Aussie charm: Teresa Palmer

Clove, The Star, Sunday 18 November 2012

Aussie charm
Rising star Teresa Palmer is so much more than just a pretty face

By Sophia Goh

As far as true Hollywood stories go, Teresa Palmer has led a pretty charmed life. Discovered on the street and cast in her first feature film, 2:37, without even an audition, the 26-year-old’s career has taken her from the small city of Adelaide, South Australia, to the bright lights of Hollywood in hardly any time at all.

In Kuala Lumpur recently for the launch of the new skincare range Youth Xtend by Artistry, Teresa, who is the new global face of the brand, was clearly thrilled to be here, and indeed, her passion and bubbly energy were infectious.

She’s gorgeous, of course, but there’s something else – a warmth and down-to-earth charm that I attribute to her Aussie roots. She greets me with a “Hello, nama saya Teresa,” later explaining that she studied a little Indonesian when she was in school.

I ask her about her whirlwind of a career that’s led her to this point – successful actress, rising star, global face of a beauty brand – and it’s like she can hardly believe her good fortune. “What a dream. It’s just been a really remarkable journey so far, and I feel incredibly lucky.”

She tells me about her first acting role, in Oliver Twist when she was eight. She was one of the crowd members. “Didn’t quite make Oliver Twist,” she laughs, “but it’s all right being background.” Who would have imagined?

“Coming from Adelaide, I never thought [Hollywood] would be a reality for me. You don’t have quite so many opportunities as you would a budding actress in Sydney, and I just kind of fell into it. It’s been a rollercoaster since I started in 2004.”

She didn’t even plan on moving to Hollywood initially. It was her management company in Los Angeles that persuaded her to go out there for two weeks, audition for a few roles, and see how things went. She did, ended up booking a couple of jobs, and stayed.

That was six years ago, and today, Teresa calls LA her second home. Sure, it was “a hard transition” at first, having to learn to take care of herself and get used to an unfamiliar culture, but she’s a determined one.

“I made a point of saying yes. I would go to lunches and dinner parties, and try to branch out and meet like-minded people. Eventually I found a solid group of friends so I’m definitely really happy there now,” she recalls.

Having already worked with the likes of Adam Sandler and Russell Brand (Bedtime Stories), Nicolas Cage (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), and Dianna Agron and Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four), Teresa has much more to look forward to.

She’s just wrapped a film called Knight of Cups by Terrence Malick, her favourite director, and calls the experience her most cherished on a film set. There’s Warm Bodies, a zombie romance flick due out early next year, and unfortunately she can’t talk about reports that she’s being considered for the Captain America sequel.

There’s also her website, www.yourzenlife.com, which she’s launching very soon. “It’s a passion project and something I’m really excited about,” she says. “It’s basically an online portal for everything to do with wellbeing. And it’s going to be a community where like-minded people can inspire each other to live their happiest and healthiest lives.”

No one could accuse her of not walking the talk. Teresa works out with a trainer four times a week, doing boxing and weight training, and also does Pilates and yoga. She loves being outdoors, having grown up on her best friend’s family farm – “We were always outside, riding motorbikes,” she says – and tries to eat only the healthiest organic foods.

“The most important thing to me is being healthy. If you’re feeding yourself great organic foods, and you’re exercising and keeping a positive mind and spirit, then ultimately you’ll look the way you’re supposed to. For some people that’s being more voluptuous, for others it’s being thin. It’s about being happy on the inside.”

She also believes in the healing power of crystals, and tries to bring her rose quartz with her wherever she goes. “It helps open the heart chakra, and it has worked for me so far. It keeps you very open, loving and positive.”

A self-described huge romantic, Teresa, who reportedly split from actor Scott Speedman recently, says she’s currently “happily single”, and takes her personal life making celebrity news headlines in stride.

“One of the things that come with being an actor in Hollywood is dealing with public attention surrounding your personal life, and sometimes being photographed on the street,” she says. “But I love my job so much that I realise it’s all a part of it, and I can’t complain. It’s what I signed up for.”

Coming back to Artistry, the actress admits that she didn’t know very much about the brand when she was first approached, but once she did her research, a few keywords really resonated with her.

“Health, science, beauty, innovation and integrity,” she says. “And of course, I was given some of the products, and they were unbelieveable. I saw such a significant change in my skin. My mum said to me recently, ‘You’ve never looked younger,’ and I have Artistry to thank for that. I couldn’t be more proud to be affiliated with the company.”

For her skin care regimen, she sticks with the basics – a good diet, lots of sleep, lots of water, diligent cleansing, toning and moisturising, and sunscreen every day. It must be working, because her skin looks great.

Finally, I ask Teresa how she would describe herself. There’s a long pause. “I guess I’m a bubbly, happy, positive person who really is inspired by life. I try to make the most of all of my days. I have a favourite quote: Be the change you want to see in the world. I try to live my life by that.”

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