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?”
on the women she surrounds herself with:
What makes a woman beautiful is her substance, intelligence, and darkness. I am so lucky to have so many hardworking, intelligent, creative people in my life. I am constantly inspired by their independence and strength. None of the women in my life are scared of the word ambition. We wear our passion and our drive on our sleeves as clearly as our hearts!
her sources of inspiration:
I’m a real estate junkie. I have all the apps, I scroll and daydream. I’m obsessed. I was lucky to live in LA and get free drive by tours of some amazing architecture. Lautner. I would love to live in one of his houses…can you image. Richard Neutra. I went to the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition a few years ago.
My favourite writers are Yrsa Daley-Ward, Gillian Flynn, recently Susan Sontag, Michael Pollan; another writer I have just discovered is Laura Elizabeth Woollett…she’s Australian.
I love the work of Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann, Jon William Waterhouse, Egon Schiele, Elsa Bleda, Christaine Spansberg, Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I think that image of the islands surrounded by pink floating fabric was the earliest memory I have of being taken aback by an image that I wasn’t exposed to through school curriculum when I was about 11. I saw it in a photography book.
To survive as an actress you have to believe in something. What is obvious from the moment you meet Phoebe is that she is a woman who believes—in herself, in creating, in her voice and in the voices of those who’ve been marginalized in her industry. “Whether you are a CEO, a school principal, a director or a bus driver, there needs to be representation and diversity. It matters when people feel represented, when they feel like they belong in spaces and a culture that have shut them out for far too long.”
Her passion for what she does—everything she does—is evident in each of the projects she joins and every cause she takes up. When asked what concerns her the most at the moment, she doesn’t hesitate. “The issues that make my blood boil: economic inequality, Australia’s mistreatment of refugees, the nonsensical gun laws in America, and animal rights.” Even more to the point, Phoebe said: “I’m fed up with male entitlement. I don’t care if you feel like your jobs are jeopardized; you should be up for the challenge. This goes for every industry. There’s a new wave of women who are just as hungry, talented, and passionate as you are now.” We couldn’t agree more.
Phoebe has all the rare qualities that only come together, in a person, once in a generation. Her style, her beauty, her wit, her spirit bring life to her work, and bring something singular to Matteau.
favourite summer memory:
This summer in Spain was pretty special…It was impromptu and perfect. Naked pool swims, cherries by the sea. Negronis all day long, and listening to the Cranberries over cheese plates at night.
on the pieces, she treasures most:
I have a lot of beautiful jewellery. Some I have bought myself, some I have been gifted by both lovers and by friends. I also have an extensive ex-boyfriend tee shirt collection.
a word of wisdom she wishes she received five years ago:
I wish I had stressed less about the future…but really, I should be applying that to my life now! I worry too much about what is to come.
what holds most important to her life:
Being a good person.
her favourite matteau style:
I love the String Bikini set and the Petite Bikini set. Also, the Square Maillot for swimming laps!
Published February 2019
by Nicholas Goodman
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