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DAN MATHEWS

He raided the offices of Calvin Klein and convinced them to stop designing with fur, pressured General Motors to stop using animals in crash tests and wheeled a TV into the offi ces of Gillette to show them just what their animal testing was really doing. Dan Mathews leads an extraordinary life that sees him travelling the globe championing animal rights for PETA, fighting for LGBT equality and dallying with A-listers. It’s little wonder then, that his motto is:‘Who says that just because you’ve devoted your life to fighting for a serious cause, you can’t have a good time doing it?
IMAGE > KAMIL SZKOPIK

Animal activism came early to Dan Mathews. As he was struggling with being gay-bashed at school, he simultaneously began to find solace in animals, feeling an empathy for their abuse. In many ways, growing up gay in the 1960s and ’70s – struggling for acceptance and respect – paralleled the animal-rights movement Mathews would later come to live and breathe in adulthood with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

When we meet on a sunny autumn morning in London’s Hyde Park, it’s easy to see how Mathews so easily slips into the role of PETA poster boy. He’s strikingly tall and dashingly handsome at 52. In fact, as a young male model, he once walked the catwalks he has since come to protest against. He tells me this is a whirlwind trip (one of many he performs in his role as Senior VP of Campaigns) and that he’s flying to Poland the next day where he’ll talk at a school in honour of World Animal Day. Straight after that, it’s Paris Fashion Week to support friend and fellow vegan Stella McCartney at her new show. He’s no name-dropper, but Mathews can count Pamela Anderson, Pink, Alan Cumming and Sir Paul McCartney amongst his impressive roster of celebrity friends.

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