What do you think of when you hear the show title “Avocado Toast the series?” Does your mind conjure up a stereotypical LA Instagram influencer fawning over the latest avocado craze to sweep southern California? If you ask Heidi Lynch and Perrie Voss – creators, writers and stars of the aforementioned series – you’ll get a totally unexpected response. Lynch and Voss strove to craft a show that’s seldom like anything we’ve seen on television. Bisexual representation and intergenerational sex – these topics are tackled with aplomb on Avocado Toast the series.
Now, both Lynch and Voss share an objective: to convey truthful, uplifting stories that have the ability to change the world. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing the duo on all things Avocado Toast the series, LGBTQIA+ representation, generational gaps, and more.
Be sure to check out Avocado Toast the series when it makes its world premiere May 18th on Amazon Prime and OUTtvGO!
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Melody McCune: Since we are a “geeky” site and we love heroes, what are Heidi and Perrie’s origin stories?
Heidi Lynch: 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.
Perrie Voss: I was born in the beaches area of Toronto, Canada. We moved to a rural area for two years when I was eight and I fell in love with the countryside and space! We moved back to Toronto. I finished high school and college here. But there’s always something about me that wants to escape to some country property and live there with lots of animals! I’ve primarily been an actor for the past 10 years. Since Heidi and I started writing Avocado Toast the series just over four years ago I’ve been expanding my creative horizons into producing, honing my writing skills and went back to school briefly to learn how to become a video editor as well. I feel like this is just the beginning. There has been an astronomical amount of growth over the last few years. I’m discovering an interesting combination of humble pie and extreme drive (laughs).
MM: First of all, congratulations on Avocado Toast the series! I look forward to watching it. What’s the story behind the name? How does that tie in with the show’s narrative?
HL: Thank you! We wrote a show that describes all of the funny, awkward and touching moments that happen when two millennial women are forced to talk about sexuality with their baby boomer mothers. We wanted a name that symbolizes something that comes between millennials and baby boomers and TA DA! Avocado Toast the series.
PV: We had initially written our show with the still present themes of millennials and baby boomers and how their stories intersect and feed into one another. Soon after we were made aware of this underlying battle and miscommunication that has occurred between these two generations. From that came an article in a Toronto newspaper. A baby boomer had written an opinion piece about the housing market which flatly said “if millennials stopped spending so much money on avocado toast they’d be able to afford houses.” It was laughably false and showed the huge gap in understanding. It became a thematic symbol for us, and one day Heidi said “how about ‘Avocado Toast’ for our title!” It was a perfect symbol for what we were trying to say.
MM: Avocado Toast the series follows Molly and Elle as their lives are forever changed by love and sex, to put it simply. How much of the story is autobiographical? Are the events that unfold based on real-life experiences?
HL: This story is very personal. It’s been expanded and changed and exaggerated for sure, but a lot of the core experiences of Molly and Elle are based on our lives.
PV: The main story lines are based on real life. Discovering sexuality at a later moment in life and parental divorce. There are also a couple of unrelated moments that are nods at our past experiences but from there we took full artistic license for what we were wanting to say.
Pictured: Perrie Voss and Heidi Lynch
MM: Do you share any similarities with your characters? Any differences?
HL: I am bisexual (similarity), but I am a very direct communicator and to quote Elle “I do what I want.” I have incredible friends but I have never had a problem being a loner. I am quite different to Molly in those regards.
PV: I think there is definitely a crossover at some base level. She was based on some of my life experiences, but how I dealt with my parent’s divorce is very different. I think she is a combination of me going through challenging moments at different ages in my adulthood. I think I’m more of a gentle person than Elle but there are definitely areas that I recognize in me from my 20s, or how I think I may have been.
MM: Avocado Toast the series is pulling back the curtain on bisexual representation, which is seldom seen in media, even though the industry is slowly (but surely) diversifying. That’s wonderful! What are your hopes for Avocado Toast the series’ impact in that regard?
HL: I wanted to create the show I needed when I was mulling over coming out. I was/still am in a privileged position of being a white/straight presenting human with an incredibly supportive family. My life wasn’t compromised or really massively changed by realizing I was bi, but at that time I still felt a bit scared and mostly alone. I didn’t have anyone like me to point to. That feeling of having no tribe is a challenge. It was for me and it is statistically for the bisexual community and their mental health. I hope someone watches this and realizes it’s okay to not know if a label works for you, and that you can take your time to navigate your feelings. Bisexuality is valid, it exists, and we will keep coming out of the woodwork and creating a culture to feel connected, one story at a time.
PV: Representation is so important to us. We haven’t found a bisexual story that we were able to wholly relate to. What we’ve realized is that even though it’s 2020 and there’s a lot more acceptance, when we’re going through something challenging for the first time we tend to look around us for community and support. If that story isn’t being told then we do feel alone or unsafe. And we wanted to show a positive coming out story. Yes, Molly is facing challenges and trying to understand her own truth, while having people around her saying “it’s okay.” That’s what we’re hoping is the underlying message. Sometimes when you’re grappling with something that big we can ask ourselves “what’s wrong with me?” But it really is okay and you’re still safe, and the most important thing is recognizing your own truth.
MM: Avocado Toast the series also explores intergenerational sex which, again, isn’t a common occurrence in media. What are some discoveries you yourselves made regarding the above while creating the show?
HL: Mostly how much millennials forget that their baby boomer parents have a life outside of them. Baby boomers are just us but in slightly older bodies. They want the same things we do. This shouldn’t be shocking but it just is when it’s your parents. I haven’t experienced that personally but I have watched my friends’ parents start dating again etc. I also think our pairing of Patricia (baby boomer) with Hunter (millennial) is really important. We always see the older guy with the 21 year old girl and no one bats an eyelash.
PV: I think for me I really had to come to terms with the fact that our parents are just people who have, and have had, full lives. Our society doesn’t explore sex lives in people over 50. We cut away, we ignore. It’s used as humour. We wanted to look at that side by side. Where the 60+ year old character’s story lines were just as important and honest. We were lucky enough to have Mag Ruffman and Brenda Robins as our moms and they are seriously vibrant women. They’re bold and sexy and intelligent and funny. They totally brought their A-game and this wasn’t necessarily a discovery for us that they’re totally badass, but it solidified what we thought and now we get to show the world!
Pictured: Heidi Lynch and Perrie Voss
MM: Do you have a long-term plan for Avocado Toast the series i.e. multiple seasons?
HL: Season 2 for sure!
Six seasons and a movie baby! (to quote the ever wonderful series Community
) but also – seriously, six seasons and a movie! Let’s go all the way.
MM: You’re both writers of the series alongside Annie Briggs. Did you all write scripts together, or was the work divvied up between the three of you?
HL: Annie actually didn’t write it. IMDb is not fixing that for some reason. She did however story edit. She was an incredible ear and eye during the writing process. Perrie and I wrote together and then passed to Annie for notes.
PV: Annie is actually our story editor! She is exceptional and definitely brought us down to earth with some of our plot lines and gave us some amazing ideas to elevate the series. But she came in after we had a solid draft in the last couple of years. Heidi and I are the writers and we wrote it in tandem. Our favourite way of writing is almost simultaneously. Sometimes we’ll take a scene and work on it on our own but our show is, at its very core, based on Heidi’s and my inherent chemistry. So I think some of our best moments come when we’re writing together. But because that’s not always possible (as she lives in London now), so we pass it off back and forth over and over and keep edits. Our hands are all over every single part of the show. It’s hard to tell where our brains end and begin on the page.
MM: What was it like working with director Sam Coyle? Was she receptive to any scene ideas you had? Did you find it was more of a collaborative experience as actors working with a director?
HL: Sam Coyle is an absolute dream. She made our ideas better and brought her own to the table. Extremely collaborative.
PV: Sam’s modus operandi is fully collaborative. She was also very involved in the story edits. She has strong story ideas and how she imagines the scene playing out, but she is always interested in a fully discussed concept. At the end of the day we did hire her to direct, so sometimes during shooting we had to remember to step back and let her lead. We knew we trusted her so having a director that you can place implicit faith in to understand your story, which is so close to your heart, is incredible.
MM: Do you have any favorite set memories?
HL: Making boys film me shaving my very hairy armpits. The level of passion and precision they brought to the shot made me so happy.
So many. I adored working with all of the background kids at Molly’s school. They were so well behaved kid-actors and the dodgeball scene/sex education scene is hilarious and so great. Another great moment for me is a scene where Molly’s parents and Elle’s mom and new boyfriend are dancing together in the living room and they really really went for it. It was hilarious and incredible to see that vision come to life. All of my scenes with my dear friend Kristian Bruun
, who plays Jake. He makes me laugh so hard and part of the reason I wanted him for the role was based on our chemistry. He delivered
, and often I would simultaneously forget that we were filming and couldn’t keep myself together. I was laughing so hard. The scenes with him were ridiculously fun.
MM: For Heidi – is there a message you’d like to send to the LGBTQIA+ community?
Give the bi babies a hug. Thank you for all your support for the show!
MM: For Perrie – does Elle’s friendship with Molly mirror your own friendship with Heidi?
Not really. I think what their imagined relationship was before Molly left for the UK would have been closer to what our real friendship is. I think Heidi and I are a lot more upfront with each other than Molly and Elle. I think the only thing that carried through – and part of the initial thinking in our writing – is that we wanted a story where women weren’t petty with one another. Where they were incredibly supportive and the most solid thing the other had to lean on. Heidi and I definitely are that for one another, and we’ve been that for each other from the beginning.
Pictured: Heidi Lynch and Perrie Voss
MM: What was the journey to Amazon Prime like? Did you always have them in mind as your platform for Avocado Toast the series, or did you shop the series to other networks/streaming services first?
Our platform in Canada is actually OUTtvGo.com and OUTtv has a channel on Amazon Prime. OUTtv is diverse. Vibrant. Bold. OUTtv is the world’s first LGBTQ+ television network and the leading LGBTQ+ streaming service. You can also rent/buy the show on Amazon Video (U.S./U.K.) or go to our Vimeo page to pre-order. Check out www.avocadotoasttheseries.com
for all your options.
MM: Do you have any wisdom to impart for aspiring filmmakers trying to get their foot in the door?
HL: Keep trying and don’t be surprised if it takes years. I promise you it is worth it.
PV: Just make the thing. Whatever it is. Find a camera. Film it. Make connections. Find people who believe in you, and just do it. There’s not a “way” or the right time. You just have to keep meeting people, believing in your story and knocking on doors. We were told “no” for two years, and then we got one “yes” and it’s kept going. Learn as much as you can. Listen to people who are there to help you. Keep asking for what you want, and don’t compromise your vision.
MM: What’s next for both of you? Besides the premiere of Avocado Toast the series, of course.
HL: I am returning to the U.K. Starting to write Season 2!
PV: Season 2 writing starts right after we get a little break after launch, more projects are heading up the stream in our production company Guts and Gall Productions. I’m going to keep working on a feature film script that got put on hold during this production, and hopefully I can get back to work on a brilliant Christmas/Horror Syfy Network feature that I was acting in right before COVID-19 took hold of the world!
MM: What are you both binge watching at the moment?
HL: Innocence Files – it is heartbreaking but very important work.
When I want to shut off my brain, I’ve been re-watching Modern Family
, the original L-Word
, Game of Thrones
and Jamie Oliver
’s cooking shows. I’ve just started Succession
which I’m so excited about.
MM: Alright – each of you name your top five favorite films. And…go!
HL: The Darjeeling Limited has been one of my favourite films. As much as the world needs more female representation, we also need better male representation. Watching the three brothers find their vulnerability through traveling to a culture completely different to their own is incredibly moving and the production design is so great.
The five that come to mind right now – and I’m fully going to think of five more that I would have also said right after this but… American Beauty
, Gangs of New York
, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
, After the Wedding
(Danish film directed by Susanne Bier
) and Death at a Funeral
(the British version obviously).
Thank you so much, Heidi and Perrie, for chatting with GGA! We can’t wait to catch Avocado Toast the series when it hits Amazon Prime and OUTtvGO on May 18th!
This article was originally posted 5/14/20
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