Interview: Tony Nguyen


Photo credit: David Guo

Tony Nguyen is quickly becoming one of my favorite people. Ever since we met at a rehearsal for Denver’s Next Improv Star, a weekly show we’re both doing, I’ve thought he is fun and nice. Getting to know him better – through DNIS and through our new independent team, Free Gluten! – has convinced me that A) I was right: he is fun and nice, and B) he is also polite, thoughtful, smart, funny and dedicated. This interview with Tony is the first in a series of interviews with members (and maybe even the coach!) of Free Gluten!

Meet Tony Nguyen.

What is your first and last name?
Tony Nguyen

How long have you been a non-vegan?
All my life. I dabbled in vegetarianism for a 2 month period as an adult, but that’s as close as I ever got. I have had onesy vegetarian days related to being a better Buddhist as well.

Why have you decided not to be vegan?
I am live-to-eat kind of guy and enjoy meat dishes too much. Plus my mom cooks a lot of meat dishes and eating food is how my family shows love. Sometimes I even force myself to eat more because I know it makes my mom happy, which is no small gesture since everyone that knows me knows I am pretty disciplined in my eating and I work hard at being healthy.

Where do you get your protein?
I actually try to do this thing called the military diet like 3 days a week and it’s pretty well balanced, but tuna and beef provide a lot of the protein there. Otherwise I eat meat pretty frequently anyways.

I know you work out often. Do you find this difficult as a non-vegan?
I would guess it’s easier as a non-vegan. I also supplement with protein shakes for working out too. Rawr! (tonyrawr is my username on the National Improv Network btw)

What vegan food do you fear you’re missing out on as a non-vegan?
Trick question because I have the option of eating any vegan dish anytime I want. I do enjoy seitan and tofu dishes a lot though.

Do you eat fish? You eat fish, right?
I love fish! Sushi/Sashimi is always tasty, fatty tuna ftw.

tony-hedgeAre there any animals in your life, such as pets or funny neighborhood squirrels? Tell us a story about them.
There are no pets in my life. There is a neighborhood cat that has jumped into my car once when the door was open, this same cat also climbed up on his hind legs to peep through my screen door when I left the main front door open once. I called him Mittens for a long time because of his gray fir and white paws, but I found out that his name is Thomas. I did include a picture of a friend’s pet, Enzo the hedgehog, and me.

What do you do for fun besides eating meat and dairy?
I perform and practice improv frequently. I have been logging my time spent on the craft of improv to see how I am progressing in terms of the 10,000 hour rule, and so far for 2014 I am at 35.75 hours this calendar year. I try to workout as much as possible, lifting and cardio. I play Magic the Gathering cards with friends casually. I play Clash of Clans on my phone and iPad a good amount . I try to meditate when I can. I take naps on the weekends, which I enjoy a lot too. Spend time with people that I care about.

Do you have to plan your meals carefully to make sure you don’t miss out on certain vitamins and minerals?
This question seems sarcastic, but I do plan my meals out exactly 3 days a week. If left to my own devices, I would eat myself to death.

Do you have any upcoming projects you want to plug? For example, are you on an improv team with anyone cool that you want to brag about?
Yay, improv teams! I am part of super fun independent group “Free Gluten” playing recently at the Deer Pile. I am on Bovine Metropolis Theater house team “Turn It Around!”, playing on some Mondays and Thursdays. I am on Denver’s Next Improv Star Season 5 at the Bovine as well, playing on Saturday nights. I am on “Carnival Code” that plays regularly in the Voodoo Comedy Show Case on Wednesdays at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.

Make up a question of your own and answer it.
What are some things that you are proud of? Graduating college, the biggest stepping stone to becoming the independent adult I am today. Being a part of the wonderfully talented Denver improv community. I lost 20 lbs. in the last year.

Song: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
Recipe: Vegetarian Sushi

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