The vegan movement has been around for a long time now, but in the last decade, it has become far more common. People are much more public about their lives as vegans (because it truly is a lifestyle). Among the vegan community, one of the most vocal YouTube vloggers has been Freelee, the Banana Girl. Freelee has become the mouthpiece for the worldwide vegan community, for better or for worse. She has very strong feelings about the vegan message and is definitely a huge animal rights activist in addition to a health guru.
In recent months though, Freelee has expanded her horizons and begun to take her celebrity and social media presence to a different level. But while this Australian beauty has shared so much about her thoughts on various different topics related to vegan and organic living, animal rights and a number of other somewhat controversial topics, there is still much that the world just doesn’t know about her. With a YouTube following of about three quarters of a million people, she has certainly proven that people take what she has to say seriously and want to know more. So here are 15 things you didn’t know about Freelee the Banana Girl!
15. Real Name is Leanne Ratcliffe
Freelee is actually Leanne… Leanne Ratcliffe. Leanne was born in 1980 and raised on a farm in Queensland, Australia. More on the selection of the name “Freelee” later, but Leanne has not gone by her given name in quite some time. She prefers her new name to the old and in social media circles, no one knows her by anything else. In fact, dropping “the Banana Girl” is pretty much okay as well. All you have to do is talk about “Freelee” and most folks (at least in the vegan community) will know exactly who you are referencing. Freelee is 36 and looks at least 10 years younger. Whatever she is doing must be working for her, because she has a beautiful glow and what seems to be endless energy!
14. Posted Video Blaming Obese People for 9/11 Deaths
It is one thing to be an advocate for a particular type of lifestyle. It is a completely different thing to begin shaming people because they do not share the same beliefs and system of values. Unfortunately, in her efforts to spread the word of veganism, Freelee went a few miles past “a little too far!” Several years ago (surely she has learned her lesson since then), Freelee said in one of her public videos that obese people were to blame for some of the 9/11 deaths. She stated that because they were in the way of fit people from being able to get down stairways faster, this caused additional deaths! This didn’t sit well with many people and caused quite a stir. Nevertheless, Freelee went right on proclaiming her message and sharing her personal opinions with the world!
13. The Vegan Community Online Can Be Really Messy
Do you remember being in middle school and having to listen to other kids gossiping about one another behind backs? Sometimes the talking can get so intense that it expands into a much bigger mess than anyone could anticipate. The vegan community has apparently had some drama with Freelee smack dab in the middle of it all. It’s almost like a reality television show with one person posting a video calling another one out. Then that person has to respond and make them look bad. They bully one back and forth and unfortunately, everyone just sits and watches the whole thing unfold. There’s no telling how many young kids are seeing it all as well. Remember Freelee, you are a 36 year old woman and a role model. Act like it!
12. Quit Her Vegan Social Media Channels
Realizing that she has perhaps said too much and gotten too much heat put on her for some of her more outspoken vegan comments and positions (not to mention her opinions about the healthcare system in general), Freelee decided to get a fresh start. She quit all her vegan channels on different social media platforms (including YouTube) and has decided to go down a somewhat different path. While she is still proudly vegan and anticipates doing the occasional video with that theme, she has posted video content on her vlog about minimalist living and putting out content that involves that concept. She has done material related to frugal living, earning extra money and more. As a result, she has gotten a lot more favorable opinions and more followers are coming back!
11. Threw Out Most of Her Clothes
Part of Freelee the Banana Girl’s new minimalist outlook on life deals with her wardrobe. Freelee has begun to view things in life much differently and as a result, she has ditched the vast majority of her closet! Freelee got rid of hundreds of items from her closet and got it down to just 30 items total. She can fit her entire wardrobe now into a backpack. According to her, she only has five pairs of underwear and one pair of socks! Girls like Freelee do not have to worry much with variety in their wardrobe… I mean, she would look fantastic in a paper bag! But there is something very admirable about doing more with less. We could all learn a bit of a lesson from her on this point.
10. Grew Up On a Farm With Lots of Animals
Freelee grew up in Australia, which is unmistakable when you listen to her speak! To look at her, you’d think that she was a city girl, or perhaps a beach volleyball playing, surfer chick from the coast. In fact, Freelee grew up on a farm in Queensland, Australia! She claims that while growing up, they had eight horses, two cows and more chickens than she could count. There is no word on what her parents make of her vegan lifestyle at this point in her life. These days, I don’t think Freelee hangs around the farm much, claiming that she is somewhat nomadic. She enjoys spending time in South Australia still, but also spends a lot of time between New York and Thailand! If you’re heading to Thailand, Freelee can recommend some great vegan restaurants if you are interested.
9. Actually Worked At Mickey D’s For a Year!
Freelee the Banana Girl is a very outspoken advocate for the vegan lifestyle. She has gone to some great extremes in her advocacy in the past, going so far as to make threats against people that eat meat! But there was a time in her life where Freelee herself was anything but a vegan! She has been down that path and claims to have even worked at McDonald’s back in 1996 for about a year! She doesn’t speak fondly of her time working there, but hasn’t hidden that part of her past. She was about 16 and fast food is one of the only jobs teenagers can get. We don’t hold it against you Freelee… clearly you won’t be seeing her entering a McDonald’s, let alone working there any time soon.
8. Freelee Comes From Leanne and Freedom
So we know that her real name is Leanne… a point that she doesn’t try to hide from the world. Freelee is a very open individual and doesn’t seem to hide a whole lot from the world. Her name Freelee though, is very unique and for anyone that takes a different name, there must be a story. She explains to us in one of her videos the origin of Freelee comes from the fusion of the word “freedom” and her real name “Leanne.” To read about her life, she explains how unhappy with herself she was for years. When she woke up and decided to make a change, the name also had to change. That’s respectable, although I would imagine her mother and father still call her Leanne. Some old habits die hard.
7. Gave Up Coffee in 2006
Coffee is one of the best parts of the day for so many people! They love waking up and smelling freshly brewed coffee and they enjoy the warm, soothing feel of the first sip each morning. Freelee was apparently in the coffee drinking club for a number of years, but in 2006, she gave it up completely. It is somewhat puzzling, because coffee is perfectly fine on the vegan diet (provided that you don’t use any dairy). It could be that she wanted to rid herself of caffeine. But she actually gave up coffee before she went vegan! Regardless of why, it is a point of pride for her and she claims to have been coffee free since 2006. Go for it girl, if that is what floats your boat!
6. Used To Be An Alcohol Promotions Girl
We can all agree that Freelee the Banana Girl or Leanne Ratcliffe… whichever you prefer, is drop dead gorgeous. She has a big smile, a big personality and what many people in the world would think of as the perfect body! In talking about her past, she revealed that as one stream of income, she used to be an alcohol promotions girl. You know, the girls that wear revealing or tight clothing and represent a particular brand of alcoholic beverage at trade shows and other events. That was Freelee once upon a time. Freelee is not doing any work like this these days, but she is still in the promotions business. Today, Freelee promotes healthy and minimalist living and is rarely seen without a banana… it’s kind of her thing.
5. Used To Have a Drug Problem
So it would seem that Freelee went through something of a wild stage when she was younger. Based upon information she puts out there about herself on her own website, she said that she got involved with a drug dealer and took full advantage of what was available including apparently speed, cocaine and ecstasy. She developed eating disorders and generally came to hate how she felt all the time. The whole time Freelee was involved with recreational drug use, she was working as a personal trainer and promoting healthy living to clients! In 2006, she started steering her ship straight by getting off drugs, alcohol and even coffee. Soon after, she went vegan and hasn’t looked back. There is no doubt that her struggles have been inspirational for a lot of people battling with the same problems.
4. Believes Chemotherapy Kills People
Freelee is very outspoken on a number of issues. This is not new information and it is not something for which she apologizes. One particular issue that she has spoken out about is the treatment of cancer. Freelee is of the belief that many chronic ailments can be prevented through a vegan diet and an active lifestyle. Most folks may not argue that point, but Freelee has been so critical of chemotherapy that she has said it literally “kills people.” She’s certainly sad for anyone that has gone through fights with cancers, but believes that chemo has killed far more people than it has ever saved. Experts in the medical field would argue with Freelee on this point, but she doesn’t seem to care. Keep on eating your bananas girl… but let the doctors do their jobs.
3. The Shocking Statements Could Just Be For Views
Can you believe that someone would put something shocking out into the universe just to gain attention?! That statement was dripping with sarcasm and is certainly old hat in the world of celebrity gossip… even niche celebrity gossip like veganism. It has been alleged by Freelee’s ex-boyfriend known to the world as “Durianrider”, that he convinced her to make many of the shocking statements in many of her videos. He encouraged her to do this for the shock factor and at first she wasn’t overly comfortable with the idea. This could be very true, considering that since she’s broken up with Durianrider, her focus and energy has evolved. He said that he made a lot of money pimping her out (figuratively) over the years. Perhaps he was pulling more strings than we all thought?
2. Eats Up To 51 Bananas Per Day
The video where Freelee the Banana Girl documented herself eating/drinking 51 bananas in a single day has gotten a lot of attention! The idea of someone as small as her eating that many bananas in a day is shocking. She claimed that most days she doesn’t eat 51 and it’s usually 20 or 30 at most. Indeed, even watching the process of her drinking it is enough to give you stomach aches. Afterward, she shows off her stomach, which has the appearance of being pregnant! Keep in mind that Freelee is a very small girl, so that many bananas have to show up somewhere. Her consumption of 51 bananas seems unreal to most of us and you have to be very committed to your love of bananas to take on such a task.
1. Ugly Breakup With Ex-Boyfriend
For a long time, Freelee the Banana Girl was always seen with her boyfriend and fellow YouTuber Durianrider, also known as Harley Johnstone. Durianrider is an avid cyclist and is known by many as an outspoken advocate of the vasectomy procedure. (More information than we really want to know.) But in September of 2016, the two of them parted ways officially and things got kind of ugly. He decided to publicly make allegations that she was physically abusive toward him, causing physical abuse in return. He also claimed that Freelee has had Botox injections (totally not cool with the whole vegan life by the way). Freelee has denied all of this, so most of it is he said/she said. There’s no doubt that it’s totally embarrassing to have so much of your personal life thrown out there though.
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