any sentient being subjected to cruelty. The only way to end ignorance and fear is to shed light on the issues which cause them. Media exposure is a highly effective way to achieve such an end, which is why I was so grateful for the opportunity to both represent my community and advocate for the voiceless animals as a contestant of Peeled,” Chef Jaena said.
You can watch the entire season of PEELED™ now on our YouTube channel.