Interviews « Phoebe Tonkin Web | Your Best Fansite Source for Phoebe Tonkin
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The Aussie actress hopped on a boat, put on her J12, and talked about life after 30.

Phoebe Tonkin has been acting for half of her life, starting with a teen show in her native Australia. The now-30-year-old has built up an impressive acting CV since then and is also known to her 5.2 million followers as an especially beautiful Instagram influencer. Tonkin can also add Chanel ambassador to her list of titles. The Parisian house staged a French seaside takeover on Shelter Island in the Hamptons this past weekend to fete its popular J12 watch. BAZAAR.com took this picturesque opportunity to shoot the New York-based Australian on a Chanel-branded sailboat and to ask Tonkin some questions about social media, her career, and what else when we’re all here for a watch? Time.

Harper’s BAZAAR: Let’s get right into you. When did you start acting? What do you love about it?
Phoebe Tonkin: I started acting when I was about 15. I was taking all the drama classes and acting courses. I auditioned for Home and Away—I don’t know if Americans know about Home and Away—and didn’t get it. And the second thing I auditioned for was a kid show called H2O. And that took me away from my kind of normal childhood, teenage adolescence for three years to shoot three seasons of it in the Gold Coast—I was Sydney based. And then from there, I kind of … I don’t know if I fell in love with acting so much as I fell in love with the world of what making film and TV was and is. I just love being on set. I feel like, I mean, I’m 30 now, the first set I was on, I was 15. So half of my life I’ve been on a set, and it’s so familiar to me. I feel so comfortable. I think I fell in love with the world of telling stories.

What do you think is the project that put you out into the world the most?
H20 was quite popular in Australia and then got bought by Netflix over here. But in terms of what I feel like changed my own kind of trajectory in terms of just personally how I felt about working, it was a show called Safe Harbour that’s on Hulu. I shot it about two years ago and it just … I don’t know, I think it just rejuvenated my passion for telling stories again, and why I love doing it, and the impulsivity, and the just passion. It was a very small budget, with just some of the most incredible talents and creative in Australia all involved in it. It was just so inspiring to me, and every day was such a treat to be on set, even when I wasn’t working, I just absorbed everything I saw. Yeah. Safe Harbour was the one, at least as an adult, that really kind of reshaped where I wanted to go with my career.

How did you become involved as a Chanel ambassador?
I met Ilona Hamer [who styled this shoot] about nine years ago at a Chanel event in Australia that I was invited to—Ilona helped style me for it. And then a few years later, she was shooting something for Chanel and she had all of these samples in her apartment. Our friend Adrian [Mesko] was a photographer and we’d all had a glass of wine or something, and Ilona said, “Why don’t we shoot Phoebe in some of these samples and Adrian can shoot it?” It was just the three of us sitting at her apartment, and she took the photos, put them on her blog, and sent them to Chanel in Australia. And that was sort of how I got properly introduced. And then from then, I shot a few covers and editorials, and went to a few shows. But I became an ambassador last year.

What does Chanel as a brand and an idea represent to you?
I think there’s something really kind of timeless and classic and elegant, but still sort of strong and a little rebellious about the Chanel woman. And I like being part of a brand that really wants you to feel and look like yourself, while still sort of being a face, or a representation of the house. That you can style the clothes in a way that you would wear them, as opposed to being put in full head-to-toe looks. And even today, this shoot is exactly how I would probably be going on a boat—except with more Chanel.

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Australia is not lacking in supermodels, with Miranda Kerr, Gemma Ward, Abbey Lee Kershaw, and Elle MacPherson among the many megastars who hail from down under. But on the second day of Australia Fashion Week’s Resort 2020 shows in Sydney this year, a new rising runway star joined their ranks: actress Phoebe Tonkin, walking in her first ever runway show. It was not just any runway show, though—the 29-year-old hit the catwalk for her friends Peta Heinsen and Ilona Hamer, in their brand Matteau’s first ever ready-to-wear show. Tonkin joined a diverse cast of models, including fellow Aussie native Robyn Lawley, seamlessly fitting in with the crew, nary a sign of nerves in sight. Here, Tonkin breaks down how her runway debut came to be, and shares her latest fashion opinions.

How were you feeling before you hit the runway?
I was just excited for Ilona and Peta. The energy backstage was just pure joy. All the girls felt confident and beautiful, everyone was commenting on how relaxed the show was. I’m not a model, maybe I should have been more nervous, but I was wearing flats so I figured as long as I didn’t walk the wrong way or slip over, I was going to do okay.

What was most surprising to you about the runway experience?
That it was so quick! The whole [thing] lasted only six or so minutes! And also how chilled out backstage was.


From climate change to feminism, why we love this down-to-earth Aussie actress

Phoebe Tonkin is like a breath of fresh air. With her porcelain skin and willowy frame she’s the epitome of natural beauty but there’s so much more to this Aussie actress that it’s hard to know where to start. We chatted with Phoebe during her recent visit to Australia, where she was refreshingly open and honest about issues she holds close. From human rights to feminism, her stance on climate change and US politics, it was certainly a departure from the run-of-the-mill celebrity interview.

But what really elevates LA-based Phoebe is the way she has been completely unafraid to use her influence to inspire action.

“If you live on this earth, I think it’s our responsibility to make sure it’s still here for future generations. I think it would be incredibly selfish to think, ‘it’s not going to affect me’ because by the time it does, global warming will truly devastate this world,’’ she says frankly, when we ask her what sustainability means to her.

There’s a lot that Phoebe feels strongly about, and during our chat a common topic we return to is how she sees it as her responsibility to voice her opinion so that others may be inspired to form one of their own.

“I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of lovely people who follow me on Instagram, and it’s nice to at least urge them to have an opinion in general; on everything from politics to equal rights, health and wellbeing of animals, feminism, or whatever it is,’’ she says.

Last year Phoebe used the social platform to urge her US followers to vote in the midterm elections, while back home in Australia she speaks freely about equality and pinpointing the current treatment of refugees as one of many issues she will stand up for. “I think the detainment of refugees is appalling and shocking. I think our time is up for Australia to abolish those sorts of prisons. These people have been there for years and years, and in such horrific conditions,’’ she says.

From appearing on Home and Away to the Vampire Diaries and more recently, Aussie drama, Bloom, somewhere along the way she has gone from teenage actress to global megastar. Along with her mates Margot Robbie and Teresa Palmer she’s part of Chanel’s inner circle, has appeared in fashion shoots for US Vogue and Elle and teamed up with Lara Worthington in Jenni Kayne’s #findyouruniform fashion campaign.

For the last eight years Phoebe has called the US home, the first five in Atlanta during the filming of Vampire Diaries and most recently Los Angeles, where she says her favourite things to do are have dinner parties, cook for friends and take road trips to one of her favourite places, Ojai. “I just kind of hang out,’’ she says.

The native Sydneysider lists fellow actress and aussie Teresa Palmer as one of her great LA mentors, further fueling our impressions of a super-talented posse of like-minded Australian actresses making waves across the Pacific.

“She’s (Teresa) another person that’s really passionate about the environment and making sure her family is aware of the food they eat and where it comes from,’’ she says of her friend who is also the co-founder of Your Zen Mama.


Phoebe Tonkin is the first. She is the absolute original Matteau Muse. She’s someone we’ve known forever and admired even longer, a woman who inspires us every time we see her. Even if she wasn’t a part of the family, she represents the kind of woman that we will always love.

Whether she’s filming in Melbourne, Montauk or LA, or front row at The Grand Palais as an ambassador of Chanel, Phoebe makes things come to life. She said 2018 completely changed her trajectory creatively. “Just emotionally things shifted for me. My work challenged and inspired me every day. It also made me realize the power in meaningful filmmaking, and appreciate the feeling of being a part of something collaborative.”

Despite the success, she is openly wrestling with what it means to be so visible and what she can do to contribute that visibility to the things that matter to her. “I don’t understand why it’s become such a fad to be a feminist, or an activist,” she said. “Shouldn’t we always have given a shit about the world and our place in it?”

See the rest of the feature here!

Matteau also shared some new outtakes of Phoebe.


Ryan Corr and Phoebe Tonkin are a little bit torn over what genre best describes Bloom.

“We’re not in Kansas anymore, which I really like about it. It’s risky material and I think it comes across well,” says Corr.

“I think of it as grounded supernatural,” Tonkin suggests.

“Fairytale, fantasy, sci-fi, drama, comedy!” adds Corr.

Eventually both settle on mystery drama. But they are agreed Stan’s new 6 part series is unlikely to have ever been produced on Free to Air television. When all 6 episodes drop on New Year’s Day viewers will discover why.

“ABC has done some good stuff, like Glitch,” Corr continues, “but I don’t think anything pushes the boundaries like this. I don’t think a network would do this because it doesn’t exist to sell commercial spots. It’s more an exploration of an idea and a philosophical question. Stan was great letting their creatives fly. It’s got a place on Streaming content. It’s not kitchen sink.”

Indeed it is not (but it would be remiss not to note Stan is owned by Nine). Bloom opens with a catastrophic flood in a rural town but it leaves behind a mysterious plant with a berry that offers eternal youth. Or does it?

Tonkin plays Gwen the younger version of Jacki Weaver’s character, married to Ray (Bryan Brown). Due to the nature of the bold plot, Tonkin (The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, Safe Harbour) shared no on-camera scenes with the veteran Weaver. But the two strived to replicate one another.

“I watched a lot of interviews of her when she was younger,” she explains.

“There were a couple of days where we crossed over, and a press day together. The first day she landed she came to set had lunch with me and watched my body language, listened to the way I talk, which is very flattering. But the nature of Television is that it’s very fast. It would have been nice to have a week of rehearsal with everyone but we weren’t afforded that luxury.”

“But you don’t really need to emulate them because when we meet Gwen she has Alzheimer’s.”

Corr (Holding the Man, Hoges, Love Child, Packed to the Rafters) plays Sam, a sexually-charged young man full of exuberance whose opening scenes required him to run through the streets of Clunes wearing nothing but a modesty sock.

“It sort of makes you look like a Ken Doll,” he laughs. “It involves your meat and 2 veg in a bag which is tied at the top and tape between your bottom. And then running.

“Playmaker have made me run naked in everything I’ve done with them!

“The moments of lightness are needed to break the tension, particularly with Sam. Or at least that’s how it starts off. There are some genuinely funny moments.”

But Bloom by writer Glen Dolman explores much deeper and darker themes.

“Without giving too much away, you see these characters are compelled by a great regret they have had in their lives,” Tonkin continues.

“Ray thinks he is bringing Gwen back as her younger self, but it starts to become like Dr. Frankenstein, that she is not exactly what he thought he was bringing back. There is something a little off-kilter and dangerous about her. So it makes him wonder was it the right thing to do?”

“It throws up philosophical questions which I think is one of the strengths of the show. It gets you talking about ideas: what parts of a person returning remains, what version is left?” Corr asks.

“It’s all pretty high stakes, and we are dealing in an area that isn’t well-trodden. So we were learning about the effects of the berry and how it manifests as we were shooting.

“It was like a jigsaw puzzle put together.”

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There are a legion of ways to describe new Stan series Bloom.

It’s both dreamlike and fierce, shockingly sad and then at times even downright funny.

However, after watching the first few episodes of the six-part series and then sitting down to talk about its themes with stars Phoebe Tonkin and Ryan Corr, I now believe that Bloom is best described as an iceberg.

All because you may think you see all there is to see at first, yet it’s not until you peak below the surface that it’s full magnitude, power and depth really comes into focus.

According to the stars of Bloom, the secret behind the series is that it’s about so much more than just the chase for eternal youth, as the trailers may have led you to believe.

It’s also about love, rediscovering sexuality, the harshness of living in the world while ageing (especially as a woman) and how living with regrets can change you into a completely different person.

The premiere episode of Bloom kicks off one year after a devastating flood killed five locals in an idyllic country town in Australia.

Now, a mysterious new plant has appeared with the power to restore youth. It’s a gift powerful beyond wildest imaginings and a miracle some will kill to keep a secret.

In Bloom Phoebe Tonkin as Young Gwen (with the older version of the character played by Jacki Weaver) and Ryan Corr stars as Sam, two people who have their lives changed forever and a chance to fix their greatest regrets thanks to the mysterious plant.

“With this berry and this power of rejuvenation comes the compulsion to really do something, to right something that you regret not doing in your life,” Phoebe told Mamamia while talking about the character of Gwen.

“Everyone has things that they wish they could have done differently, and this particular compulsion that she has, without giving anything away, was very relatable to me. The thing that she regrets not doing is something that I would aspire to do in my life eventually.”

The idea of whether or not they would want the chance to go back and change their pasts is one that the cast of Bloom grappled with throughout the show, although Ryan and Phoebe both ultimately agreed that that path was a dangerous one to walk down.

“It was brought up a lot during the filming of the show and we became quite philosophical about that,” Ryan told Mamamia. “But wherever you are in the present is a result of all the trials and tribulations that have come before you and I’m not a person who wants to live with regrets.

“There are things I would like to go back and tell my younger self, now as a 30-year-old, but I don’t think I would go back and change anything.”

“You are the sum of all the mistakes and the choices that you’ve made,” agreed Phoebe. “That’s what shapes who you are.”

“And there is beauty in that, and beauty in the series,” concluded Ryan.

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