He speaks three languages and can read braille. He plays with fire and nunchakus, but also with creature big and small. He built his body of steel with vegan protein and by lifting other up rather than lifting weights. He can mix bachata and acroyoga. He has more likes than an exhibitionistic teenager. His superhero compassion has compelled him to speak up for a range of causes for humans and other species. He is known with celebrity by the monikers of Solar Fire Ninja, the Veganator, and, most recently, PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door. But, to his friends and community he is simply and sweetly Victor Barragan Razo of West Valley City.
He wasn’t always a creative activist. He moved to the US from Mexico as a youngster. A few years ago he was overweight, without ambitions or goals: “I had made that connection to the animals at the farm when I was growing up, but I was never able to water those seeds. Moving to this country was a distraction. The seed was about to die, so I needed to feed this seed. It was going to die. So I said, this is the time. It’s do or die. I was tired of living like a typical American. I decided not to hurt any animals. Sure enough, following my heart is what gave me the most success in my life.’’
A log of Victor’s activities consistently challenges stereotypes. He is a Latino vegan bodybuilder. Modeling, veganism, and spirituality? His motto: ‘’My body is a temple, not a graveyard.’’
Mi Ranchito liked his vegan mulitas, flan, ceviche, and pastel so much that they are on track to include them in their menu. He regularly accepts invitations to cook for the curious, filming trilingual how-to videos in English, Spanish, and Sign Language. He is a performer, combining influences of acrobatics, fire, nunchakus, Latin dance, capoeira, acro-yoga, and more. He volunteers at the Ching Farm Sanctuary, is working on submitting a video to American Ninja Warrior, and will be a judge and performer at the Miss Utah Pageant. More than garnering fame for his own dreams and talents, he seems more motivated to serve as a crossover ambassador between cultures and causes. How is this disparate momentum possible?
‘’A lot of people get turned off by the word vegan because of the passion behind it. They think of people that are just obsessed about animal rights. If everybody were to step into other people’s shoes, they would probably realize that these people have been through experiences that other people haven’t. We could all understand each other a little bit better. We think that we can just live here for free and however we want, but that’s not how I feel. If we’re here, we’re here for a purpose, and I feel that purpose is to help out others. That is the unifying thing. I am not just talking about animals. I am referring to everyone in general: animals, differently-abled. We are all different in some way.’’
‘’If you see someone that is really passionate, out there holding a sign, they are passionate for a reason. If you find out that reason, it might actually change your life. We require people who make others more aware, give them a sense of being uncomfortable. I question, why it is that we do things as a society? rather than just follow along. I don’t see myself as any different from someone from the past who protested. This is history repeating itself over and over again, when human slavery was around, when women weren’t able to vote, the Holocaust. We realized that it was hurting someone. Many don’t see animals the same as humans. This is all connected. Whether you treat a human or an animal wrong, it’s all connected.’’