Evanna Lynch is an Irish actress and vegan activist. She began her career at the age of 14 when she attended an open audition and got the role of Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, and she continues to act in theatre and film today. Evanna went vegan in 2014 after reading the book Eating Animals and considers herself an ethical vegan. She hosts a podcast, The ChickPeeps, with her friends that aims to encourage and inspire people to go vegan. She co-founded Kinder Beauty, a vegan and cruelty free beauty subscription box with fellow actress and activist Daniella Monet earlier this year.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and what inspired you to start Kinder Beauty?
I’m 28, Irish, and I’ve been in acting for half my life. My other passion in life is educating people on animal welfare, rights and veganism. Thinking about the cruelty animals experience for food, cosmetics, entertainment etc. keeps me up at night. I believe most people are vegan in their ethics, but just need help in making those changes. So we founded Kinder Beauty because we knew there must be so many people like us, who are mindful and want to be conscious consumers, who want their actions to align with the belief that animal testing is wrong, but who are busy and don’t know where to start in shopping cruelty free. But Kinder Beauty is also about making vegan life more joyful, more enjoyable. When people think veganism - they often think about the things you give up, the things you cut out of your diet, they have this lack mindset that isn’t very appealing. We wanted to create a box that reflected this joyful approach to vegan living - a box with beautiful, high-end products that make vegan life seem that much more indulgent to people. To show people that you can be vegan and also spoil yourself and enjoy life’s simple pleasures too.
What does your typical day look like?
It depends on whether I’m acting or not. When I’m acting, I wake up, work out and then just learn lines and go to rehearsals/set. I don’t maintain the rest of my life very well when I have an acting job, it’s quite all-consuming.
When I’m not acting I definitely need a structure. I get up, work out then when I get back I do morning pages or write intentions for the day. Then I’ll usually do emails. Emails are the bane of my life because I always overwrite and overthink things but I know they’re a necessary evil. I do have an assistant who helps manage my activism requests because I get too many now and caring about everything can be extremely draining. I’m protective of my energy and how I spend it. After I’ve got through emails I’ll work on my podcast. That can be anything from managing the admin, researching guests, coordinating interviews, working on the website or just brainstorming ideas for new episodes.
If I have an audition, I'll read the script and walk around my neighbourhood repeating lines to myself. Then I’ll usually take my cat, Puff, to the park for a bit. She’s a very weird cat. She’s not a cat in her mind. She’s some sort of turtle or hedgehog living in a cat’s body. She just always wants to be outside sniffing things or staring at nature, she never tries to run away or go far. But she is so much happier when we get some park-time in. It’s getting colder now though so we’re going to have to develop some new mental health routines for Puff.
Then I might do some Kinder Beauty product testing or do some instagram posts. In the evening lately my thing is going to aerial silks classes - I am obsessed! It’s hard but so gratifying. I’m hoping one day I’ll get really good and can leave all this behind to join the circus. No, seriously.
What was the worst piece of advice you've ever received?
Be realistic. Be sensible. Have a back up plan in case this doesn’t work out... I don’t get out of bed for realism. I get out of bed for my most fantastic dreams and visions. I understand why people say that because they want you to be secure and sensible and not mess up your life but it’s advice that’s borne from fear and fear is never the right place to create from. You’ll drastically limit your potential. But I only know it’s bad advice because I’ve followed it before and then looked back in regret at my very cautious approach, or at how I quit things I loved because it was unrealistic to try and succeed at them. I think basically any life advice that isn’t ‘Trust your gut’ or ‘follow your heart’ is bad advice.
What does success mean to you?
Doing something you love everyday, that allows you to be in the present moment. I used to think success was about reaching certain goals and then being able to sit back and relax. When I was younger I used to make deals with the universe ‘just let me have this role and I’ll be satisfied and not want for anything again’. And then that thing would come to be and to pass but I’d be looking for the next thing. I lived in a perpetual and unhappy state of want, of yearning, of not ever being where I was. You’ll never get to a point of success having been achieved and tidied away in a box so you can go sit on the couch and watch Netflix. So now to me success is about finding something I love so much that I enjoy the process and am not thinking about when it ends or where it goes. Like when you’re working on a dance or a story and you’re so involved in it that you’re not just fantasizing about what you’ll eat for lunch.
I think success is finding the thing that allows you to be fully absorbed in the moment. Of course it’s almost impossible to do work that allows you to stay in the moment all the time, there are logistical things that you need to think ahead for, but I think if you’re doing something that allows you that surrender to the present moment for at least a few moments every day, then you’re living life successfully.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
Well, I’m definitely a big advocate of crying. Crying is great. Then, I text my therapist/spiritual teacher and word vomit all my feelings out to her. She is incredible, and incredibly generous with her time and wisdom. If I didn’t have her, I’d for sure be in a dysfunctional relationship with a boring man because nobody else would be so patient. She’ll listen, respond with jaw-dropping wisdom and then she sets me exercises to do like writing a letter to the part of myself that is hurt or afraid. Or she’ll send me a movement sequence to physically shift that energy. Or she prescribes me a book. And the other thing I do is run or go to a dance class. Dancing is the things that makes me feel powerful again, when I dance I regain my ability to visualise myself doing cool things again and that helps me come back at work/life with renewed ferocity. I think building yourself up is all about being able to visualise, to see who or where you want to be.
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to help you stay balanced?
I start the day with some kind of movement - HIIT or yoga or running. Not because I’m wonderfully disciplined, more because I hate -HATE - mornings so if I don’t schedule somewhere I need to be I’d probably not wake up til, well, maybe ever. I love sleep. But I also love movement. Walking out the door to HIIT class while still half asleep is grim but as soon as I get moving I feel brilliant! It’s the best energy to go into the day with. In the evening I just read. I’m usually reading approximately 5 books at once - a biography, a novel, a self help book, a vegan philosophy book for example. I can’t commit to one category. Reading is my way of filling my heart and mind up with inspiration.
What has been your favourite part about the Kinder Beauty Box journey thus far?
I’m not just saying this because of the pro-feminist milieu we are fortunately living in - I am genuinely thrilled to be working with so many ambitious, strong, confident women. Daniella, my Kinder Box partner, for starters, but also the dozens of influencers and business owners that we’ve connected with through Kinder Beauty. It’s a new type of feminine energy that I’ve rarely worked with. I suppose because as an actress I’m still used to being directed by men mostly, and also having to people-please. I literally have to impress several tiers of powerful men to be able to get a job and that at times has made me feel quite insignificant.
Now, to be working in an industry where women are rightfully calling the shots is beyond inspiring. Women who are clear and unapologetic about asking the universe for what they want, and getting it. Women who are celebrating their own beauty and endeavouring to make the world around them beautiful too. I think that is a gift women have, our urge to embellish, to enhance, to beautify that isn’t properly celebrated by the patriarchal society. Beauty has been tainted as a frivolous, silly thing. But spreading beauty is really about spreading joy, love, magic. Filling the world with light. When I see something beautiful I feel it in my heart. How can that be frivolous? Maybe it sounds fluffy to some but to me it’s damn powerful. And to be working in the beauty business now and seeing all these brilliant women owning that space, I just love that.
And then to work on something SO lovely that is directly helping end the suffering and oppression of animals is very fulfilling. Putting an end to animal testing is the core mission of Kinder Beauty and that is the thing that keeps me motivated.
Where can we find you?
I’m on instagram @msevylynch. I mostly post pictures of my cat, books I’m reading and my vegan activism exploits on there. I also host a podcast, The ChickPeeps, that is about to launch its second season. Once we relaunch we’ll be discussing the highs and lows of vegan life on a weekly basis again. Hope you’ll tune in!
If you liked this interview, you might like our recent interview with Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Kersta, founders of Hoame.