Valentine Thomas made quite a splash as one of the world’s sexiest spearfishers after the media noticed her Instagram account showcasing her catches and her swimsuits. The London-based spearfishing enthusiast spoke to FOX411 about her newfound celebrity and the mixed reactions to her favorite hunting hobby.
FOX411: When did you start spearfishing? Why is it such a big passion for you?
Valentine Thomas: I started about four-and-a-half years ago. A friend of mine was going to Egypt to take free diving lessons and he offered me to come along. I loved it straight away! The connection to the ocean they were teaching you was just unbelievable. A few months later, I visited Ascension Island for the first time (my first fishing trip), and luckily caught a fish that came in at 12 kg - only 200g below the world record! I was hooked. I love cooking, I love being outdoors and I love adventures, it was a perfect match for me.
FOX411: When did your pictures start going viral and why?
Thomas: Hunting is really a taboo subject these days and it was really a roll of dice to see if people would yay it or nay it. Also, most journalists used pictures of me in a bikini to support their article and it is not a secret that girls sell these days, so I am guessing that a girl in a bikini doing an extreme sport made it popular. Nevertheless, most of the negativity I got came from the fact that I was in a bathing suit, which is quite shocking to be honest. In all of those pictures, I am at the beach, what am I supposed to wear? Also, if you look at my Instagram account, I am most of the time in a wetsuit, not in a bikini.
FOX411: You have received some criticism from animal rights groups for spear fishing. What do you say to your critics?
Thomas: Regarding the anti-hunting activists, I just brush it off. Most people eat meat and fish every day and by doing so they are most of the time encouraging the mistreating of animals. So to point a finger at hunters is really turning the blind eye and being hypocrite of what you eat! People also tend to forget that the articles are written by journalists that don't necessarily have the knowledge of spearfishing and that things are misinterpreted quite often. It is their job and people shouldn't take everything by the letter just to find a crack to make negative comments about the sport. Anyway, net fishing or even rod fishing is what can really cause damage, while spearfishing is one of the rare types of food sourcing that do not create any collateral damage by only hunting individual prey; unless you are a vegan (which is good for you), you cannot criticize spearfishing in my opinion. Enjoying getting your own food doesn't make you a sadist; it makes you a realistic person. Humans are hunters by nature and having someone doing your dirty work for you doesn't make you a better person. Strangely, people seem to be shocked by what happens behind the curtain of food stock, but they have no issue buying it blood free at the supermarket, where the provenance is much more shocking and detrimental to the planet.
Sodwana Bay getting my gun ready. Africa was such an inspiring trip. I was able to push myself to new limits and discover lovely people with warm hearts. I am so proud to be able to call you my friends! #sustainableeating #girlspearfishing #SouthAfrica #sharkywater @africanspearfishingdiaries @roballenspearfishing
FOX411: Are you planning to take advantage of your recent media exposure?
Thomas: The more I go spearfishing, the less I am able to enjoy a "normal 9 to 5 life." I don't think I experienced enough in life to write a book but I am working on making a TV show. I had quite a few very interesting opportunities since this thing blow up and I have every intention in trying to make something interesting to share my passion as well as raising awareness of the sea preservation and the importance of sustainable eating.
Fox News.com Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today's top celebrities and newsmakers. You can follow her on Twitter @dianafalzone.