Doing It My Way

Talking Veganism and Self-Care With Tabitha Brown

America’s favorite auntie and social media influencer is shining her light in an otherwise bleak world

L'Oreal Thompson Payton
Published in
6 min readJun 8, 2020
A photo of Tabitha Brown posing with peace signs.
Tabitha Brown. Photos: Luc-Richard

You wouldn’t necessarily know it by scrolling social media, but African Americans make up the largest demographic of vegans in the United States, at 8% of all African American adults, according to a Pew Research Center study.

And while plant-based diets aren’t necessarily new to Black communities, their recent surge in social media popularity could be do in large part to actress and TikTok influencer Tabitha Brown, whose viral vegan videos have made her a household name among both meat-free fans and the general population. And it all started with a sandwich.

In 2017, while working at Macy’s and driving for Uber to make ends meet as an actress, Tabitha Brown filmed a video of her eating the now famous TTLA sandwich from Whole Foods. The sandwich, known for its tempeh bacon, tomato, lettuce, and avocado, has since taken on new life. So has Brown.

The viral video, which has 2.9 million views to date and prompted the #TTLAChallenge, led to an ambassadorship with Whole Foods, and the rest, as they say, is social media history.

ZORA caught up with Brown to learn more about how going vegan has changed her life, why she wants to shine her light with the world, and what keeps her up at night.

ZORA: You admitted that you used to think “veganism is for White people.” What changed your mind?

Tabitha Brown: I never grew up being exposed to veganism, and when I became an adult and heard about it, no one looked like me. I never saw Black people talking about being vegan. But now that it’s my life, I realized I just hadn’t discovered the many people of color that live their life on a vegan diet.

And what advice do you have for Black women considering a meat-free lifestyle?

If Black women are considering a vegan lifestyle, I always say start with your “why,” and take it day by day. Don’t be hard on yourself.

How has being a vegan affected your physical and mental health?



L'Oreal Thompson Payton
Writer for

L’Oreal is a freelance writer and editor who’s dedicated to uplifting and inspiring Black women and girls through storytelling. Learn more at