Phoebe Tonkin promoting makeup and hair care brand Shu Uemura.
In person Phoebe Tonkin has an almost otherworldly prettiness with her anime-sized eyes, angled cheekbones and super shiny hair. This is rather fortunate for the 23-year-old Australian actress given that she’s made quite the career out of the supernatural. She started off in 2006 playing a mermaid in Aussie TV show H2O: Just Add Water, before moving to LA in 2011 where she got her big break playing a witch in the now-cancelled The Secret Circle. But the role that placed her firmly in the spotlight, particularly in America, is her current recurring role as a werewolf on teen drama and adult guilty pleasure, The Vampire Diaries, and she recently filmed a starring role in a spin-off pilot from the hit series. Tonkin was out in Australia as the special guest to launch Shu Uemura’s new Art of Hair range so we sat her down to speak about beauty (after all you know a werewolf is going to have good hair!), what’s next for her in Hollywood and why it would take a hostage situation to get her on a treadmill.
So you’re back in Australia for the launch of Art of Hair, Shu Uemura’s first ever haircare range. What’s your pick of the collection?
My favourite product is the Essence Absolue, which is good for your ends and to really nourish the hair to make it look healthy without weighing the hair down. You don’t want too much on your hair because it looks heavy and overly styled.
Do you have problem hair?
It definitely was a lot drier and coarser before I started using these products. After you wash your hair and use the styling products you definitely see a difference in not just the way that it looks, but how it feels.
Let’s talk beauty. You have great brows. What’s your secret to eyebrow wrangling?
I don’t do it myself. I pay $15 for someone in Los Angeles to thread them – I don’t ever pluck or wax them. I’ve been doing it for about three or four years.
What’s your signature scent?
Kai, it’s gardenia and very fresh. Sometimes at night-time I might wear Chanel Chance, it’s a little bit richer.
How do you care for your skin?
I’m really strict. In the morning, even if I have to wake up a little bit earlier, I cleanse, tone, moisturise, use eye cream. I haven’t always had perfect skin, I kind of struggle, especially because I travel so much. But I find if I’m really diligent then my skin reaps the benefits from that.
What’s your favourite lip colour?
I like a deep dark bluish red.
Have you picked up any tips from make-up artists on-set or on photo shoots?
Just not using too much. Even at night I use a tinted moisturiser and a concealer, I don’t really like heavy foundations. Unless I’m in a shoot where it’s heavy lights I don’t really wear any foundation.
Have you made any changes in the past few years that you’ve seen big health improvements from?
Finding exercises that I like doing. I used to go to the gym basically with a gun held to my head – I hate going to the gym! So I finally found things that I like. I like pilates, I like dancing, I like boxing. The idea of being on a treadmill and running for 45 minutes is my idea of hell. (laughs)
What’s happening with The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals?
It’s really exciting. I’ve known about it for a little while and it was hard to keep my mouth shut about it. It’s a backdoor pilot so it’s actually going to air as an episode of Vampire Diaries in a couple of weeks. When people see it their mouths are just going to be open for half an hour because it’s wildly different from what I think everyone’s expecting it to be. We’ll wait and see until May if they decide to pick it up or not, so I’m hoping that they do.
The Vampire Diaries is ostensibly a teenage drama, but I know plenty of older people who binge watch it.
Yeah, the subject matter isn’t necessarily for high school kids, it can be a little raunchy and touch on more adult themes. So I’m never surprised when people in their twenties watch it because it’s almost catering to that age. Unless you’re a very developed fifteen-year-old, you’re going to be a little shocked by the content of the show!
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Gone Girl and am obsessed. I’m telling everyone I know to read it and now I’m going to read [Gillian Flynn’s debut novel] Sharp Objects. She’s amazing.
What do people say about all the Australians in Hollywood?
Everyone’s sick of us taking their roles! (laughs) But yeah, Australians are very embraced in America.