Have You Heard? is a series in which the team from Pod Bible meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! This time we speak to the actress Evanna Lynch, who is also one quarter of the ethical vegan podcast The ChickPeeps. Here’s what she had to say about heading into their third season.
Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
I’m an actress, vegan activist and host of The ChickPeeps along with my co-hosts Robbie Jarvis, Momoko Hill and Tylor Starr. The ChickPeeps is a friendly, fun and free-flowing ethical vegan podcast driven by a quest to be more compassionate towards animals. We like to call our style of activism on the podcast ‘attractivism’ which means we are anti-shame. We take a very optimistic and compassionate angle on activism, focusing on the joyful aspects of being vegan and trying to reach people wherever they’re at on their vegan journey.
What’s the first podcast you ever listened to?
MuggleCast! Way back in the day when nobody had ipods and you had to sit at your desktop computer and listen to the weekly episode while you played solitaire. It was so nerdy! I was such a massive Harry Potter fan and I longed for a community of people who were as nerdy and passionate as I was about the books and films and I really found that in MuggleCast. That podcast had a huge influence on me and in time on The ChickPeeps because it brought a sense of community and friendship around a subject where I lacked a community, at the time. The hosts all had such fun personalities, great ideas and a really charming, entertaining rapport with each other. It made me feel less alienated and that’s really what I want to do for the vegan community. Reach out to vegans all over the world who feel alone on this journey, who feel they’re the only weird little person worrying a lot about animals in their corner of the world, and make them feel supported. I want to create a feeling of fun and camaraderie around them and a topic that they feel really passionate about. Community is the most important aspect of a podcast to me.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
I was bothered by the fact that a lot of the time the very aggressive, perfectionist vegans deter many people from engaging and I wanted to create a really positive, uplifting space where we could talk about veganism in a fun and entertaining way. I noticed that most vegans podcasts were really serious (because it is a serious cause) but that when I went to hang out with my vegan friends we were always just having a laugh and having interesting conversations. We aren’t always crying over dairy cows or ranting about the bacon bros. I really wanted to show people that you don’t have to be a hardcore activist to be vegan, that there’s not one type of vegan, and that you can just continue being your normal, chill self who just so happens to not exploit animals.
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
MuggleCast, definitely. And also Anna Faris Is Unqualified. I love all the games she plays with her guests and how she draws them out with really relaxed, silly conversations. She’s an incredibly skilful, charismatic host and creates that feeling of warmth on each of her episodes. I also love Victoria Moran’s Mainstreet Vegan for the amazing variety and scope of guests she has, that was a podcast that really supported and sustained me when I first went vegan and felt like I didn’t belong in my old communities anymore. She works so hard and she’s had everyone from the vegan movement on over the years so her pod definitely prompts a lot of ideas for ChickPeeps. And I also love Blindboy for his brilliant, entertaining and sometimes quite neurotic soliloquies. You feel like you’re in his actual mind sometimes and that’s such an interesting, intimate experience to get from a pod. Basically, I like podcasts where it feels like you’re getting a genuine, private insight into a person, rather than someone performing and really trying to impress you. Anything too rehearsed gets a bit boring to me.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
One of them is fellow podcaster of ‘Happy Place’ and bestselling author of ‘Happy Vegan’ Fearne Cotton – so I’m pretty thrilled that we managed to book Fearne on the show in this upcoming season! Preacher Lawson is another person we all love among the hosts and he may or may not be on season 3 😉 I’d also love to interview Deliciously Ella, her books helped me so much on my vegan journey. And Pamela Anderson is one of my favourite vegan activists, she is so cool! And Jonathan Safron Foer, he’s an amazing writer, his book ‘Eating Animals’ was the thing that convinced me to go vegan. However in his last book on the climate crisis I think he undermined the important animal rights message he’d written about in Eating Animals so I’d like to get him on the pod and grill him about that!!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
Probably how important and how difficult it is to truly listen. I’ve made the mistake too many times of over prepping and over researching an episode and then anticipating guests’ answers and not truly being present with them. Some of our better interviews have been when I’ve been least prepared and when I just simply asked things I was curious about. I think you have to be very intuitive to be a good interviewer, you have to know when to shut up and when to move things along too. I do love being prepared and having an episode plan but you kind of have to do all your research and then throw it out the window the minute you start the interview, and just be open to how a guest may really surprise you and show you a whole different perspective.
I’ve also learned that podcasting is really hard work and it helps to be very organised ahead of launching a season, and podcasting is so much more enjoyable when you hire a professional editor!
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
Probably our Vegan Dating episodes Part 1 & 2 from season 2 with Elliot Knight. It’s a mixture of banter, games and serious questions vegans have about how to manage relationships with non-vegans. These episodes really capture the vibe we’re trying to promote and bring into the vegan space more often. For more of a thoughtful activism discussion I’d recommend our interview with Leah Garcés or Colleen Patrick Goudreau. And Nikki Glaser’s ep was the most fun I’ve ever had interviewing someone.
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
We’re available on Apple, Spotify and all major podcast platforms. Follow us on Instagram @chickpeepspod or visit our website https://www.thechickpeeps.com/. And I’m always quite active on my own Instagram account @msevylynch, I like connecting with people in the comments there.