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Phoebe Tonkin had just turned 30 when we spoke on a sweltering hot July day. While this could incite panic in those who fear the dreaded three-oh, Tonkin couldn’t be more excited to enter into this new chapter.
The actress spent her 20s building quite a name for herself in both the U.S. and her homeland of Australia. Having first burst onto the scene in the Australian sitcom H2O: Just Add Water, she gained widespread fame when she landed the role of Hayley on Vampire Diaries, which, in turn, led to a starring role in the spinoff series The Originals. Her latest venture sees her back on Australian television in the drama Bloom. Adding to her roster of acting accomplishments, she’s also been a Chanel ambassador for the last three years.
These successes have garnered her a massive following on social media. Boasting 5.2 million followers on Instagram, Tonkin is ever aware of the influence she has online. She tries to use her social media as a way to call her fans to action, with posts supporting campaigns to save the whales and eliminate the use of plastic water bottles, and, most recently, advocating for gun control in the U.S.
“It just felt very organic to share those things and hopefully inspire other people to educate themselves and use their voice,” Tonkin says. “Just because they don’t necessarily have as big of a platform as I do doesn’t mean they don’t have influence.”
The environment and the protection of marine life are of particular importance to her. This interest in sustainability was one of the many reasons she was drawn to Chanel as a brand. “What a lot of people don’t know [about] Chanel is that it has very discreetly done so much for the arts, as well as the environment,” Tonkin explains. “They’re working on more sustainable choices, which I love.”