Teresa Palmer has made a name for herself by acting in some of the greatest films that have been made. The Australian actress, writer, model, and film producer has updated her list of achievements by adding writer to that list now.
Teresa Palmer spoke to Vogue about the pandemic, her book, and her latest project.
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WHAT DID TERESA PALMER SAY?
BALANCING ACTING, MOTHERHOOD, AND BUSINESS
“I just have to be really planned, I use my calendar. Right now, I’m solo parenting. So my husband is in America. I guess actually, when you ask what’s changed, that would be the biggest thing; husband’s been in America. So I’m solo parenting the three kids, which means I know that after school drop off, I have from about 10am until 2.30pm each day to be with Poet and to get work done, and every day looks a little bit different. But I just have a very solid to-do list and I try and slowly tick things off the list and I just decided I need to liberate myself from the pressure of getting everything done exactly when I thought it would be done. So I’m having patience and being gentle with myself and just trying to work the best I can being a solo parent at the moment.”
COPING WITH THE PANDEMIC
“We are lucky enough to have 10 acres of land here in the Adelaide Hills. If I think the kids are feeling too cooped up, getting a bit wild, we just open the doors and send them out onto the land. So it’s been wonderful to all be together, but definitely the kids were ready to get back to their school friends and inject a semblance of normality back into their lives. They were really excited about going back to school and seeing their teachers, so it feels like slowly but surely, things are starting to normalise.
To be honest, not a ton has shifted because my work was not starting up until September this year anyway. So this 2020, prior [to] Covid-19, was all about working on Lovewell, my nutritional supplement company and having family time and that’s actually exactly what ended up happening. So I probably did a little bit less work on Lovewell, because I had the kids home and I was homeschooling and getting used to that new normal which felt chaotic at times, and then other times it was really rewarding. Now I’ve been carving out moments to deep dive back into Lovewell and continue to work on that aspect of my life, which has been really rewarding and exciting. We’re about to launch a new product so it’s been lots of hours spent surrounding the nutritional supplement world, getting to know that.”
“I would say my favorite role was probably Dorothy Doss in Hacksaw Ridge. That was an amazing role to take on because Dorothy’s a real person and I love the story. I love Desmond Doss and just the beauty in him as a war hero and what he stood for was really remarkable and I’m just so proud of how that movie turned out, so that would be my favorite one. The most challenging one, I would say was probably Berlin Syndrome because it was very emotionally complex and there was a lot to have to explore and it was very painful circumstances that my character had to navigate. To stay within the world of that character for three months was pretty emotionally trying, so that one would have been my most challenging. But again, that’s up there with my favorite role to date, so it was well worth it.”
DIANA BISHOP FROM A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES VS PREVIOUS ROLES
“I play a woman who is fierce and complex, hyper-intellectual, and just an amazing, strong female character. She’s definitely one of the most powerful characters I’ve ever played before, and she’s a historian, so it’s been really lovely to get to meet who she is and what she believes in and what she’s passionate about and learn those things for myself. I really have enjoyed exploring that side of her character. It’s been a wonderful journey and audiences have really embraced Diana and Matthew and their story, and their romance. So I’ve felt very excited about this project and I’m about to jump into season three at the end of the year.
They’re constantly working on the scripts and bettering them and going deeper. It was based on the books, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, and because it’s an adaption, it means that they’re always trying to navigate what to keep in from the books and what to leave out. They want to do right by the book and by the fans, but also carve out their own way of telling the story. It’s quite a complex project. I think props to the writers, it’s not an easy thing to have to find its path, but they do it in a beautiful way. I’m excited for season two to be launched, and now for Australian audiences to be able to understand and get to know the world of A Discovery of Witches. It’s just really, really exciting.”
GETTING INTO CHARACTER
“I think for the first season, absolutely. I did a lot of work. She’s an athlete, she’s very bright, she’s an historian who knows all of that old text. So I did a lot of work exploring old manuscripts and learning about the sorts of things that you might take notice of when flicking through an old text from the 17th century, so I did a lot of that kind of research. I had to learn how to row, and that was really fun. I did a lot of jogging and tried to get my fitness up because that’s the sort of person Diana Bishop is. But I think once I’m in the flow of a character now that I’m into my third season, I understand her so well now and I feel like I just know who she is. It comes quite organically. But I haven’t read this third season yet. So I don’t know whether or not there’s a new skill that I’m going to have to learn or jump into. But I’m looking forward to finding that out and seeing what unravels for my character.”
WRITING HER LATEST BOOK
“We were approached by Penguin Australia to write a book based upon some of the experiences we’ve had with our blog, Your Zen Mama. I do that with my friend Sarah Olson, and it’s a platform in which we give mothers from all walks of life, and fathers and caretakers, a platform to share their voice and express what works for them. And I think that’s the great thing about parenting, it’s such a unique experience and everyone connects to their own way of doing things. Our book is really a mashup of our own personal stories, musings as well as we share the advice that we’ve received from our mentors. I’ve collaborated with lots of wonderful people that we’re inspired by and they share their stories and we talk about birth and pregnancy and conscious parenting.
I’m just embracing the imperfect picture, which I think is really important. There’s so much self-criticism that we place on ourselves as parents to get things right, and with that comes a whole host of mummy guilt and judgments and it doesn’t need to be that way. It can be an encouraging and uplifting experience if we just accept that each person has their own way of doing things, and that’s really what our book, the heartbeat of our book is. Just let that mama intuitive voice be the loudest voice you hear.”
“My main work, aside from season three of A Discovery on Witches, is Lovewell and just nurturing my organic nutritional plant-based supplement company. We’re launching in the US and we’re doing subscriptions and we have two new products coming out. So that’s something that I’m really passionate about, bringing health into every home in a way that’s accessible and it also tastes like chocolate, which is what we set out to do. That’s definitely a big focus of mine as well as doing season three, and then I hope to find something else amazing acting-wise. Maybe a little film. I’d love to do something in Australia again, or a great little TV show. We’ll see, whatever falls organically into my life as mummy of three. I’m very open to whatever comes my way.”