Interview with The Queen of Surfing Veronica Grey
Known as The Queen of Surfing, Veronica Grey is the most televised surfer in the world. Born in the Philippines, she grew up in California and first appeared on our screens in 'My So-Called Life' before her career evolved with her gaining the title she's best known for today.
Riding the waves has brought her more joy than simply being on the big screen doing what she loves, her work is her passion and most recently she directed a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio which saw the duo's humanitarian and environmental work recognised by their peers.
Kim O'Meara caught up with Veronica to hear all about one very special (and handsome) man in her life, her dog Flash Delirium.
Tell us about your dog - we'd like to know everything about him!
Flash Gordon Delirium is a three years young American Staffordshire Terrier, with traces of Bernese Mountain Dog, Scottish Terrier, and even Papillon. We got one of those $34 DNA tests from eBay because we wanted to know!
He is named after the MGMT song 'Flash Delirium' because I have a special friendship with that Grammy winning, psychedelic band - those Kings of Shows.
Flash is a cuddler and super nice and friendly. His favourite word to be called is handsome. He is really smart and we talk with each other. Unless he is going on a car ride that day or leaving the house, he would prefer I leave his collar off. So basically if I put it on him first thing in the morning, he mentally prepares himself for a productive day and if I leave it off, he knows it is a day off. He likes to know ahead of time what kind of day he is going to have to prepare himself.
He can also tell how long a trip is going to be depending on the bag I pack, and he definitely is not stoked if mommy is going somewhere without him.
He was a rescue from the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter and such a cute puppy that one day it literally took us five hours to make it from point A to point B on a walk because every single person wanted to smooch him.
He has one blue eye and gets the David Bowie comparison quite often. He also has a diamond marking on his back - a real diamond dog. Diamonds are my best friends!
You have a real affinity towards animals, and that's evident through your conservation and animal welfare work with wildlife, have you always owned or been around animals?
Ever since I was a little girl, I always loved animals. I played in the dirt and was fascinated with the bugs I would find under rocks. Oh and I am a weirdo who loves spiders (laughs) - the bigger and more colourful, the better.
I became a staunch environmentalist almost 5 years ago, when I learned how dangerously crippled our ecosystem is, with horrific facts like our oceans will be devoid of fish in the next couple of decades if we don't stop eating fish, and how in the past 40 years, our beloved Earth has lost 50% of all its wildlife, thanks to the worst creature of all, humans.
Basically I am at the point of learning to love and appreciate even cockroaches, the continuance of the human race depends on our hearts leading our actions. Now I am 'not allowed' to kill anything, and I practice by trying to see the beauty in even roaches.
As well as your work with wildlife, I read you also rescue and train service dogs. Tell us a little about this.
A few years back, I had a puppy named Galford Grey Corgan when I was involved with Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, and Galford won Top 10 for the city of LA on the TV show 'America's Cutest Puppies'.
After that, I had big dreams about Galford becoming a star like Lassie and I thought I could just send him off to star dog school but the reality is you must attend the school with the animal to learn to train them, which is how I got certified.
Billy didn't appreciate the fact that Galford nipped him so when I joined the Smashing Pumpkins on tour, Galford had to be lovingly rehomed.
Flash is my 'forever dog'.
Photos / Cover shot by Stuart D'Avanzo
You're the most televised surfer in the world so you must have to travel quite a lot. Does Flash travel with you?
Now that I am recognised as The Queen of Surfing, and with this year being the 40th anniversary of 'Jaws', you can bet Flash will be travelling a lot with me as we do TV appearances spreading awareness on how to salvage the environment and prevent shark attacks.
Shark Week is 5-12th July and that is usually my bread and butter as I trademarked the world's first ever and only line of shark repellent swimwear. I would love for a global chain to license it!
The handy thing about Flash being an impeccably trained service dog is that he walks on and off the plane with me and remains at my feet for the entire duration of the flight. Flash has never been crated! He is also really good riding in cars.
Where's the most pet friendly place you've ever visited (and why)?
I like how in France you can basically bring a dog with you everywhere, like they are just another member of your family, which, they are.
You must have seen the many Youtube videos of dogs skateboarding, so taking this to your turf we have to know, have you taught Flash to surf?
Flash loves the beach but is not fond of the water itself. On the rare occasion I stand-up paddle, he is a great passenger. Here he is giving surfing a shot.
Hair by Tasha Calma for Paul Mitchell
Make-up by Jada Mouton for Paul Mitchell
Your recent environmental documentary, 'Worst Shark Attack Ever', which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, The Cure, MGMT, and superstar surfer John John Florence has the tagline 'It's not what you think but you'll be glad to know'. Tell us about the film and message behind it.
Worst Shark Attack Ever can be viewed on YouTube. It explores the horrific carnage humans inflict upon sharks, called shark finning. We cruelly slaughter 100,000,000 sharks a year or 190 sharks a minute or 3 sharks every second.
By the time you are finished reading this article, over 987 sharks may have been killed and the ocean has been raped further.
That's huge. How long do you think sharks can survive if nothing changes?
At this rate, sharks could go extinct within this coming decade, and this would set off an ecological chain of events from which humans might not survive. A planet without its ocean's apex predator is doomed.
What, if anything, can be done to detour from this cataclysmic trajectory are the answers our little eco doc presents, as we walk in Christ consciousness.
You and Leonardo also won the Special Humanitarian of the Year award for the film from the International Movie Awards 2015, right?
You are right Kim!
Furthermore, I am happy to say that at least three film festivals have awarded me and Leonardo DiCaprio for our environmental efforts.
Here is me accepting Leonardo DiCaprio's Socially Responsible Conservationist Award from Susan Johnston at the New Media Film Festival this past week.
Veronica Grey's hair and make-up by Carlynne Epstein of Wicked Venice
How big a factor is social media in spreading the word for you?
I love, love, love social media but first and foremost I'm a surfer.
John John Florence 'weaned' me off Instagram and Twitter. He helped bring four of my books to the number 1 best seller spot on Amazon so I sometimes follow his business advice.
Hair for Veronica Grey by Ashley Spaulding for Paul Mitchell
Get ready to anthropomorphise with our next set of questions – we hope you have fun :)
You seem very in tune with Flash, so if you had to swap roles with him for a day, what would you love most about being him? And in reverse, how do you think he would cope being you for a day?
Flash has the ability to manifest food wherever he goes. He often freely roams the beaches while I surf the relaxed, lawless North Shore of O'ahu, Hawai'i, and when I get out of the water, there he is getting massages from beautiful women and also lots of snacks. I would enjoy that as well, since I am a strict vegetarian/liquidarian.
Did you notice in the new 'Entourage' movie Adrien Grenier's character promotes a vegetarian lifestyle and also doesn't have any promiscuous sex in the movie? All I can say is he was partially inspired by lifestyle tips in our number 1 bestselling book 'Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: The 5 Most Important Wellness Secrets of All Time'.
If Flash were me for a day, he would probably enjoy people food. I know he does and so I always save leftovers for him.
What three words best sum up Flash's personality?
If I don't say handsome he would be miffed, so I have to say handsome, super-intelligent and affectionate.
For this question, we ask our celebs to match up the following people’s personality to a breed of dog, for example, Winston Churchill = Bulldog or J.Lo = Afghan Hound, Frank Bruno = Boxer etc. If the following celebrities and dog lovers were breeds of dogs, based on their personalities alone, what type of breed do you think they'd be and why...
Leonardo DiCaprio – I happen to know he actually has a French Bulldog named DJango, probably because they always look like they are in a black and white formal tuxedo.
Brigitte Bardot – She looks like she could rock a Goldendoodle, very glamorous and known for their hair.
Eddie Vedder (frontman of Pearl Jam and huge surf fan) – Yeah, he is often spotted at health food supermarkets around O'ahu. Because of his grunge personality, I see him with a dreadlocked Komondor.
Taylor Swift – Who would the Queen of Songs keep on a leash? Probably someone sexy, blonde, who has to frequently shake off water, and is not necessarily K9 (laughs).
Tell us something no one else knows about you.
I just gave you an inside scoop about Taylor Swift!
(Veronica thinks for a moment) Well, unfortunately I have no secrets because rock star Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT knows everything about me, whether I like it or not, and he has been known to broadcast.
So, how about a photo no one has ever seen before?
Bikini by Royal Soul Surf
Which do you prefer and why?
Big dogs or little dogs – Big dogs because my friend calls little dogs 'barking footballs'.
Pedigree dogs or cross-breeds – Oh love the one you are with!
Days off or days at work – My job revolves around surfing so there is no difference.
Describe the last time you laughed out loud because of something you saw Flash or another dog do.
They say a picture says a thousand words. We hope you find this one to be fun, if not funny as Flash gets excited when I unwrap new music for us to listen to in cars.
We're approaching National Dog Adoption Month here in the UK and there are over 100,000 dogs in rescue centres across the UK, with over 200,000 dogs given up last year alone. If you could encourage people to consider bringing a dog into their home, what would you say the best thing is about owning a dog?
Studies show that owning a dog alleviates depression and extends your lifespan, because dogs give you a sense of having something for which to live.
Finish the following sentence, my dog is...cuter than yours. But everyone thinks their dog is!
And finally, this is always a tough question and often requires a fair degree of thinking time but….if Flash had the ability to speak and answer one question and one question only, what would you ask him and what do you think that he would say?
I would ask Flash if he prefers boy dogs or girl dogs because he sniffs them both, and I think he would tell me that it is none of my business.
Many Thanks Veronica!