PETA’s International Women’s Day Awards

On International Women’s Day (8 March), we’re celebrating powerful and kind women from Australia and New Zealand who are making the world a better place by applying their entrepreneurial skills to create successful vegan businesses in the fields of food, fashion, networking, and beyond.

Meet our “Compassionate Eight”!


  • Jess Bailey
    Vegan Grocery Store

    1. Jess Bailey – Founder and Owner, Vegan Grocery Store

    After learning that newborn male calves are torn away from their mothers and slaughtered and reflecting on her bond with her own son, Jess went vegan. She decided to create The Cruelty Free Shop, with the goal of making it easier for people to be vegan by helping them find vegan versions of their favourite foods. Now, the shop has locations in Sydney and Melbourne along with an online hub boasting the biggest variety of cruelty-free products in Australia, making vegan living more accessible and convenient.

  • Lara Kovacevich

    2. Lara Kovacevich – Creator, ZHIVAGO

    Helmed by Lara Kovacevich, ZHIVAGO was launched in 2011 and rapidly developed a devoted following for its signature creations. The label, which now enjoys global renown, is stocked by luxury retailers around the world. The socially conscious and 100% cruelty-free fashion house was named PETA’s Most Animal-Friendly Label in 2018, and some of the world’s most prominent celebrities and influencers wear its products.

  • Hannah Jones
    Hanami Cosmetics

    3. Hannah Jones – Creator and Founder, Hanami Cosmetics

    Hannah launched Hanami to create truly planet-friendly beauty. Since then, 50 cents from every online purchase of her cruelty-free, non-toxic cosmetics has gone to help Humane Research Australia free animals from the horrors of laboratory experimentation. Hanami’s dedication to all species is evident from the fact that a further 1% of its profits are donated to the “Pay the Rent” initiative, which directly supports Aboriginal people – Hannah’s way of paying “rent” for operating her business on land traditionally owned by the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation.

  • Nadhisha Perera

    4. Nadhisha Perera – Owner, Huntd

    Nadhisha’s love for fashion and animals collided in 2013 when, after watching a PETA video on the barbaric treatment of animals in the leather industry, the designer and leather-goods lover vowed to stop shopping for items that resulted in the deaths of animals. After searching for vegan shoes that reflected her style and realising there was a gap in the market, she began to create a line of stunning high-end shoes that were comfortable, luxurious, and fashionable without harming animals. By creating Huntd, Nadhisha succeeded in being kind, ethical, and stylish. Her designs are all “PETA-Approved Vegan”, support fair labour, and epitomise timeless luxury.

  • Shama Sukul Lee

    5. Shama Sukul Lee – Founder and CEO, Sunfed

    Sunfed founder Shama Sukul Lee – a software engineer turned hard-tech entrepreneur – is reimagining the food system, starting with meat. Her breakthrough company, which was founded in New Zealand, uses clean technology to make meat without harming animals. Her vision is to create a highly scalable regenerative-protein company that can feed the world without damaging it in the process. She believes changes to the food system can significantly transform the world: the better the food system, the better the well-being of all life.

  • Bree Gaudette
    Hello Friend Foods

    6. Bree Gaudette – CEO and Co-Founder, Hello Friend Foods

    Only a few years after vegan food hit the mainstream, cheddar cheese alternatives became readily available – but new vegan Bree felt the vegan cheese market was missing something. So, with a mix of “curiosity” and “determination”, Melbourne-based start-up Hello Friend Foods was born. If you’ve ever said, “Hello, friend!” to a cow on a long drive, Bree and her co-founder Matt’s mozzarella, halloumi, and cheese sauce will satisfy your craving for cheese – as well as your appetite for compassion for animals and a greener Earth.

  • Katrina Fox
    Vegan Women’s Leadership Network

    7. Katrina Fox – Founder, Vegan Women’s Leadership Network

    Ever since Katrina went vegan back in 1996, she’s been on a mission to speak up for animals across every medium possible. In addition to writing thoughtful, powerful pieces in major publications from The Age and Cleo to Forbes, she is a powerful player in the business world – founding, hosting the Vegan Business Talkpodcast, and authoring Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business. Her passion for helping women become ethical leaders also led her to found the Vegan Women’s Leadership Network.

  • Emma Hakansson
    Collective Fashion Justice & Willow Creative Co

    8. Emma Hakansson – Founder and Director, Collective Fashion Justice and Willow Creative Co

    When vegan model Emma isn’t bottle-feeding lambs orphaned by the wool industry, she’s working to help the fashion industry move towards cruelty-free creations through her non-profit venture, Collective Fashion Justice. She also runs Willow Creative Co – an ethical content production and consultation agency through which she helps ethical fashion brands and animal rights groups generate compelling content. Her project “Willow & Claude”, set to launch this winter, explores the responsibility consumers and creatives have towards sheep exploited for their wool.


The 2021 theme of International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge”, and these women certainly champion that every day. Whether they’re challenging the dairy industry to consider the suffering of mother cows or inspiring people to make ethical fashion and cosmetics purchases, we’re immensely lucky to have them on the side of animals.

You can join these powerful women in calling for change. Go vegan now, and join our online Activist Network:

Be Part of a Movement Led by Women!