“IT’S AMAZ­ING HERE”

SHE’S MAR­RIED TO THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE – BUT IN HER NA­TIVE SPAIN, ELSA PATAKY IS KNOWN AS THE SEXIEST WOMAN ALIVE. NOW IT IS AUSTRALIA’S TURN TO GET TO KNOW MRS CHRIS HEMSWORTH

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy PIERRE TOUS­SAINT Styling MA­RINA AFONINA Cre­ative Di­rec­tion ALEKSANDRA BEARE Words SHEL­LEY SED­DON

Span­ish ac­tor Elsa Pataky opens up to Stel­lar about mar­ried life with Chris Hemsworth and why she’s thrilled to call Australia home.

The first thing you no­tice about Elsa Pataky is that she’s tiny – at just 161cm, she’s a ver­i­ta­ble pixie. The sec­ond thing you no­tice is that body – a ripped physique with an In­sta­gram-wor­thy behind perky enough to ri­val Kylie Minogue’s. The third is her Span­ish ac­cent – a dead give­away that even though she’s called Australia home for the past two years, the 40-year-old is not orig­i­nally from around these parts.

Even so, on the day of Stel­lar’s shoot with Pataky – her first cover with a ma­jor Aus­tralian magazine, co­in­cid­ing with her role as am­bas­sador of the new Botan­i­cals hair range by L’oréal Paris – she looks ev­ery bit the lo­cal. On lo­ca­tion in her adopted home­town of By­ron Bay in northern New South Wales, Pataky is not the least bit phased by the tor­ren­tial rain pound­ing the coast. With none of the usual han­dlers or en­tourage in tow, she chats easily with the crew, and com­pares notes about mak­ing meals for small kids.

Mrs Chris Hemsworth is not your typ­i­cal celebrity. She speaks five lan­guages (Span­ish, English, French, Ro­ma­nian and Ital­ian) and is an ac­tor, model, singer, film pro­ducer and fitness guru (her health and life­style book reached num­ber one in Spain and she’s now writ­ing an­other).

But the role she cher­ishes most is that of mother to her three young chil­dren – In­dia, four, and twins Tris­tan and Sasha, three. Hav­ing pre­vi­ously lived in the US (in a Mal­ibu home once owned by Paul Ho­gan), Hemsworth and Pataky de­cided they wanted to raise their chil­dren in Australia. In 2014, they set­tled on a house on a lush se­cluded moun­tain just out­side of By­ron Bay for a re­ported $7.2 mil­lion.

“I think it’s the most amaz­ing place in the world,” Pataky says of her Aus­tralian home. “Chris and I, we knew we couldn’t live any­more in LA. My dream al­ways was to have a big prop­erty with an­i­mals and horses and my kids bare­foot. My kids are al­most naked all the time. this is a spe­cial place. And of course, Chris is a surfer so we needed the ocean. So it had a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing for both of us.”

The two orig­i­nally made their re­spec­tive ways to Hol­ly­wood to chase dreams of star­dom. While her fu­ture hus­band’s tra­jec­tory from Home And Away to box-of­fice su­per­hero is well known, Pataky stud­ied jour­nal­ism at CEU San Pablo Univer­sity in Madrid, hop­ing to one day be a war cor­re­spon­dent, be­fore tak­ing up act­ing classes and work­ing steadily in Spain, France and Italy.

At 26, she made the move to Hol­ly­wood and soon after scored a role in Snakes On A Plane with Sa­muel L. Jack­son.

“A big movie, a small role. I had just landed in LA,” she ex­plains. “Then I also had the chance with the Fast & Fu­ri­ous films, which is such a big fran­chise. Ev­ery­thing, like a dream for me, sud­denly hap­pened.”

Pataky was work­ing with a dialect coach to nail the Amer­i­can ac­cent, when her teacher kept telling her about an­other stu­dent, from Australia, who was seven years her ju­nior.

“She was de­ter­mined for us to meet,” Pataky tells Stel­lar. “We had a blind date be­cause she was talk­ing all the time to him about me and me about him. We de­cided to meet each other be­cause she wasn’t go­ing to leave us alone! Some­thing told her we would be good to­gether.”

What fol­lowed was a whirl­wind ro­mance and a five-month en­gage­ment. The pair tied the knot in 2010 dur­ing a Christ­mas fam­ily hol­i­day in Sumba, In­done­sia, just 10 months after they met.

“It was planned [as] a fam­ily trip be­cause we wanted our fam­i­lies to meet as they didn’t know each other,” she says. “It was kind of some­thing we de­cided in the mo­ment. I hate to plan things. I’m not a plan­ning per­son; I like to im­pro­vise.”

Al­though the wed­ding was some­what im­promptu, the bride still man­aged to find a gown. “We knew a cou­ple weeks be­fore,” she says. “[Gior­gio] Ar­mani is a friend of mine, so I called and I told him I was getting mar­ried and said, ‘Could you do some­thing for me?’”

As one of the hottest stars in Hol­ly­wood, Hemsworth, now 33, could have easily fol­lowed in the foot­steps of Leonardo Dicaprio and had a re­volv­ing door of Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret An­gels at his dis­posal. In­stead, he chose a path sim­i­lar to Hugh Jack­man and be­came a de­voted hus­band and hands-on dad.

The cou­ple reg­u­larly post pic­tures of their adorable fam­ily to their com­bined 10.6 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers. The photos show­case their idyl­lic life, but they’ve also cho­sen to par­tially hide their chil­dren’s faces to pro­tect their pri­vacy.

“I think it’s im­por­tant to have that con­tact with your peo­ple and your fans,” Pataky says. “A lot of the in­for­ma­tion that comes out in gos­sip mag­a­zines is ac­tu­ally not true. It’s all in­vented. When peo­ple fol­low you, they want to know re­ally what is go­ing on. But it can be our de­ci­sion how much we give.”

The cou­ple used the first-per­son power of so­cial me­dia to shut down ru­mours last year when a magazine re­ported the pair was split­ting. Hemsworth posted a pic­ture of him and Pataky say­ing, “Look­ing for a new wife ac­cord­ing to Woman’s Day and other mis­lead­ing out­lets! Honey you still love me right?! #thanks­forthe­headsup.”

“That was re­ally good,” Pataky says ad­mir­ingly of the good-hu­moured way her hus­band shut down that par­tic­u­lar ru­mour. “He’s very good with a joke and ev­ery­body loved it. And it made a state­ment about the silly things they say.”

Be­ing mar­ried to Hemsworth, who has been named the “Sexiest Man Alive”, pre­sum­ably brings with it some pres­sure. But Pataky has a few hon­ours of her own, and has re­peat­edly taken out the ti­tle of Most Beau­ti­ful/sexiest Woman in Spain.

“It’s funny,” she says. “It’s kind of a joke with us. He’s like, ‘I’m the Sexiest Man Alive,’ and I’m like, ‘I was the sexiest in Spain for years! You have just one [ti­tle]!’”

In fact, the pe­tite Pataky pos­te­rior is par­tic­u­larly fa­mous in her home­land, where pos­ing to high­light your back­side is known as “do­ing a Pataky”.

“At the photo calls they’re al­ways [fo­cus­ing] on the front, it’s so bor­ing,” she says. “So I kept turn­ing my­self be­cause the back [of the dress] is more beau­ti­ful than the front. Of course they wanted to see your face, so I would start turn­ing my head. It be­came my sig­na­ture pose. Ev­ery­one is like, ‘Do the Pataky!’

“Even the Queen of Spain, one day she was in a photo call and the pho­tog­ra­phers

were like, ‘Turn around or do some­thing,’ and she was like, ‘What do you want me to do? A Pataky?’ That’s a funny story.”

Over the years she has also dated some of Hol­ly­wood’s most el­i­gi­ble men, in­clud­ing Os­car-win­ner Adrien Brody, who pre­sented her with a 19th-cen­tury es­tate in up­state New York for her 31st birth­day. But when asked now about be­ing queen of her own cas­tle, Pataky de­murs. “That’s in the past,” she in­sists.

And what about dat­ing Olivier Martinez, who also hap­pens to be the ex of her dopplegänger Kylie Minogue?

She laughs and waves her hands dis­mis­sively, “That’s also in the past!”

After all, there’s prob­a­bly no rea­son to dwell on the past when the present in­cludes a de­voted su­per­star hus­band and three an­gelic-look­ing chil­dren.

The cou­ple are cur­rently re­mod­elling their By­ron Bay prop­erty to cre­ate their very own pri­vate en­clave, and have sur­rounded them­selves with a tight-knit clan com­prised of fam­ily and friends.

While most of the fam­ily has fol­lowed in her bilin­gual foot­steps, there is one mem­ber of the house­hold who has been a lit­tle slow on the up­take.

“[Chris] has been a lit­tle bit lazy about it,” she mer­rily re­veals. “Bernard Fan­ning, he is here, and he is mar­ried to a Span­ish girl and he speaks per­fect Span­ish. We’re try­ing to push [Chris] to do it. I’m de­ter­mined to take him to Spain and force him to speak Span­ish.”

Even though it’s her mar­riage to Hemsworth that has made Pataky fa­mous here, Fan­ning’s wife, An­drea Moreno, ex­plains it’s very much re­versed in her home­land. “Elsa in Spain is like Cate Blanchett in Australia. Pretty much ev­ery­body, no mat­ter what age group, knows who Elsa is. The Span­ish love Chris be­cause of his hu­mil­ity and good hu­mour, and dedication to his fam­ily and Elsa. And his movies, of course,” she adds.

Pataky and her fu­ture sis­ter-in-law, Mi­ley Cyrus, even de­cided to get match­ing tat­toos of a wave per­son­ally de­signed by Kelly Slater while Cyrus was vis­it­ing fi­ancé Liam Hemsworth in By­ron Bay last year.

While Cyrus has made headlines for her award-show an­tics and risqué fash­ion choices in re­cent years, it’s a per­sona that could not be fur­ther from Pataky’s fam­ily-cen­tric pub­lic im­age. Even so, the two ap­pear to be great mates and are reg­u­larly pic­tured on In­sta­gram to­gether.

Al­though Pataky has ap­peared in more than 30 films, in­clud­ing four in­stal­ments of the Fast & Fu­ri­ous fran­chise, she’s now con­cen­trat­ing on projects that keep her closer to home. Her lat­est is with L’oréal Paris as am­bas­sador for its new pre­mium Botan­i­cals hair range, with the brand cit­ing her nat­u­ral, fresh and down-toearth na­ture as be­ing the per­fect match.

“It’s re­ally in line with my val­ues, that’s why I wanted to be a part of it,” Pataky says ahead of the Botan­i­cals launch in Syd­ney this week. “They use sus­tain­ably grown in­gre­di­ents and the pack­ag­ing is re­cy­clable. It’s im­por­tant to start notic­ing things like that. They use non-toxic, re­ally nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents like gera­nium and co­rian­der.”

The am­bas­sador role is just the be­gin­ning of a grow­ing emer­gence into the spot­light for Pataky, and not just on the ba­sis of her mar­i­tal sta­tus. “We live in Australia and I want to do things here and start work­ing, and for peo­ple to know me a lit­tle bit more than as Chris’s wife. Not as much [work] as I used to do, be­cause I re­ally am 100 per cent a mum and that’s what I en­joy do­ing. So I’m just do­ing lit­tle things – we’ll take turns.

“I want to be here as much as I can,” she con­cludes. “This is home. This is where I feel happy.”

“I want to do things here and for peo­ple to know me more than as Chris’s wife”

8

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS (from top) Elsa Pataky with her fam­ily in By­ron; in an In­sta­gram post with hus­band Chris Hemsworth; “do­ing a Pataky” at this year’s Golden Globes; feel­ing the love from her fans in Spain.

ELSA WEARS Cé­line coat, david­jones. com.au; Al­bus Lu­men swim top, al­bus­lu­men. com; Prada san­dals, (02) 9223 1688

HAIR Brad Mullins us­ing Botan­i­cals by L’oréal Paris MAKE-UP Filom­ena Na­toli

Shot on lo­ca­tion in the Deluxe Pent­house at Rae’s on Wat­e­gos, 6– 8 Marine Pde, By­ron Bay, raes.com.au

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