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Emmett Skilton & Holly Shervey’s vegan vows

The TV duo dream of a better world

They have no venue, guest list or even a date, but there’s one thing engaged Kiwi actors Emmett Skilton and Holly Shervey have already decided on for their big day – the catering!

“It will be a delicious vegan feast – it’s our day, our way,” tells The Almighty Johnsons star Emmett. “There are so many great meals you can make that don’t need meat. People just haven’t tried them. Our guests might be so impressed, they’ll be persuaded to give it a go!”

Emmett, 29, was himself curious about veganism five years ago, when he became concerned about the poor treatment of farm animals, and started replacing the meat and fish in his diet with iron-rich broccoli, chickpeas and spinach.

He soon began to feel healthier and more energetic, and eventually cut out eating most animal products. The drastic diet change saw the actor named New Zealand’s Hottest Vegetarian in 2016 by animal-rights charity Safe, for which he is now an ambassador, but Emmett insists he’s not interested in accolades.

“My mission is simply to make people more aware,” he says. “I honestly don’t care what someone does with their own future, but when they are ignorant to facts, that’s what annoys me. I’m simply challenging people to be more aware of where their food is coming from, where the animals are coming from and if they are cared or not cared for.

“Vegans get a really bad rap. We are the butt of all jokes on Instagram and Facebook. Most people think vegans carry around signs, insisting everyone must convert. I don’t know any like that – just animal activists who are like that for good reason. People say to me, ‘You are so picky,’ but it’s not about the meal. I actually give a crap about where my food comes from.”

The Kiwi stars of Auckward Loveand Almighty Johnsons have more in common than hit shows!

Emmett’s passion has rubbed off on his Funny Girls sweetheart Holly, 28, who now also follows a vegan diet. However, it was over a surprise breakfast for her birthday three years ago – organised by Holly’s then-flatmate, Westside star Will Hall – that romance first blossomed between the pair.

“Will had organised a breakfast that I thought was just for me and him, but he invited heaps of his mates – Emmett was the only one I hadn’t met,” recalls Holly. “We hit it off right away. He noticed I swore a lot, which he was very attracted to. Emmett left for LA about a month after, but in a short space of time, we got to know each other really well.

She adds, “I grew up in a meat-and-three-veg household, but the vegetarian thing was never an issue. Date nights were easy – we’d have Thai, Japanese or Mexican on rotation.

Emmett on the Almighty Johnsons (far right)

I was always a meat-eater because it was my family way, but naturally I became more curious. I’d ask Emmett more questions and then started doing some research for myself.

“Then one day, I was in the supermarket and I turned down the tinned-fish aisle. I felt really overwhelmed, thinking, ‘Where on earth has all this tuna come from?’ There were just stacks and stacks of it.”

Since becoming vegan, Holly – who created, co-directs and stars in the TVNZ web series Auckward Love – has never felt better. She never gets bloated and her skin feels healthier. “You only have to google ‘vegan women’ to see how they are able to age so gracefully. They are superhuman!” she says.

“But the best thing about it is that I still get to eat carbs – big pasta meals and potatoes! I’m probably the only actress in history to confess to such a diet, but I could never go back to those small Paleo-sized portions.”

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