Adelaide girl Teresa Palmer is best known for her roles in films such as December Boys, Warm Bodies, The Ever After and more recently in Berlin Syndrome and she’s currently gracing the cover of Vogue Australia. We caught up with the talented actress to talk about her journey to success, life in Hollywood and future endeavours.
When did you first realise that you wanted to be an actress? Was there a particular defining moment?
When I was 8 years old I loved the movie “A Little Princess” and I remember thinking how magical it would’ve been to be the little actress in the film. I think that’s when the acting seed was planted. I always believed that I could become an actress without fully grasping how challenging and rare it is to become one. I still have moments of disbelief, which is nice because it keeps me very grateful and helps me to enjoy all the peaks and valleys of this adventure.
What was it like moving from Adelaide to LA to pursue your acting career? Did you ever second-guess your choice in pursuing acting?
Yes I second-guessed it a lot! I was on my own in another country at 21; it was very lonely and scary. I would cry because I missed the familiar feeling of home. I always thought of my life as sliding doors, what if I had just stayed in Adelaide, married my first love, settled down, had kids and became a teacher? Would that have been better, easier or as fulfilling? I’ll never know, but after that first year I found my tribe out here in LA and haven’t looked back since. I’m so thankful I had the determination to push through, now I have the best of both worlds and I’m so content.
You’re certainly one of our most successful South Australian exports. How hard have you had to work to become the successful actress you are today?
It’s been a hard slog at times, emotionally, physically and mentally taxing; especially when you place your worth on whether you get a job or not. It’s a really competitive climate out here. It’s definitely challenging at times and I’ve had to work hard to get to the place that I’m at now.
Now that I have a family, I definitely put less stock in ensuring my career is soaring! There is less pressure and I’ve noticed that the less I’ve focused on it, the easier it has come to me. There is a lesson in that somewhere.
You’re internationally recognised for your work, but reading through all your bios and other interviews, you come across so down to earth and endearing. How does the real Teresa compare to the glamorous, red-carpet-ready Teresa we so often see in the press?
I make an effort to really be authentic and strip away the false sense of reality this industry creates. I feel a responsibility to show my real self. I hope that it’s helpful to those who look up to me, so that they too can embrace who they really are. The red carpet stuff can be both fun and hard; it’s a very small part of my life, so I try to enjoy it as much as I can, as it’s a far cry from my every day reality with three sons!
Do you have any tips for someone who wants to pursue acting?
Say yes to lots of different opportunities even if it’s unpaid extra work. I started out as an extra – I was in Deck Dogs and Wolf Creek (you can actually spot me in Wolf Creek in the pool scene!). I also acted in student films and short films just to get better and learn more about acting. Build up a good reel using these opportunities and then send it out to anyone and everyone! That’s what I did and I got asked to fly to Sydney to meet Ann Churchill Brown (Australia’s biggest agent). You have to be your own agent before you get one! Keep pushing yourself and never doubt – always keep a positive mindset about it.
You currently reside in LA with your young family. How does living and working in LA differ from that in Adelaide? Do you miss Adelaide at all?
Yes, I miss Adelaide all the time! It’s such a beautiful city. I actually have my sons enrolled in a school in Adelaide so we plan on spending a lot more time back there. The two cities couldn’t be more different. Adelaide is so relaxed and calm, while Los Angeles is very vibrant and constantly busy! I have a great group of friends in each city, so I love the balance of going from place to place.
Back in 2012 you and close friend Phoebe Tonkin launched Your Zen Life. What was the inspiration behind the health and wellness website?
We just loved the idea of creating an inspiring and positive community for people to celebrate wellness and living their best lives. It also gives people the opportunity to have a voice as we accept contributions from all over the world. I now have a sister site called Your Zen Mama, which is a platform for Mamas and Papas to come together and connect over all facets of parenting. There is a lot of separatism in life, so these are communities where we can support and encourage one another to join forces and be the best we can be.
Do you have any exciting projects planned for 2017?
Project Mama!! Haha just hanging with my family and getting prepped for the Lights Out sequel. Plus, I’m excited about any other film projects that come my way. I’m being particularly selective this year, as I’d prefer to spend more time with my family than do something that I’m not 100% excited or passionate about.
#flashbackfriday pictured here 6 hours after little Forest was born. Taken in my garden by the divine @gemma_peanut who captured some post birth bliss/sleepy vibes ✨ check out my new article "Mind Games" on @yourzenmama chatting all about our thoughts & shifting our attachment to them. LINK IN BIO #Forestmagic #postbirth #yourzenmama