Monday, October 2, 2023

How Torrey DeVitto Balances Hollywood, Advocacy, and Farm Life


Torrey Devitto is not just one of today’s hottest actresses — she’s also a philanthropist and change agent helping her fans make the shift to intentional, responsible living.

Actress and philanthropist, Torrey DeVitto values her downtime. It’s why, instead of Hollywood, she calls a rural 7.6-acre Michigan farm home. 

After recently wrapping her six seasons on NBC’s Chicago Med, Devitto has been busy starring alongside Succession’s Brian Cox and John Palladino in Skelly, and with Patrick Duffy and Dylan Bruce in the Hallmark film, The Christmas Promise.

But it’s that “downtime” on the farm where Devitto, 38, really shines. She’s become an outspoken voice for sustainable and cruelty-free living as well as advocating for women and working to promote conscious living via her Stream of Consciousness Sunday Instagram livestreams, where she speaks with a range of expert guests including activists, herbalists, psychologists, and more, all aimed at helping her one-million-plus followers live healthier, happier, and more ethical lives.

I caught up with Torrey recently to chat about her work, her advocacy, and some of her favorite low-impact habits.

*This interview is edited for length and clarity.

Ethos: How did you get involved in sustainability and activist work?

TD: It all kind of started I was in my early 20s, and on set and not really feeling particularly fulfilled. I kind of got into a bit of a dark headspace. And I realized very quickly that I couldn’t just let this industry be the only thing in my life, I needed something else to come out of it. And so I actually started volunteering in hospice, volunteering and, and realize that like having something else to wake up for, and something with a purpose.

I also realized that the more my career grew, the bigger the voice I had for the things that matter to me. So it kind of started there, and then just kind of trickled into things that I really cared about —  being a voice for animals, sustainability, environmental issues, and women’s rights. For me, I don’t know how to sit still, or be silent about these issues. So I do what I can when I can.

Ethos: How do you balance all of that? 

TD: I feel like when you love something, and when you have a passion for something that kind of acts as its own caffeine. But learning to say no, even if it’s something that matters to you, and realizing like, you know, what, I am exhausted, I need the day for myself —  that’s okay, too. Not having this, like, fear of not doing enough has been fundamental in sustaining my energy.

Ethos: Can you speak to some of the strategies you’ve implemented to promote sustainability during your film and television productions? How involved are you in that?

TD: I’ve been on sites before where I felt like they weren’t recycling or, you know, we requested composting when we were in Chicago Med. And they did that. I also always make sure that the makeup artist or the hair person knows that I only use cruelty-free products.

Torrey DeVitto photographed by Manfred Baumann
Torrey DeVitto photographed by Manfred Baumann | Courtesy

And once I request that I just try to do the best that I can and I try not to get myself too overly stressed if things aren’t going exactly the way I had hoped. Because there’s a lot of moving pieces. And sometimes people will just ‘yes’ you to death, so you do have to be persistent.

I bring my water bottle with me all the time on set and try not to use the plastic water bottles that they provide. Little things like not printing scripts but using a device instead, it’s just a consciousness shift that is so important.  

Ethos: What role does the fashion industry play in the shift to more sustainable living?  

TD: Fashion has a huge role. It was not too long ago when a lot of the big fashion brands like Gucci said they wouldn’t use fur anymore. And others like Burberry saying they’re not offering exotic skins either. I love that these higher-end brands are finally starting to make that shift.

When I first went to Chicago to film Chicago Med, I learned a lot about sustainable fashion and vegan fashion specifically because having lived in Los Angeles,  I had never had to buy so many winter clothes.

And realizing what goes into making winter jackets was such an eye-opener. I love finding the faux leather and vegan wool and down that work just as well — there are so many, and honestly, when you touch it, it’s like you can’t even tell the difference. And now there’s leather made from apples, pineapple, mushrooms, and recycled bottles.

Ethos: What are some brands you support?

TD: I have an arsenal of brands that are my go-to’s like Angela Roi, Matt & Nat, Dauntless Apparel, and Christy Dawn. 

Ethos: What about skincare? 

TD: So many brands are becoming cruelty-free, which is so important to me.  I especially love Jane Iredale — I think that is my favorite. She does all cruelty-free products, and her makeup is gorgeous. And you see so many really big celebrities wearing her stuff on red carpets these days too. 

Ethos: And how’s life now on your farm? 

TD: It’s going great. I’ve been there for about three years now. I have an apple tree and a pear tree going. My barn is going through a bit of a rehab right now and I’m going to get some chickens and some goats — all the animals on my farms are just friends. They’re not to be eaten.

I really love it there because when I’m not working I get to come home to peace. We work so hard for simplicity, which is so ironic, but I love it so much. It’s just a really healing space.  

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