Bodybuilders tend to fit that stereotype: muscles, tan, not the brightest, and, of course, a meat-eater. But then there’s Dominick Thompson, in his early 40s, who has no desire to fit into the mold society has come to accept. He’s a vegan bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, animal rights activist, and social entrepreneur. How many of us can say that about ourselves?
“Here I was, a black man, African-American, with size, with a background, assertive, no filter, spoke his mind, and told you like it was about animal agriculture,” the Thompson, from Atlanta, said. “There was no representation [like that] in the vegan community.”
About 20 years ago, before Thompson started preaching animal activism on social media, he was a young 20-something sitting in a prison cell. There, he found himself and adopted a mantra: “If it requires harm, then nah.”
It was in prison that Thompson removed meat from his diet and changed his life around, and never looked back, as he says. “Transitioning back into civilian life was an emotional roller coaster ride.” After being released in 2005, he started a new career as a traveling healthcare executive while completing century rides (100-mile bike rides) and 10 triathlons per year.
“I think people doubt me all the time without me even knowing, but I am comfortable in my own skin,” Thompson said. He believes that anyone can find success and happiness as long as they are always being themselves.
Once he moved to NYC in 2012, he started posting on Instagram, which is when he realized his mantra of “do no harm” as well as his veganism can be a powerful message. “My platform just took off, to the point that I had the largest vegan male account at that time on Instagram.”
Here’s to changing stereotypes!