October 9, 2018
Luna Lovegood actress said books helped her overcome an eating disorder
by Alyssa Monera
Years after the final Harry Potter movie, actress Evanna Lynch reflected on how her relationship with the series affected her struggle with eating disorders and self image, as reported in The Independent.
Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the films and has since gone on to perform in “Dancing With the Stars,” struggled with anorexia from ages 11 to 13. During that time, Lynch found herself fascinated with the Harry Potter series, particularly with the character of Luna. “I think a lot of my problems were because I felt odd and felt weird and she made me see that that was okay and that was actually empowering,” Lynch explained in an interview with Lorraine last year.
While recovering from her sickness in the hospital, Lynch decided to write to author J.K. Rowling. “I was sick,” she said. “I had an eating disorder at the time and I wrote to her because I felt like Harry Potter was the only thing that really took my mind off it.”
The two then went on to become “pen friends,” which encouraged Lynch to recover and audition for the role of Luna. “She told me anorexia is destructive, not creative, and the brave thing was not to succumb to it,” Lynch told Express. “I told her I’d love to be in the films and she encouraged that but said I’d need to be well to do so. In the end I think that’s why I recovered.”
Since then, in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, Lynch has gone on to clarify that the books did not “cure” her:
“Those kinds of issues, they are never that neat and sometimes it upsets me the way the story is told. Like, ‘Oh, you get Harry Potter and your mental illness is cured?’ That’s a wrong message to send, an unhealthy message to send, and that’s really not the truth. So I’m really grateful for the opportunity to tell it myself.”
As for the “real cure” to her illness, Lynch says that it is an everyday battle. “You are constantly having to choose between the negative voice that’s in your head telling you that you’re terrible at everything, that you suck,” she said. “And the then voice saying, ‘No, I can be something.’ That’s what the work is every day.”
Alyssa Monera is an intern at Melville House.