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Colleen Augustin upholds a sustainable lifestyle as a vegan MMA fighter

Together with Volvo Cars Malaysia, The Z List — Colleen Augustin — talks about practising a sustainable lifestyle as a vegan MMA fighter and the long term goal to inspire others to fight for the greater good.

As the old adage goes, do not just a book by its cover. Colleen Augustin is unlike any other.

Unbeknownst to many, the 23-year-old started practising ballet at the age of six before venturing into competitive basketball when she was 10. At the age of 16, she started competing in road running and eventually stumbled upon obstacle course racing, where she ended becoming a semi-pro obstacle course racer under Spartan Race Malaysia. Then, she gradually transitioned to mixed martial arts later on.

“For me, it was a simple transition because I was doing all these things simultaneously since I was a kid,” addresses Colleen. “Despite all of that, dance is still very important in my life because it teaches me to express myself and nurtures my soul from within.”

When it seems like her journey has started long time ago, she believes that it is still a long way to go. She is one who likes to break boundaries — a non-conformist who challenges stigmas and norms. And one of the most obvious facts is being a MMA fighter and vegan.

Unbeknownst to many, Colleen Augustin started as a ballet dancer at the age of six. (Photo: Martin Teo/Lifestyle Asia KL)

As oxymoronic as it may sound, Colleen has a lot to prove. “Most people don’t see me as a fighter because of my small size. Being a fighter, it takes a lot of toll on the body and it can be challenging as well not being able to consume animal-based protein to recover. I’m always on the hunt for vegan-friendly food options to keep me fuelled and energised throughout the day, especially with regular training,” she says. “But given the choice, I will not change a single thing about being a vegan — it is a lifestyle with a very rewarding experience.”

In between the graceful pirouettes and the knockoff punches, she finds the balance that keeps her grounded as a down-to-earth humble person.

“For me, I practice sustainability through my diet and my lifestyle. I try to reduce my carbon footprint as much as I can,” she shares on how one little decision can make a big difference. “It is important for all of us to play our part because if we go down the path that we are at right now, we will not have a beautiful world for the next generation to enjoy.”

Colleen in the Volvo XC40.

Similarly, the Volvo XC40 echoes the same sentiment. In fact, Volvo Cars recently announced that the brand will become a fully electric car company by 2030 — a big sustainable step forward for the brand as one of the world’s premium electric car maker.

The commitment to going fully electric not only allows Volvo Cars to meet the expectation of its customers who are becoming more aware of the need for sustainability, but also to be part of the greater change when it coms to fighting climate issues.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the first fully electric car launched by Volvo Cars. This is the first step to becoming a climate-neutral and circular company by 2040 — a long term plan that will see an absolute change in the automotive industry.

Much like having long-term plans, Colleen stresses the very reason why she chooses to be a vegan. “The ultimate goal is to play my part and in the long run, I hope to inspire others to also make small changes in their life to contribute to a more sustainable future.”

At the same time, Volvo has also announced it move to vegan-oriented leather-free interiors as the Swedish company takes a stand for animal welfare with plans to bring these new interior concepts to all of its electric cars.

Colleen wants to inspire others to do their part in reducing carbon footprints. (Photo: Martin Teo/Lifestyle Asia KL)

Two thumbs up from Colleen, the petite dynamite adds that the Volvo XC40 is perfect for someone like her who’s always on the go because it’s compact and easy to navigate.

“One of my favourite things about the Volvo XC40 is that I get to enjoy powerful performance with low carbon emission. Not only that, it helps me to meet my everyday sustainability needs, even when I am driving,” expresses Colleen.

For the vegan MMA fighter, it is not about the punches but the ability to continue fighting even when the situation gets harder and harder — much like the rallying for sustainability. “It is not easy, but slowly and surely we’ll get there together.”

concept MARTIN TEO | production NEW STORYBOARDS PHOTOGRAPHY | sequined top KATE SPADE | hair COCODRY | makeup ERANTHE LOO | special thanks DISTRICT 13 GYM & SALA RESTAURANT

Martin Teo
Martin has a bent for history and food culture, especially of the Peranakan heritage. Since the pandemic, he finds joy in plant parenting and continues to expand his collection of Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and Syngoniums. He's now on a lookout for the elusive Philodendron Florida Beauty to add to his urban garden.
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