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celebrity interview

Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: PHOEBE TONKIN

2nd December, 2012
Lunch with Pheobe Tonkin.

Lunch with Pheobe Tonkin.

Los Angeles-based Australian actor Phoebe Tonkin stars in the hit US supernatural TV series The Vampire Diaries, and was on ambassador duties in Sydney last week for jewellery label Jan Logan. Kate Waterhouse spoke with the 23-year-old about getting her big break, living in LA and her love life.

Did you always want to be an actor?

Not really. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but someone told me to just get involved with everything at school which I did, from Japanese club, to drama club to choir. I just fell in love with acting and I started doing acting classes at ATYP [Australian Theatre for Young People] and I really enjoyed it. Then I auditioned for a couple of things and [the Australian TV series] H2O: Just Add Water came from that. From there it became less of a hobby and more of a job. It’s great to be working in something that you love doing.

What was your big break overseas?

I had a series of auditions with Kevin Williamson, who was the producer [of The Secret Circle], and after that he called to say I had got the job and I literally flew out straight away to Canada to start filming.

When did you get your big break with The Vampire Diaries?

That came from The Secret Circle because Kevin Williamson produces both of them. After The Secret Circle was discontinued, I expressed how much I loved working for Warner Bros and [TV network] the CW, and would love to find a place in one of their shows. It was just kind of by chance there was a role in The Vampire Diaries that seemed suitable.

What’s it like to be part of The Vampire Diaries phenomenon?

It’s such a crazy thing. It has a huge fan base that is so invested in those characters and that show. It’s exciting to be a part of it and witness it … the fans are what drive that show.

What do you do for fun?

One of my best friends, [actor] Teresa Palmer, and I are very passionate about healthy living and a natural lifestyle, so we started this website called yourzenlife.com. We only just launched it last week, so when I’m not working I am busy tapping away on the computer.

What is the website all about?

It is a scrapbook of different ideas, tips and tricks. We touch on everything from healthy living and exercise to spirituality. We also talk about eating organically on a budget and finding fresh local things without spending a fortune; just things that we personally like to learn and talk about.

How did you become friends with Teresa?

We were going to [the music festival] Coachella and we ended up in the same car for a few hours and we got talking and realised that we had very similar life goals and shared the same passions, and from then on we grew very close.

Do all the expat Aussie actors stick together in LA?

Yes, there is a bit of an Aussie situation. I know it’s terrible I go over and just hang with Australians – I could be in Bondi. [But] it’s nice to be around people who are in the same sort of situation.

Will you stay based in LA?

At this stage, yes, but with this kind of job, you don’t know where you’ll end up.

Do you have a boyfriend?

That was subtle! [Laughs] umm, no.

What do you look for in a guy?

At the moment, a non-actor guy and, I guess, [someone who’s] smart, nice and funny.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I’d love to still be working, whether it’s here or overseas. I’m old-fashioned, so I guess I would also love to be getting closer to starting a family and getting married and all those things.

If you could play any character, who would it be?

I loved Gwyneth Paltrow in the The Royal Tenenbaums and Reese Witherspoon in Election. I love quirky films and characters like that.

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO Hugos Bar Pizza, Potts Point.

WE ATE Quinoa and brown rice salad; grilled baby eggplant and sun-dried tomato with olive oil; shaved fennel, blood orange and pecorino salad.

WE DRANK Blood orange, strawberry, lime, apple juice and fresh-mint mocktails.

PHOEBE WORE Ellery jacket and top, Joe’s jeans, Alexander Wang shoes, Jan Logan jewellery and Tan & Brown bag.

To see video footage of the interview see smh.com.au

Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: NAOMI WATTS

18th November, 2012
Naomi Watts at the Shangri La hotel.

Naomi Watts at the Shangri La hotel.

Actress Naomi Watts was in Sydney as part of National Donate Your Hair Week. The New York resident and Pantene ambassador was promoting the inaugural Beautiful Lengths program to inspire women to grow, cut and donate their hair to be turned into real-hair wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment. Kate Waterhouse chats to the 44-year-old about her career, being in the spotlight and her upcoming biopic, Diana, which focuses on the last two years of Princess Diana’s life.

What is a typical day?

A normal day is waking up and doing the school run, and then I like to exercise, if I can fit that in. I like to cook. The kids are much better behaved at home rather than in a restaurant. An abnormal day is rushing all over town doing interviews and stuff like that. It’s lots of travel and not enough sleep, but you try to get used to it.

Do you leave your acting at work or do you and your husband [actor Liev Schreiber] come home in character?

You have to [leave it at work]. It’s fair to say with the Diana movie, that I just finished, that was more consuming than anything I’ve done, but for the most time, you have to switch off. I know there are some actors who don’t do that, but I find that too exhausting, [especially] being the mother of two small ones. I know Daniel Day-Lewis does that [stays in character] and you think, ”Oh, I must be so lazy”, but he does less films. In 15 years, allegedly, he’s only made six. I think I would go a bit crazy if I was walking around with the character all the time.

What was the best part about playing Princess Diana?

It was discovering her … We all feel we know a lot from those everyday articles coming out through tabloids … but there was so much more to learn about her. She was a fascinating woman who achieved a lot in far too short a lifetime and I think I just thought, ”This is a woman I’d like to know, this is a woman I’d like in my life”.

What was the worst thing?

The pressure is the hardest part, everyone saying, ”Oh, but you don’t look like her and you’re not tall, you don’t have the same nose” – that is such an annoyance. I’m trying to make an interpretation, I’m not trying to mimic [her] in any way. I’m an actor, I’m just trying to be a part of the storytelling. We are not making a documentary. Obviously we wanted to get as close to her look as possible, but you can only do so much. Getting the voice was something I worked very hard on and I worked with a dialogue coach every day for six weeks. [I was] walking around with the iPod, listening to that [Martin] Bashir interview, that was probably the most candidly she ever spoke, that was recorded.

What have you been doing with your time in Sydney?

I saw my nan yesterday, who is still going strong at 87.

Will you be back in Australia for Christmas?

I hope so but I will be promoting a movie that I’m very proud of called The Impossible, about the 2004 tsunami, and it’s coming out at Christmas, so there is a lot of work and travel involved in that.

You’re a big Hollywood actress but you seem to stay out of the spotlight. Is that intentional?

Nothing scandalous happens in our lives, so yeah. I mean, there are photographers that sometimes camp outside our house or school and wait for a picture but they are the same [photos]: us on bikes with the kids, walking home, hailing a cab. We try to be as unfussy as possible; we both grew up like that, so why should we suddenly become the people who have security guards and major entourages. We keep it simple.

Will you be donating your hair?

[No], unfortunately my hair has been chemically treated. [Coloured and treated hair cannot be donated].

You’ve always been open about talking about your Aussie acting roots, but actor Melissa George has caused a hoo-ha over her Home And Away days. Does it ever get annoying having to speak about the past?

Not for me, [but] I feel bad for her. Personally, it doesn’t bother me, we all start somewhere, we all have skeletons in our closets, we all have paid our dues. It doesn’t matter, it’s work that gets work, that has always been my philosophy on it.

Do you ever look back and think, ”That’s so embarrassing”?

Of course, that’s just part of it. I think everyone, in any career, would feel that … most of us have had to start at some point and had to climb the ladder.

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO The Shangri-La Hotel, The Rocks.

WE HAD High tea.

WE DRANK English breakfast tea.

NAOMI WORE Collette Dinnigan dress.

For video footage see smh.com.au

Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: KYLY CLARKE

28th October, 2012

KylyClarke

Model and TV presenter Kyly Clarke, 31, is a cosmetics and fashion brand ambassador. She and her husband, Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke, try to keep a low profile but Kate Waterhouse catches up with Kyly near their southern Sydney home to talk about cooking, cricket and how the couple met at school.

What are you up to at the moment?

I have an interior design business (Bold Interiors) and the latest project I’m working on is the Michael Clarke Cricket Academy. I’ll be designing that from scratch and working with architects and builders over the next 12 to 24 months. I’m also brand ambassador for Sheer Cover make-up and Boutique by Harris Scarfe. I really love the variety of things that I do; I like being able to have those different elements in my life.

How did you get into interior design?

I started as a beauty therapist and was modelling and presenting at the same time. I was getting older and I wanted a more mature trade I could enjoy for a very long time. Interior design was a passion, as it’s quite similar to fashion – it’s all about style, colour and composition – so it all just clicked for me.

You seem to have a very glamorous life. Is it?

It’s like everyone else’s: when you want to be glamorous, you put make-up on, do your hair and wear nice clothes; but when you are relaxed, you pop your hair in a ponytail and head to the gym … except my life is sometimes in pictures because the media follows me.

You seem to keep a low profile, is that intentional?

I’m just happy doing my job. I understand and appreciate the media side comes with that but, for me, that’s not where I am at.

Do you feel the pressure to monitor what you say on social media?

I always watch what I do and say, it’s just my nature. It’s how I’ve been brought up. As my dad would say, ”measure twice and cut once”. I don’t think it’s a bad thing … it is about being true to yourself.

Do you spend many nights at home cooking, in trackies?

Most definitely. One of my favourite things is to eat at our dining table, because you can be yourself. I really love cooking. Everyone is egging me on to do a simple cookbook but I’m not sure; I’m definitely no chef but it would probably be simple recipes.

What is your signature dish?

Spinach and feta pie. I also cook a lot of steak and veg, veal schnitzel and pasta bake. I enjoy experimenting.

As a child, what did you think you would be when you were older?

I started as a dancer; I remember moments when I wanted to be an interior designer or … a wedding planner! You (do) your modelling and presenting jobs wondering which is going to grab, and obviously they are quite fickle industries, so it’s hard to know when one is going to take off. You definitely have those moments and think, ”If this doesn’t work, what else would I really love doing?” So thanks, J-Lo, for that Wedding Planner movie!

Were you a cricket fan when you were younger?

I knew about the Boxing Day Test because I would catch a glimpse of it on TV.

How did you grow to love it?

You enjoy something when you have a valid interest in it. I’ve always loved sport, so it wasn’t very hard to enjoy cricket. Once you know the rules of a sport, you can figure out if you are going to love it or not. For me, I did do a little research, I’m not going to lie (laughs), to figure out how many balls in an over, et cetera. But once you start paying attention and listening to the commentators, that really helped me understand things.

Did you know who Michael was before you met?

We went to school together, so we knew each other from then.

You both have busy schedules. How do you maintain family life?

It just comes down to making sure your schedules fit together and … if someone is away then obviously you try to not spend too much time apart.

Are you planning on starting a family any time soon?

Kate … ! (Laughs) Time will tell.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I know what you probably want me to say, but I just hope that my Bold Interiors is still successful and the brands-and-modelling career continues for a very long time.

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO Flowercino Florist Cafe, Caringbah.

WE ATE Home-made granola with seasonal fruit and yoghurt.

WE DRANK Soy latte and skim cappuccino.

KYLY WORE Boutique by Harris Scarfe.

For video footage see smh.com.au

Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: LARA BINGLE

25th March, 2012
Dining with Lara Bingle.

Dining with Lara Bingle.

Model Lara Bingle has signed a lucrative deal with Channel Ten to star in her own reality series, Being Lara Bingle. Kate Waterhouse caught up with the 24-year-old to chat about the show, her negative publicity and rumoured weight gain.

Can you tell us about the plot of your new show?

I’m working on a number of things throughout the show, like sunglasses, skincare, jewellery . . . I’ve had to find manufacturers and everything and the personal life stuff, you can’t script that. I’m moving into a house with [my best friend and manager] Hermione and my brother – that will be a show in itself.

Do you feel the media create a negative image of you?

Yes, 100 per cent. I don’t take it too seriously but it can be very annoying when something is printed and it’s not right. It’s little things. If I turn up to a Louis Vuitton function dressed in Louis Vuitton, the media will say, “Why isn’t she supporting Australian designers?” There is always a negative angle. I’m going to get criticised either way but I’ll never let it stop [me] from going forward.

What do you make of claims you’re an attention seeker?

I don’t care that much. In the past, I didn’t care about the consequences, so when people say I was creating drama, I wasn’t, I was just living. But now I feel like I’ve matured and I take responsibility for what I do. The only time I’ve ever cared is when they said I’d put on weight.

How did you feel about that?

That got to me. I cry all the time . . . I try not to read [stories about me] but it’s hard not to, whether it’s on TV . . . or your nan rings you and says, “Are you all right?” It’s not even that it’s being written, it’s just that everyone on the street feels like they have the right to tell me their opinion; everyone felt like they could weigh in on my weight.

Do you have any regrets?

No not really. For example, if I stayed with Michael, I would not be the person I am today. Everything was given to me on a silver platter, I had no moral values, I was not a nice person. I had a money tree out the back, clothes, cars, everything was [too] easy . . . but now I put it all in perspective. I took everything for granted, even with my weight. I now train 10 times harder than I ever did. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted but it all catches up with you.

Are you still in contact with Clarkey?

Yes, I speak to him sometimes but no one wants their ex-girlfriend calling them. He is always very supportive.

What do you look for in a man?

Humour and also protection, like that’s your man and you could tell them anything. For me, I’ve always had boyfriends that . . . “jealous” is not the right word but they just can’t cope [with me being] very strongly driven. They are like, “Where do I fit in?” I’m not very good with relationships [laughs]. I’ve had a failed engagement, I’ve had Danny [Cipriani], who dropped me on my arse. The magazine was still on the stand about how [we] had fallen in love, and he had told me we were over. Danny had done to me what I had done to every guy in my life. The moment he gave it back to me I was like, “Wow, OK . . . ” It was the lesson I had to learn.

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO Fratelli Paradiso, Potts Point.

WE ATE Olives; prosciutto and figs; veal and a rocket and parmesan salad.

WE DRANK Sparkling mineral water.

LARA WORE Bassike top, Scanlan & Theodore skirt and Christian Louboutin heels.

smh.com.au