Samantha Hayes

Samantha Hayes, TV3's darling journalist, was named Auckland's sexiest woman. She hails from small town Milton and is a big name on the journalistic scene in Australasia.

This news reporter admits to stories really stirring her heart, especially ones involving animal cruelty. A vegetarian since she was 11, Samantha speaks about how she walks the talk.

Why did you become Veg and when?

I was quite young, about 11 years old and never a big fan of the taste of meat; I never liked bacon, for example. I remember looking at new lambs on the farm and thinking I didn’t want to be responsible for them being killed, but at the same time I realised that they wouldn’t be there in the first place if someone didn’t eat them.

What’s the greatest thing about being Veg?

Knowing I can be healthy and happy without needing to eat animals.

How did you make the change?

Cold turkey. (Probably not the best term to use!)

Was it hard to make the changes?

Because I was young my parents had to deal with it more than I did. Mum tried to convince me to eat meat again but I was happy with my decision. I ate a lot of pasta snacks.

Are your family and friends Veg too?

I have a few friends who are and that number seems to be growing. No family though.

What’s your favourite food?

My top five: pineapple, mango, raspberries, avocado, kumara chips.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Coco’s Cantina has always been happy to stray from their menu and conjure up new vegetarian or vegan meals for me. If you want to be really fancy, Clooney and The Grove both have a vegetarian and vegan degustation menu.

What is a typical day’s menu for you?

Long black coffee, avocado on dark rye, banana, a bought salad type thing for lunch and lots of veges with tofu or noodles for dinner, then dark chocolate!

What do you do for fun?

Go to the beach, read a book, eat hot chips. You can’t beat a glass of wine in the sun with friends.

What do you do for fitness?

I run a few times a week, nothing further than five kilometres, and go to the gym once or twice. Having a trainer is worthwhile so I know I’m on the right track and not doing any damage.

What is the funniest thing someone has ever said to you about being Veg?

But you eat fish, right? No. I don’t eat fish.

Are there any challenges in being Veg?

I get paranoid about things like chicken stock or fish sauce in things that otherwise look vegetarian. There’s simply no way to tell. I always try and double- check by asking. It’s a little annoying but it makes me feel more confident. If I’m not sure, I won’t eat it.

Do you have advice for others about to Go Veg?

Don’t be afraid to ask a restaurant to modify something. The vegetarian option is usually heavy on cheese or mushrooms. I’m constantly asking for the chicken without the chicken because I want the quinoa salad it comes with. Don’t be afraid to ask for something entirely new. It’s a restaurant after all, teeming with chefs, believe it or not! And take a multivitamin just in case.