Creator Spotlight: Malin Evita
"When we see bigoted behaviour - especially in kids and teens - reaching out and having a proper conversation, educating them rather than shunning them, is ultimately the goal." -Malin Evita
Malin Evita, or simply, Evita, has lived an incredibly interesting 18 years. From being raised on a Christian commune in Denmark to becoming an activist for human rights, there's really no one deciding Evita's life path other than herself. Through a balance of confronting issues head-on and understanding how to avoid the "echo-chamber" that polarizing ideals seem to drown in, Evita found a voice of her own that readers can easily subscribe to.
Having only been on Vocal for about 4 months now, Evita is the perfect example of how quickly creators can gain traction on Vocal. Shortly after publishing her first story, Evita claimed first place in our "Lifelong Learning" Challenge. The challenge was designed to spread useful sources of information such as books, articles and podcasts during a time where self education is more important than ever. Now, after months of creating fantastic content and gaining the attention of our curation team, she finds herself with a gold ribbon on her author page and multiple "Staff Picked" stories.
We're so happy you found a home on our platform, Evita, and we're thrilled to feature you in this #VocalSpotlight!
On Her Name, Background and Studies:
First of all, I should probably clarify that my "main" name is Evita, even though my first name is Malin. Malin is more like a garnish. Unnecessarily confusing, I know.
I grew up in Denmark, where I was raised in a very conservative Christian commune. My mom and dad (shout-out) eventually decided that was not a space they wanted their children to be raised in and left to set up a new life. And so, my bubble popped, and I had to start from scratch.
I'm 18 now, and after some years of healing and finding my footing, I now spend my time studying filmmaking and creative writing here in the U.K. as well as taking care of my bonsai child, Bob Bicchiere.
On What Writing Means to Her and Shifting Creative Interests:
It's a bit of a cliché, but I have been writing for as long as I remember. My mom is an author, and I remember that when I was a kid, she would sometimes let me use her old MacBook - you know, the small, white, plastic-y one? - to write whatever stories were tumbling around in my mind. For as long as I have been able to read, I have used books as different worlds to escape to and live in, so when I realised that I was able to to create my own worlds as well, I became infatuated.
Then as I started to get into filmmaking and activism, I found writing articles to be a creative and emotional outlet; it's a space where I can both sort and let go of my thoughts.
On Her Writing Style and Inspirations:
I guess what inspires me are people and content that make me think, as you can classify most of my writing as "commentary". If there is a movie or Twitter trend that keeps nudging at me hours later, I know that I need to sit down and dissect why that is. When I then share my thoughts, it's the conversation that follows that inspires me to keep doing it.
As for people, here are some of my favourite people who continue to inspire me, in activism and storytelling: Tiffany Ferg, Jameela Jamil, Kara Roselle S., Beatrice from the Bliss Bean, and John Regalado.
On Entertainment and Its Developing Depiction of Humanity:
TV & cinema in so many ways introduces us to the world that we live in and its many cultures, communities, history, and ideologies. I remember television, especially, playing a massive part in my life after I had just left the bubble I was born in. From empowering female characters to LGBTQ+ representation that showed me a side of myself I didn't even know could and did exist… It helped me out together pieces of an identity that for most of my life had been discouraged.
Entertainment has always been presented as a fictional representation and reflection of our world. But for decades it has been written from only one perspective of the world. As diversity is steadily emerging in the industry, the reflection is starting to become more accurate. It only makes sense to promote voices of all kinds of perspectives and experiences; anything else is boring and bland.
On Her Radically Empathetic Mindset:
I listen before I speak, and I interrogate those knee-jerk reactions before I go with any particular take, and I never let any belief be set in stone.
As far as radical empathy and activism, I do understand why that is not the route for everyone. For me, I think part of it goes back to that bubble I grew up in. It's like Plato's theory "Allegory of the Cave"; a group of people have for their entire life been strapped down inside a cave, only facing a wall. One of them escapes from the cave, they see the sun and the world and everything beyond - they, of course, go back to the cave and wants to help the other's escape as well. But the others don't want to leave - why should they believe him? The cave is their home, their life, the only thing that they have ever known.
To shame them for believing the only thing that they have ever been taught will only make them distance themselves further from you and your cause.
It is challenging at times. There are people out there with vile ideologies, and the last thing I want to do is to show them compassion. That's when it becomes necessary to remember that radical empathy doesn't mean radical tolerance. For me, I use radical empathy as a foundation for rehabilitation and development.
Again, do want to clarify that it should, of course, all be handled on a case by case basis - I'm not encouraging you to and hug your local white supremacist or hand them a gift basket. But when we see bigoted behaviour - especially in kids and teens - reaching out and having a proper conversation, educating them rather than shun them, and then let them become better, is ultimately the goal, right?
On Cancel Culture, Herd-Mentality and "Taking a Step Back":
While I think the herd-mentality and cancel culture is a real concern, I also think we need to make the differentiation between ruthlessly cancelling people and merely calling people out on their bigotry/asking people to be held accountable for their actions, as it seems a lot of people have started lumping the two together (which I talk more about in my latest piece "Why Do You Feel Entitled to Accept an Apology that is Not Made for You?").
Herd-mentality and the echo-chambers of confirmation bias are very inherent to social media; we follow people we like and those happen to most often be people who hold the same beliefs and morals as ourselves. To fill your feed and timeline with opinions you disagree with isn't something you want to do - I don't want to do that. I don't have a solution or proposition, but I urge people to be curious about their opposition. Whether that is by following them online or watching their news; it's the best way to understand their thought process.
As for (proper) cancel culture, take a step back? It is so easy to get caught up in fury and rage when an accusation without context starts trending because if you don't immediately go with one train, you are assumed to be with the other. But taking a step back and evaluate what you are being presented before (if at all) publicly buying a ticket for either of the trains, is probably what I would suggest. Delve into nuances and make your own mind up.
On Her Relationship with Silence:
Silence allows for so many different languages to appear; touch, gaze, smile... Especially in relationships. Exploring ways of expression beyond words is so important and can unlock a much deeper connection and understanding of each other.
On What's Keeping Her Sane During These Crazy Times:
It's interesting because (while it is a horrible situation) being in quarantine has changed my life and creative approach for the better. To start, I began posting on Vocal just as we went into lockdown. Being isolated and restricted forced me to find different ways to look at my work. You know how some people say that when you are in a life-threatening situation, your body can do things you would never have thought of before? It was like that.
Suddenly I had to find a different way to create. Beyond writing, I started planning a podcast with my friend Shania Bethune: "Making It: Women in Film" where we as aspiring women filmmakers sit down with women in the industry to talk about their experiences and advice. I don't know if that is something I would have thought of creating had I not been in quarantine.
But besides writing and recording, exercising (shout out to Abby Pollock and Natacha Oceane for keeping me fit) and bread baking therapy has differently had a huge impact on the wellness of my mental health these past few months.
On Her Favorite Story She's Published on Vocal:
The Power of Silence in Cinema was probably the first one that I published and was proper proud of - it definitely remains to be one of my favourites today.
Don’t think about it—first thing that comes to mind:
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
Money. Cynical, but true.
Cats or dogs?
Cats. All the way.
Favorite travel destination?
Limpopo, South Africa (I’ve got a baby baboon at wildlife rehabilitation centre there who I can’t wait to come and see after Covid)
Favorite local restaurant?
… Can I say Taco Bell?
What’s your go-to late night snack?
What are you currently binge watching?
If you could speak a new language, what would it be and why?
Japanese immediately jumps to mind - the structure of the language is so different from the ones that I already know that I probably wouldn’t be able to learn it on my own.
Favorite story you read on Vocal by another creator?
“Why I’m Grateful For My Racist Ex” by AV
From all of us here at Vocal, thank you so much for opening up and sharing more about yourself, Evita! Somehow, at only 18, you've come to whole-hearted conclusions on humanity that many far beyond your years can't seem to grasp. Your style of activism doesn't waste time in telling others how to think; instead, you focus on a larger scale.
Telling someone to leave Plato's cave only leads to confusion and resentment. So instead, your stories and perspectives aim to teach those with "vile ideologies" to see the light beyond the cave on their own, not drag them to it. This takes incredible patience, understanding and, of course, radical empathy.
We genuinely cannot wait to read what you publish next. In the meantime, we'll be following your upcoming podcast, "Making It: Women in Film". You can find the first episode below. Thanks again, Evita!