You may know actress Torrey DeVitto from the hit TV shows Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, and Chicago Med, but there's a side to her you may not be as familiar with.
DeVitto is also a philanthropist and an advocate for animals and the planet, and she incorporates sustainability into every aspect of her life—even when she’s on set and the red carpet. But her transition to a more sustainable, cruelty-free lifestyle didn't happen overnight. It happened in small doses.
In this week's episode of Good Together, DeVitto shares how she learned to live with the planet in mind. And, how you can take small steps to make changes in your own life, too.
Torrey DeVitto's Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
DeVitto's journey with sustainability started with cutting meat out of her diet—but she's the first to admit she wasn't perfect.
"At first, I would cheat every once in a while with fish—like when I'd go get sushi with my friends," DeVitto says. "I'd be like, 'Oh, it's okay. I'll just eat a little fish here and there.' But I didn't eat any meat."
Yet, after talking with someone at a PETA campaign, DeVitto began doing her own research and learned about the dangers of overfishing. Specifically, she recognized how overfishing impacts other marine life populations. From then on, she eliminated meat and fish from her diet and now opts for plant-based foods.
Now, DeVitto is thrilled to discover plant-based alternatives that mimic the taste of her favorite foods, especially at popular fast-food chains like Panda Express, KFC, and Burger King.
"I'm not a fast-food queen at all, but I get excited for that stuff," DeVitto says. "Because I'm like, wow—now if I'm on a road trip and I'm in a bind, there's something for me, and it's fun."
DeVitto also says she starts conversations, both in her personal life and at work, to make plant-based eating more available and get others to see the benefits. Whether that's talking to craft services or a waiter, she loves speaking up.
"I feel like a lot of people want to know the information and are interested about it," she says. "And it may not hit them the way it hits you. But at least you're talking about it."
Cruelty-Free Fashion and Makeup
After discovering the impact animal-derived foods have on the environment, DeVitto realized the problem is much more widespread: It also includes fashion and makeup.
Earlier in her career, it wasn't easy to speak up: "I didn't feel like I had that big of a voice," she says. But as she got more confident, she started advocating for a vegan wardrobe and cruelty-free makeup on set. "I have to also honor the character and what they're doing, but there are some lines that I asked not to be crossed."
Gardening and Composting
DeVitto has been renovating a 7.2-acre farm in Michigan for the past eight months, utilizing sustainable materials whenever possible (like reclaimed wood shelves) and learning how to garden so she can grow her own food.
"I really want to focus on learning how to garden," she says. "I think it's so empowering because if there's a zombie apocalypse that comes, I'll know how to go out in the back and grow my own food. Right now, I would be helpless. I'd be like, 'Who's gonna feed me?'"
She's also making it her mission to become a composting pro. "I found a composting company that comes and picks up the composting once a week, which is great, but I really want to learn how to compost myself," she says.
Torrey's Tips for Getting Started with Planet-Friendly Living
1. Start Small
DeVitto's first tip for living more sustainably is to take small steps. Change doesn't have to happen in the blink of an eye. Instead, it can happen at your own pace—and it can be fun and exciting, too!
"If it feels daunting, why don't you just try like Meatless Mondays, or Monday, Wednesday, Friday? And then give yourself a break on Tuesday and Thursday," she says. "If it feels overwhelming, just slowly start implementing these things. And try meal prepping. I always find that really fun."
2. Use What You Already Have
When you move into a new place, you tend to buy new furniture for it. Knowing how wasteful the furniture industry can be, DeVitto decided to utilize what she already had before spending any money.
"I didn't buy any new furniture. My mom was moving out of a place, and I was able to take that," she says. "A lot of people think like, oh, how is it all going to cohesively flow? There are so many ways you can put your touch on old things."
3. Don't Be So Hard on Yourself
Everyone needs to starts somewhere on their sustainability journey. Even DeVitto says she needed to remind herself that it's a process and no one is perfect.
"I had to go home and say, 'Okay, I did the best that I could do. Don't be so hard on myself. Just continue trying.' And I feel like it's like that even now," she says. "You can't beat yourself up. If you're really trying, you just gotta pat yourself on the back for the things you did, and then do better next time."