It seems like only yesterday that Evanna Lynch lit up the screen as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies. But in actuality, it was over a decade ago that we first got a taste of Lynch’s keen acting talents — and she became an icon for self-professed weirdos everywhere. Where did all that time go?

While it might be impossible to score an iconic part quite like that again, Lynch hasn’t been resting on her laurels, or hiding from the public eye. Rather, she’s been busy with a variety of roles, appearances, and activities, steadily making her mark the world of acting and beyond. And she’s cinched roles in live theater, television, and film, showing just how well-rounded her skills are. Lynch has also been outspoken on issues that are important to her, and is committed to making the world a better place in her own small way. So without further ado, here’s what happened to the girl who played Luna in Harry Potter.

It all started in Ireland

Evanna Lynch as a baby with father

Although it can be hard to imagine Lynch as anyone but Luna Lovegood, she’s actually a three-dimensional human being with her own origin story. Lynch is a native of Ireland, specifically of Termonfeckin, a small village in County Louth, according to The Irish Times. She has three siblings, and her parents were educators by profession.

By all accounts, Lynch’s early years were serene, though she says she was painfully shy. She grew up Catholic, and as she told The Irish Times, “close to nature and surrounded by cows and sheep,” which sounds idyllic and almost from another time. She also studied speculative fiction and drama — and, of course, she loved the Harry Potter books. Lynch was also pen pals with J.K Rowling herself. Lucky!

But not everything was easy for her, as she was hospitalized by age 11 for anorexia, and spent two years in and out of clinics. Fortunately, she eventually got healthy enough to stand on her own two feet once again.

Her Harry Potter destiny

Evanna Lynch with JK Rowling

There are several rumors concerning how Lynch landed the role of Luna Lovegood, according to The Irish Times. Chief among them is that J.K. Rowling spotted a sickly, ailing Lynch at a book signing, and promised her the role if she could just manage to eat something. Some also posited that Lynch herself was the inspiration for the character, rather than the other way around.

But the reality is different: Lynch actually got the part after auditioning in London against 15,000 other hopefuls according to The Independent — which is kind of magical in its own right. So she didn’t benefit from her friendship with Rowling, at least when it came to casting.

Lynch really was the right person for the role, too, which is obvious to anyone who’s seen the Harry Potter films. “It wasn’t acting, it was just a beautiful opportunity to play as a character I loved so much and an exercise in channelling her spirit,” she mused in an interview with Schön! magazine. And while she says fame was difficult to cope with, playing Luna was definitely her destiny.

Life after Hogwarts

Evanna Lynch with creature

All good things must come to an end, as did the Harry Potter franchise. After that, Lynch was cast out of the Potterverse and into the real world, which was a tough transition for her. “I had no strong sense of who I was or what my worth was outside of being Luna, and yet I no longer felt like Luna,” she revealed in an interview with Schön! magazine. “It was a very strange, lonely, unknowable time and I felt nothing was anchoring me to the world.”

But Lynch did not stay adrift for long. Instead, she hit the ground running and went to multiple auditions, according to Interview magazine. She also took acting classes, which she credits for some serious creative and personal growth. “Working with great acting teachers who made me do deep self-introspection and showed me that I already had opinions and convictions and something to say to the world made me grow up and be more assertive in my life and work,” she continued.

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