Heidi Lynch, you are a Canadian actress, producer and creator of TV series Avocado Toast (2020). Can you tell us more about yourself, what did you study and why did you decide to become an actress and producer?
On a crisp fall day in October 1987 the youngest sister of three boys was born. When she came out her mother thought she was a boy, despite being told “it’s a girl!” and called her Joseph. Joseph was quickly named Heidi after her Swiss grandmother. Heidi wasn’t born a writer/producer/actor. She became one through her desire to tell meaningful stories that uplift, change and comfort others. She now splits her time between Toronto and London (U.K.), spreading her stories and living her life. Hahaha.
I read somewhere that you created the series after your own experiences and therefore your lesbian relationship and coming out issues of the main character in the series are the same as in your life. How your life has changed ever since you came out and are you still with that 'special person'?
Firstly to be super clear I wrote Molly’s story to create representation for BISEXUAL characters. Molly is bisexual as am I. I never saw myself represented on screen when we started writing the show. I am overjoyed that there are more bi characters I can reference now. The derision and relative lack of representation is even more jarring when you remember that there are more people who identify as bisexual-plus — a spectrum that includes bisexuality, pansexuality, queerness, and everything in between — than those who identify as lesbian or gay combined. My life has changed for the better because of my partner but not really because of my bisexuality. I got to come out with the beautiful announcement that I was in love and was starting a relationship so although I built it up to be a potentially challenging conversation it went very well. I know how lucky I am about that.
I must say that I am bit baffled about coming out issues. I come from the former socialist country and I came out in 1988 to my parents, to some of my former classmates from secondary school in 1989 and to all my former university classmates and professors in 1993. It is true that because I unexpectedly felt in love with woman I started questioning if there was only one right notion of love which lead me to professionally research concepts of love and emotions. However, I thought societies throughout the world became more progressive towards inclusion and acceptance of different sexual orientations and sexual identities in the past decade. Where do you think these doubts and questions regarding being (not)accepted by the parents, friends and peers (still) come from?
If you watch or read the news there are cases every day of targeted homophobic attacks. I live in London and there was a stabbing just last week of a gay couple. On a double decker bus a bisexual woman and her lesbian partner were punched in the face because they wouldn’t kiss for a group on young men. I come from a wonderful family but no one is queer in the entirety of it. We are scared of the unknown and everything in the world we live in contributes to our fears. I don’t want anyone to feel fear of non-acceptance when they are coming out but I think it is inevitable. Creating representation for stories where coming is accepted is key.
Was it intentional to emphasize the notion of a monogamous exclusive relationship in the series? I have to say that I strongly agree with you about that, however I get the feeling that people think of those who want to be in a long term monogamous faithful relationship as somewhat conservative. Do you agree?
No I don’t agree but I think loving authentically and honestly is all that matters. As long as both people in the relationship consent to be in it with all the honest communication that specific relationship provides that is good! I am a monogamous person but I don’t judge anyone who isn’t, as long as being truthful to the people in their lives and protecting others’ hearts.
I learned that some of your female colleagues are also bisexual and which I applaud. Was intentional to look for co-stars with the same sexual orientation? How do you think that actresses playing lesbian or bisexual characters being themselves the same sexual orientation contribute to the quality of acting and the series in general?
It’s impossible to ask people their sexuality in an interview or audition. If people haven’t come out yet it puts them in a tough position. If people are out and can bring an authentic perspective to the role that is beneficial for everyone but not required.
In some ways Avocado Toast is similar to Feel Good series where a Canadian gal also falls in love with English woman and series presents coming out issues of a woman who never before felt in love with a woman (it is interesting that both women work in primary schools too), however the added value of your series is that you deal with parents' sexuality and happiness as well. It is brave to tackle the sexuality of the parents and as you said in one of interviews we are all progressives regarding our parents just not when it comes to their sexual life and putting their happiness and independence as successful adults above their children. Finally, someone addressed this issue that parents as successful adults have the right to be happy and live their life independent from 'worrying' about their grown up children issues all the time.
That is all true! Yep! I know!!! I watched Feel Good after we were done our show and was like “DAMN, we will never be on Netflix!”
I like the idea how you presented being in love as 'work' of hormones of love and happiness, such as oxytocine, serotonin, noradrenaline. It is believed that the aforementioned hormones have boast for the first two years of the relationship and that is why the excitement and enthusiasm is the strongest in that period and then slowly goes back to normal, afterward partners should work on relationship to boast the levels of hormones if they wish to maintain its excitement. Why did you decide to include that in the series?
Molly is trying to find a pragmatic way to write her feeling for The One off so she tries to change them into logic.
Which lesbian film(s) and TV series has been the best in your opinion and why?
Orange is the new black
Brooklyn Nine Nine (bisexual xo)
What inspires you most in your work and in your personal life, where your inspiration comes?
NEW and FRESH stories. People or places or things that I know nothing about. I want to learn and explore and give voice to the NEW and FRESH.
At last but not least, what are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?
I am producing a new web series in development called Womb Envy. I am assistant producing a dating show. I am researching a feature film.
Interviews with women in film industry, research institutes, art organizations ...