Phoebe Tonkin’s star is on the rise thanks to landing a role on the hit show The Vampire Diaries and a new feature film, Bait, on the way. The Australian actress has experienced the highs and lows of Hollywood after being cast as a witch in The Secret Circle, only to have the show cancelled after one full season on The CW. Still, the Rising Star finalist in the Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Female Awards has a lot on her plate, including a new lifestyle venture with her best friend Teresa Palmer. We quizzed Phoebe on her exciting new roles, settling in LA and how international fans compare to Aussies.
Congratulations on scoring your role on The Vampire Diaries! What can you tell us about it?
I play Hayley, an old friend of Tylers, who is a werewolf. She has been travelling and has come to see her old friend. Which stirs up Tylers relationship with his girlfriend, Caroline.
What was your experience of shooting Bait 3D?
Wet! We spent six weeks drenched in water on top of a shelf. But it was so much fun. Dan Wyllie [currently in Puberty Blues] is so cheeky, he had us in stitches every day. It was a really great experience, and I’d never worked with 3D cameras before so I learnt a lot.
You’ve done a mix of film and TV — do you have a preference? What are the differences?
I’ve been very lucky that both the television shows and films have been fairly big productions. I guess the biggest difference is that on American TV the hours are longer, but with both you’re just trying to tell a story. With films you know where your character ends up. There’s a shorter arc. On TV you don’t know where you’ll end up!
Can you remember what it was like when you first moved to the US? How did you find your feet?
I was very lucky, Claire Holt had lived there for a few years already, so she really showed me the ropes when I there. I was also lucky enough to already have an agent, so when I got there I found an apartment and started going on auditions right away.
What has been your biggest ‘pinch me’ moment? (Scoring a role, bumping into a massive celebrity?)
Getting the role on Secret Circle was pretty amazing. I had been out on a lot of pilot auditions, and Secret Circle was the last audition I had done. One moment I’m fretting about how much longer I can afford to stay living in LA, and then I was on a flight to Vancouver and started costume fittings the same day as I landed. At the time it felt like a long process, but in hindsight I was lucky that it wasn’t as long as I had expected to wait for a role.
Which Aussies do you hang out with in the US? I know you’re really good friends with Teresa Palmer!
Teresa Palmer is such a beautiful girl, I was lucky to have met her over here. Claire Holt and I have been friends since we were 15, when we met on H2O. Bella Heathcote has become another dear friend. I seem to hang out with a lot of stunningly gorgeous Australians over here!
How often do you aim to get back to Australia?
I am coming back for Christmas. I can’t wait to swim at Balmoral Beach and go to North Bondi Italian when I get back. I miss home a lot, but my family have visited me over here a few times.
How do international fans compare to Australian ones?
I guess it’s the same. It’s so lovely to meet people who support you and care about what you do. There’s a lot of closet H2O Fans over in America, which is funny because it’s an Australian show, but I think it has a big Netflix fan base!
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I like to take dance class, Pilates, go to see live bands and get to the beach.
Tell us a bit more about Your Zen Life?
Teresa and I are creating a website about health and wellbeing called Your Zen Life. It’s an online scrapbook, we want it to feel like a community of people who all share a passion to eating well and living their best lives possible. We have such an array of contributors, we have reached out online to people who want to share their stories, opinions and ideas to take part in it. It’s nice to have something else to focus on other then work and auditions, and we can’t wait for the site to be up!
Published September 6, 2012
by Jessica Chandra