San Diego

Encinitas Woman Makes ‘Sexy Six' in PETA's 2018 Vegan Contest

A local nurse could be named "Sexiest Vegan Over 50"

A Cardiff woman made it to the final round of the “Sexiest Vegan Over 50” contest by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Darlene Howe is one of six contestants left fighting for the national title, PETA said.

Howe works as a labor and delivery nurse.

"Darlene Howe is living proof that the secret ingredients to sexiness are a clear conscience, a kind mind, [and] a huge heart,” said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman.

Howe was a vegetarian for 29 years before pledging to go vegan. She has a “Live Cruelty Free” tattoo with PETA’s logo on her leg.

“Sexiest Vegan Over 50” crowns one male and one female winner.

“Each of the finalists in PETA Prime's ‘Sexiest Vegan Over 50’ contest is a testament to how attractive vegans of all ages are, inside and out,” said Reiman.

An L.A. man is the only other Californian in the “sexy six” by PETA.

Howe, 54, is the youngest contestant in the running. The oldest is April Silverman, 80.

Oceanside resident Erin Riley-Carrasco won last year, giving San Diego the chance to win back-to-back victories.

NBC 7 spoke with Riley-Carrasco to learn more about the title and her advice for potential-winner Howe.

To her surprise, Riley-Carrasco received a phone call saying she was a finalist after her husband secretly entered her in the contest.

She thought they had the wrong person. “I was really shocked,” Riley-Carrasco said.

Shortly after, PETA emailed her to confirm her win. “It was absolutely incredible,” said Riley-Carrasco. “I was so honored to have that title for the year.”

Partly because of her victory, Riley-Carrasco now hosts a weekly cooking show called “Saturday Snackdown.”

She was also able to interview the founder of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk.

With her title, Riley-Carrasco hoped to spread her message of veganism, “[It’s] best for your health, the animals, and the planet.”

And she hopes Howe will get to do the same too. “I think she’d be a wonderful role model,” she said.

When asked to give advice to Howe about the contest, Riley-Carrasco said, “I’d tell her to embrace it. To use it as a vehicle to show the world how vibrant and healthy vegans can be.”

Riley-Carrasco, who initially had mixed feelings about being called “Sexiest Vegan Over 50,” later embraced the title. “‘Sexy’ isn’t just on the outside,” she said.

The 2017 winner received a 10-day Caribbean cruise, where she “met so many of [her] real life heroes.”

This year’s winners will receive an eight-day trip to Northern India.

To vote for the “Sexiest Vegan,” go to PETA’s website. PETA will announce the winner on October 22.

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