Hanging up the phone to Teresa Palmer after an hour of speaking; her end of the line in Adelaide where she shares a home with husband and director Mark Webber and her sons, and mine in TOMBOY’s satellite office in Los Angeles (where Palmer and her family spend around 60% of their time), I joked with photographer Zanita Whittington who lensed Teresa for this story, that we should title it, “Mother Teresa”
Palmer is one of Australia’s craftswomen who can safely say they have made it in Hollywood. She is also an independent publisher of wellbeing platform and digital community, Your Zen Mama and Your Zen Life, and a friend of luxury house, CHANEL. Though, her role of mother is without a doubt her starring one. All of her excitement (she is 28 weeks pregnant with her first daughter), her anxieties (negotiating with Webber for another baby after this one), and happiness is wrapped up in it. “Motherhood has been the greatest thing in my entire life and the thing that feels most like me,” she said.
Although reputably questionable, Wiki states that Palmer was in fact named after Mother Teresa. True or not – her name suits her – and like her namesake she is beautiful in spirit as well as in front of the camera, as the pictures prove.
// excerpts from our phone transcript.
[TERESA on splitting time between LA and Adelaide]
TP: We’re 60/40 at this point. 60% in LA and then 40% in Adelaide. Our little boys have school here now in Australia so we’re getting excited to start transitioning into raising the boys in Adelaide.
[TERESA on HOME]
TP: I probably feel a little more at home in Australia. After having my own children, I have gotten a little bit nostalgic about my childhood and how special it was. It’s a beautiful safe country and I just love it for raising children. I think it keeps them really grounded and down to earth. No one cares what your parents do and there’s this eclectic mix of people from all walks of life in lots of different types of jobs.
[TERESA on MOTHERHOOD]
I have always been a nurturer and I’ve always been a mum and when it happened it just felt really natural and organic and it was just like I’d always been a mother. And so it feels like home to be a mum. Every aspect of my life has gotten richer from having kids, maybe not my bank account. I’ve experienced life in a much more vibrant way now that they’re here. I don’t know that I’ve changed, just my life has changed so much. It’s exponentially better and deeper and the level of love is just beautiful.
[TERESA on GROWING THE FAMILY]
Mark is almost to the point of being done but he’s really gung-ho and he is really good with me and my dreams and desires, so when I talk with him about having more kids and having five or six kids, he always laughs but he seems actually really open to it so I think we’ll have one more after this but then it will be a bit of a negotiation with any other children from there on out but yeah I think I could convince him to go for a fourth biological which will be his fifth.
[TERESA on mixing MOTHERHOOD and WORK]
Motherhood is definitely the most important [role], but I can really inject that passion that I have into other aspects of my life. That’s why I started Zen Mama, because I was just living and breathing motherhood and it was all I could think about and reflect upon and I wanted to find a community where I could share my experiences and talk to other mothers and have that connection where we can all gloat about our children or share commiserations or challenges! And then with acting, I’m starting to get a lot of roles where I’m a mother or becoming a mother and my children are always on set running around and I can really blend it all, which is so nice. My sons have both been in shows I’ve been in or movies. It’s been a really welcoming environment on these sets and I think there a real push in Hollywood to embrace the mother and so it means I get to do all of that.
[TERESA on SOCIAL MEDIA]
I love the direct contact via Instagram, I love feeling inspired and I’m always growing and learning. My main thing with Instagram is really trying to be as real as possible, and even if that means I’m getting silly comments, it still is me and I’m trying to just represent real. You have a choice with Instagram and it can be a really healthy, positive outlet, but it’s on you to make sure that you’re having a healthy relationship with it.
[TERESA on PERSONAL GROWTH]
Every experience you have, you’re learning something from it, even if it’s a subconscious lesson. And then there are milestones where we’re forced to dig deeper. People reflect back on big moments and think ‘what have I learnt’ and I’ve certainly had those moments in my life. I’ve has significant challenge, and your only option is to go in and to delve into the pain of what that challenge is. And it teaches you so much about who you are and resilience and there’s so much personal growth in pain.
[TERESA on WELCOMING A DAUGHTER]
There’s such a movement towards women’s rights and appreciating the strength and power of a female and realising how important we are for the world. I’m excited for my daughter to be welcomed into the climate where there is so much conversation about women and how wonderful they are. I’m sure she will be a little TOMBOY, I won’t go out and buy barbie dolls and girlie stuff, it’s just not me. Whatever she gravitates towards she will gravitate towards and she wont be defined by her gender. It will be interesting to see who this little being is, I just want to meet her.
[TERESA on BEAUTY]
I don’t adhere to the stock-standard stereotype of what beauty is. It goes far beyond the physical, it’s really about somebodies spirit. If someone is taking care of themselves it truly radiates from the outside.
[TERESA on attending CHANEL’s Métiers d’art collection in NEW YORK]
TP: It was really a dream come true. I could never afford Chanel growing up, but my stepmother always had some sort of beautiful Chanel piece on her, she was and is the most gorgeous woman. She embodies glamour and it was quite lovely going to New York and getting excited with my step-mum about going to a Chanel show, who was really giddy about it and couldn’t wait to see the photos. It was magical to sit with all the incredible women and watch the models come out and the clothes were so intricate and gorgeous and the craftsmanship that went into all of the clothes, was really mind blowing. it was special.
[TERESA on CHANEL Beauty]
I have every colour of nail polish they offer. Since I stopped my bad habit of nail biting, I’ve committed to wearing every shade under the sun. And I have my classic CHANEL No.5 fragrance, that I have in my drawer for special occasions.
Photographer: Zanita Whittington x TOMBOY Beauty
Art Direction, interview and words: Chloe Brinklow
Hair: Christopher Naselli
Makeup: Kate Lee