Interview: Cheri Davidson and Her Incestuous Cats

cheriWhen I first became a student of improv, one of my first teachers was Cheri Davidson. She was very motivating and encouraging, and she was always nice to me despite my annoying impulse to yuk it up while she was trying to be serious (thank goodness I don’t do that anymore, eh?). In addition to being a great improv teacher and doer, Cheri is one of the most interesting and surprising people I know. She raises money for charity, she plays music, she sings, she goes to school and she does exotic karate-esque activities I don’t even know the name of. Also, she’s probably going to punch me for calling the thing “karate-esque,” because it’s probably not like karate at all. Wax on, wax off.

Meet Cheri Davidson.

When and why did you make the decision to not be vegan?
To “veg” or “not to veg” has never really been a choice in my later years. I eat what tastes good to me. My family members are self-proclaimed “foodies on a budget,” so it was always all about taste and affordability growing up. Quite often fish and chicken were featured at dinner in really exciting ways.

Describe your journey to veganism and where you got stalled.
Growing up, my family did not have a lot of money, so in my early teens when I did decide to try the vegetarian lifestyle (because I thought it was healthier) I lacked the knowledge of how to do it properly (i.e. how to get all the proper nutrients in my body) and lacked the family funds to support the better food choices. Instead I ate apples for lunch, just my veggies with dinner and no breakfast. I was slender but in no way healthy. Now that my family is stable my dad often cooks vegetarian meals, mayhaps some vegan as well, I’m not sure. My dad and I have this restaurant idea that would feature a vegan/vegetarian option for almost every item on the menu. No, I can’t tell you the idea, someone will STEAL it. So to answer the question: knowledge and funds. Yup.

If you had to take one step toward becoming vegan, what would it be and why only one?
I would try to cut out dairy products. Seems an easy enough way to start (although I LOVE cheese). I’m not a big fan of extreme overnight lifestyle changes; it has to be gradual. For example, I used to be overweight at about 220 lbs (a far cry from my apple lunch days of 125 lbs), and I started with small changes like cutting soda out of my diet, which made my alcohol consumption drop dramatically as well. Also, you only asked for one step and I ramble enough as is on the questions. FYI, woke up this morning at 181.2 lbs. Woo!

Eating chickens is pretty extreme. Do you get weird looks when you order at restaurants?
Only when I eat hot wings. I eat them with a knife and fork. I really hate getting my hands messy. My family and friends make fun of me for it pretty hard core. Many of them don’t know that I also do it with ribs and sometimes pizza…

Which fad diet or meat-eating celebrity made you want to eat animals?
Macho Man Randy Savage: “Step into a Slim Jim – Oh Yea!”

What vegan food do you fear you’re missing out on as a non-vegan?
Hm… tofu. I’ve had it only a couple ways and I’m pretty sure there is a way to make it taste like food.

Do you eat fish? You eat fish, right?
I love fish. It’s quick, it’s easy. And Tilapia, being the chicken of the sea, is super versatile. Still cooking on a budget I find that Salmon and Tilapia are my new besties.

cheri catsAre there any animals in your life, such as pets or funny neighborhood squirrels? Tell us a story about them.
Do I have animals in my life? Oh yes I do! Monkey (orange) and Socks (grey). Socks is both Monkey’s nephew AND brother. Long story. I love these little buttheads. I always say that if I had a pet bird of some type I’d probably give up poultry, and if I had a pet fish I’d give up fish. You can’t eat something you also love. My fiancé says no more pets though, so no changes anytime soon.

What do you do for fun besides eating meat and dairy?
I used to do a lot more. Back in the day I was heavily involved with teaching and performing improv, as well as house managing for a play. Now, mostly I do homework. I’m back in school getting a degree in Criminal Justice (would love to be a forensic psychologist but will probably end up doing something in social work – both would make me happy). When I have the time, I like to go to the gym and run, go to shows at The Improv Shop and spend time with my fiancé, Matt. Also, I enjoy playing harmonica; I have played with my mom’s band on occasion and at karaoke. Oh! I also love karaoke! Do you want to karaoke next time you’re in town???

Do you have any upcoming projects you want to plug? Tell us about them.
I’m on the Compass Improv board and there’s this super cool festival coming up. (“ahem,” Link).

Make up a question of your own and answer it.
Are you doing another Pi(e) Party Fundraiser next year?
No, I’m getting married next Pi Day. However, if you want to donate to the Variety Club (which I will still be donating to on my own next year) go to their site (another plug, I know)!

Song: “Killer Tofu” By The Beets (From the Show Doug)
Recipe: Tachos! from Plant Based on a Budget

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