The Change Joaquin Phoenix Inspired Lena Dunham to Make

Joaquin Phoenix is an award-winning actor, but did you know Phoenix is also a huge advocate? His role in Joker allowed him to claim the Best Actor award at the Golden Globes and the Oscars this year, but instead of reveling in his success, Phoenix used his acceptance speeches to make waves in Hollywood.

One of the celebrities that Phoenix touched through his words is Lena Dunham. She recently made changes to her lifestyle that she attributes to Phoenix and his inspirational message. Read on to find out how Dunham’s life has changed thanks to Phoenix. 

Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Joaquin Phoenix as an advocate 

Using his recent success as a platform, Phoenix has gone above and beyond in demonstrating what he stands for. After the Screen Actor’s Guild awards, Phoenix took part in an animal protest. During his acceptance speech for Best Actor at the Golden Globes, Phoenix used his acceptance speech to rally his Hollywood cohorts in an effort to combat climate change. 

A vegan menu was served at the Golden Globes so as to raise awareness around food consumption and waste. Phoenix reiterated that message by asking his colleagues to “…unify…” in order “to actually make some changes.” 

At the time of his recognition at the Golden Globes, a large portion of Australia was dealing with devastating wildfires. Phoenix mentioned how many of his fellow actors had sent their well wishes, but expressed that it was important that they “…do more than that.” He went on to ask Hollywood stars to take “…make changes and sacrifices in [their] own lives,” suggesting taking an alternate mode of transportation in lieu of private jets and making more environmentally conscious choices overall. Phoenix concluded his Golden Globe’s speech with “I’ll try to do better and I hope you will too.”

Lena Dunham is inspired to change 

The acceptance speech Phoenix gave at the Oscars also came with an ask. As a known vegan, Phoenix spoke out against cruel farming practices and the general public for allowing them to happen. Phoenix then sought to make the audience uncomfortable by detailing how the meat industry operates. He explained how “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable.”

In conclusion, Phoenix implored everyone to change. “I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create…and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.” Despite the discomfort his speech may have caused, Phoenix’s words were well received. Dunham was certainly moved, taking to Twitter to say, “I do believe Joaquin Phoenix made me vegan.” 

In years past, Dunham had made changes to her diet to help her endometriosis symptoms. In a 2017 interview with Bon Appétit, Dunham expressed an understanding of the adjustments she would have to make having a chronic disease, but she said, “…it was hard to admit those changes might be dietary.” Having removed specific foods from her diet in the past, a vegan diet should be an easy and achievable commitment for Dunham.

Other plant-based celebs

Even before Phoenix’s recent politically-charged speeches, many celebrities had made the switch to plant-based diets. Kourtney Kardashian is known as the healthiest family member, consuming a vegan diet that also happens to be free of gluten and GMOs. Other celebrities, like Kelly Ripa and Natalie Portman, are also vegans. After discovering an increase in performance ability, many athletes have also started consuming plant-based meals. 

Some celebrities opt to become vegan due to health-related issues, while others choose the lifestyle because of its environmental benefits. Given Phoenix’s determination to make change, it won’t be surprising if even more celebrities choose to become vegan throughout 2020.