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a word from teresa

My magic boy. You’re 5 today. My bright, sensitive, thoughtful, worldly lover of nature and animals, carer of people and puggles, brave adventurer, snuggliest gigglepot and inquisitive…

Yesterday from Teresa Palmer's Twitter

"I have to not take myself too seriously and I have to realise that if it is meant to be, it will be."
Teresa Palmer is happy alone

Teresa Palmer has an entourage. Not the usual A-list scrum of security guards, macrobiotic chefs and assistants, but her two dogs, shih tzu Luna Palmer and labrador-cross Kohda Bear. As they run around a suite in a Beverly Hills hotel, the pups are followed by a barefoot Palmer, who’s searching for breakfast. Dressed in a figure-hugging, nude-colour lace dress, but having kicked off her 15cm heels – “They’re so painful but they look fantastic” – she looks happy and relaxed as she helps herself to fruit and a sausage (which finds its way into Kohda’s mouth).

A few minutes later, comfortably settled and with the dogs nearby, the Adelaide native admits she hates going anywhere without them. Growing up on a wildlife sanctuary may have had something to do with that.

“I had pet kangaroos growing up in the Adelaide Hills,” she recalls. “My dad decided about 15 years ago that he wanted to have his own private sanctuary for endangered Australian species, so we have hundreds of potoroos and bettongs.”

Since moving to LA in 2007, the Aussie actor’s career has taken off in a way that must have been unthinkable when she was a teenager working at a Cotton On outlet in her local shopping mall.

Her movie credits include The Grudge 2, I Am Number Four, Wish You Were Here and Terrence Malick’s upcoming – and highly anticipated – Knight of Cups. However, the 26-year-old hasn’t let the success go to her head: “It’s been an interesting journey. But the time has gone so fast, I don’t think I’ve had a moment to stop and understand what’s happened to me in the past six years.”

Her new movie, a zombie rom-com called Warm Bodies which is based on the book of the same name, is about to hit cinemas, so the workload isn’t about to get any lighter. She stars opposite John Malkovich and X-Men’s Nicholas Hoult (best known as the nerdy kid who befriends Hugh Grant in 2002 film About a Boy).

While filming was a challenge, Palmer says it was also one of the most enjoyable work experiences of her life. “We were in Montreal, shooting at an abandoned airport for three months, and it was surreal because we were walking around all day in costume. The extras were dressed as zombies in head-to-toe make-up. I remember being in line for lunch next to some of them, and they really got into it, groaning and grunting. It was hilarious.”

Palmer plays kind-hearted Julie, who falls for Hoult’s character R, a zombie who feels emotions. “Nicholas was wonderful; he totally epitomises the spirit of R – he has a warm heart and an endearing soul, like a gentleman who’s been brought up very well.

“His role is challenging because he doesn’t have the liberty of being able to express emotions,” she explains. “It’s all done through his eyes and body language, and he does it so beautifully. He has these amazing, expressive eyes. As an actor, it’s scary thinking you’re going to have to work with someone who doesn’t talk much. I thought it would be like acting opposite a green screen, but it wasn’t.”

Palmer admits she had to work on her American accent for the role. “When I first arrived in LA, I worked with a dialect coach pretty extensively for the first four months,” she recalls. “I was laying the groundwork for American sounds in general. I still need fine-tuning, though. It’s the American ‘O’ sounds that are the problem for Aussies.”

That doesn’t stop her from hanging out with her fellow countrymen/women, such as The Vampire Diaries actor Phoebe Tonkin. “I didn’t go out of my way to make sure I had an Aussie network, we just flock together,” Palmer adds. “It’s organic but it’s important to me; it makes me feel less homesick.”

So is she well stocked with Vegemite and Burger Rings? “Neither. I’m very Australian but I’m a health nut; Vegemite has too much sodium, but I grew up eating Burger Rings. I’d have them every day if I could. Those and Caramello Koalas! Yummy.”

Since her split from actor Scott Speedman last year, the actor has been embracing her independence. “I’m happy being my own woman at the moment. I feel as if I’m in the most amazing place I’ve been in my life,” she explains. “It’s liberating. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve been alone and I’m enjoying it. I’m doing things that are right for me.”

One such thing is an online wellness scrapbook called, which she recently launched with Tonkin. “This is a big, transitional period in my life, and I have to do things I feel passionate about,” she says. “The website has taken a lot of my energy but it means so much to me to give back.

“The same with work – if a script lands on my desk and it’s the most amazing director in the world, but I don’t feel connected to him or his work or script, then I won’t do it. That’s new for me,” she adds. “In the past I’ve done films based on business choices and advice from my agents and managers; now I hope to mix up studio films and independents.”

Palmer, who’s previously dated actor Topher Grace and British bad-boy Russell Brand, credits this empowered attitude to being single. “I’ve faced a lot of adversity, disappointments and let-downs in the past year, but I think in darkness is where you grow. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom and feel very alone in order to create space for beautiful things to come into your life.”

The actor heads home as often as she can and sees her mum, Paula, every few months, keeping in touch via Skype between visits. “That’s saved my life. I’ve cooked while my mum is eating and watching TV [at the other end]. It’s a nice way to share the time.”

Palmer clearly misses home but, for now, LA’s a good substitute. “I love the jovial way of Australians: the summer lifestyle, footy, barbecues in the backyard, sunsets and walking down to the beach with the dogs. I miss that so much. There’s a similar vibe in LA, so it’s not too far removed but, you know, if I could just teleport between here and Australia whenever I wanted, my life would be complete!”

And no doubt, her canine entourage would teleport here, too.