Everything Evanna: “The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting” and Animal Advocacy
It’s appropriate that her memoir’s title references butterflies because no one has exemplified a metamorphosis quite like Evanna Lynch. The actor, who portrayed the beloved Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series, is now also an author, an animal rights advocate, and a general force to be reckoned with.
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Evanna Lynch sat with Róisín Ingle in an October 2021 episode of The Women’s Podcast to discuss her then-recently published memoir. Ingle started by inquiring about the title, The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting. Lynch explained her lifelong love of butterflies and her tendency to look at books of butterfly collections as a type of meditation.
I started to see the pins going through the butterflies in all these beautiful spreads, and to me, what was beautiful suddenly became very sinister, that in order to preserve their perfect little bodies, somebody had killed them. It’s a similar sort of sacrifice you make with an eating disorder, that to keep your body frozen in time, to stay in one place, you will sacrifice your life force, your creative energy, your potential, really.
She discussed at length her struggle with anorexia, which started at 11 years old. Her experience with doctors was not an overly positive one, which she attributed to their fixation on remedying the disorder’s symptoms – her weight loss – rather than focusing on the whole person. She described being taken to a treatment center in England and the punitive measures used there to coerce patients into eating, calling the methods damaging and having failed to reach her where she really needed help.
Until you address the root issue, those treatments will be just a rinse-and-repeat treatment. I’m not saying, ‘Ignore the physical stuff,’ because it can be so urgent […] The first time in hospital, I was just biding my time; I was just waiting to get out. You can say to people, ‘Yes, I want to do better’ and ‘I don’t want to keep upsetting my parents,’ but it’s in those moments where you’re by yourself in private and you just feel so bad about yourself that you make these little decisions of like, ‘No, no, I’m going to keep up this crusade. I’m not going to let go of this thing that helps me cope.’
Though she continued to struggle after being discharged, there are many in her life whom Lynch credited with aiding her recovery. Her parents listened to her needs and were proactive in searching for better support. This led her to Natasha, a therapist whose warmth and compassion were a much-needed change from the sterility of her other doctors. Then there was her pen pal relationship with J.K. Rowling and the character Luna herself.
There was something in Luna that really called to me, just her beautiful outlook on the world, her curiosity about life, her creativity. And at the time, I was so not embracing those parts of myself. […] I was toxic; I had a very toxic mindset, and her presence really disturbed me because it made me be like, ‘Oh, maybe I could be that. I like her.’ […] It was a hint to who I wanted to be.
Lynch saw the casting call for Luna Lovegood advertised on MuggleNet, and we certainly know what happened from there.
Today, Evanna Lynch lives with a sense of creativity that would make her iconic character proud. She is writing, taking on interesting acting projects, and engaging in the circus community. Circus and dance, she explained, help her feel the sort of mind-body connection that is essential for self-love.
She extends that love to animals as well, as a practicing vegan and strong animal rights advocate. On August 12, in fact, she and reality star Pete Wicks rappelled down London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture to help raise awareness of the dog and cat meat and fur trades for Humane Society International. The pair succeeded in raising hundreds of pounds for the organization.
Clearly, Evanna Lynch can do anything. We’re excited to see what she’ll do next.