Phoebe Tonkin

on vampires, werewolves, and struggling with cooking.

by liza darwin

Phoebe Tonkin has been a CW mainstay ever since her role as Faye on the network's 2011 series The Secret Circle. Howevermore recently, the Australian actress won us over--and singlehandedly made a case for staying home on Thursday nights--with her role as the werewolf Hayley on The Vampire Diaries. After a major cliffhanger last season (ahem, that includes having a baby...), it's only fitting that Hayley lands a key part in the new spinoff The Originals. Before the show premieres tonight, we got the lowdown from Tonkin herself. She phoned in from Atlanta, where she was about to head to the DMV...because even werewolves need a drivers license.

Hey Phoebe, how's it going?

Hey! You caught me just as I'm about to go to the DMV. I think it's about time I finally get a Georgia license, so I have to take another driving test. Ugh. 

You've been in Georgia for a while now... how do you like filming in Atlanta?

I love it! I've been here for a year; when I was here before for Vampire Diaries, I would be constantly shooting and flying out, so this is the first time staying. There are amazing restaurants and so much to do. 

The Originals is a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries, so it must be nice since you already know some of the cast. 

The cast, as well as the fans! That's why we're lucky; there's a lot of familiarity already and we have a fanbase already built in. We're just an extension of that show, in the same world but with different characters.

When you have time off during filming, what do you like to do? 

I just started getting back into taking dance classes while I'm here, so that's been fun. I started cooking, too! I made it my new resolution--I've been buying cookbooks and making a big old mess in the kitchen, but I'm learning a lot. 

What's your best recipe? 

Well, I'm really bad! [Laughing] It turns out well about 60% of the time. Tonight I'm going to make turkey meatballs, I think. Don't judge me, but I recently bought Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, and it's so good; it's a nice balance and really easy, so even I can follow it. When I say I'm bad, I mean, like, I can't even make a smoothie. But Gwyneth helps me. 

You also have a website with Teresa Palmer, Your Zen Life. How did that come about?

Teresa and I got really close a few years ago and bonded over the same lifestyle and both being from Australia. It started out truly as a passion project--we put it out on Twitter and it grew from there. More people would write in, and we thought it would be a good platform for people to have a voice online. Teresa and I started out doing it all ourselves--we had to learn coding!--and now we have people who write in. In Australia, everyone's always outdoors and in the sunshine, and we just wanted to share that mentality. 

What's your personal secret to a zen life?

I think having a zen life is all about balance; I don't believe in extremes. Just surrounding yourself with good people and looking out for yourself. 

Tell us about your new movie, The Ever After.

It's a film that Teresa and her fiance [Mark Webber] wrote. It was really fun to do; I think Teresa and Mark are so incredible. It was written by two people who are very much in love, and I was blessed to be a part of it. 

What's the best part about working with your friends, whether it's on The Originals or in movies? 

I've been lucky to work with cool young people. I'm 24, I'm going through my own college experience with people who are all the same age and going through the same things together. We're learning and traveling and we don't have to navigate it alone. When you're on location, you just create special bonds. 

Finally, who's on your iPod right now? 

Hang on..let me get out my phone and see. Well, I always listen to Radiohead, but they've been coming back on my playlist a lot. I don't really keep track of what's new, but I love the Kanye album...oh! And Lorde. She's only 16, but she's cooler than I ever will be. 

The Originals premieres tonight at 9 on The CW.