Sa­mara Weav­ing

FROM SUM­MER BAY TO HOLLYWOOD: MEET SA­MARA WEAV­ING – THE YOGI, ARTIST AND TEA JUNKIE LIGHT­ING UP A SCREEN NEAR YOU

Women's Health Australia - - APRIL 2018 - By Alex Davies Pho­tog­ra­phy by Steven Chee

Three bill­boards wouldn’t be enough to say how much we love this gal!

WWhen 26-year-old Sa­mara Weav­ing was cast as Pene­lope in ac­claimed film Three Bill­boards Out­side Ebbing, Mis­souri, she did a dou­ble take. “I feel like a fraud,” she laughs. “I see the list of names – Woody Har­rel­son, Frances Mcdor­mand, Peter Din­klage – and I’m like, ‘Surely they made a mis­take.’” A mis­take? No chance. This Ade­laidean has come a long way since her Home and Away days, where she played the char­ac­ter Indi Walker for four years. On Weav­ing’s CV now: in ad­di­tion to Three Bill­boards (which was nom­i­nated for seven Os­cars), you’ll see 2017 hor­ror flicks May­hem and The Babysit­ter, and a part in hit US TV com­edy SMILF, not to men­tion the role of Irma Leopold in the ea­gerly awaited re­make of Pic­nic at Hang­ing Rock, air­ing on Fox­tel in May. She may have act­ing in her blood (her un­cle is Hugo Weav­ing), but it’s clear this girl is mak­ing her own mark on Hollywood. We phoned now-la-based Weav­ing, who also stars in the 2018 cam­paign for iconic Aussie cloth­ing brand Bonds, to talk about fe­male em­pow­er­ment, bucket lists and how she stays zen on set.

LET’S START WITH FIT­NESS. WHAT’S YOUR AP­PROACH?

I don’t get ob­ses­sive about it; I just lis­ten to my body. I know that sounds cheesy but you can tell when your body needs a good work­out – it’s so good for your mind and well­be­ing. I just feel like a new­born baby af­ter a good work­out! I have sco­l­io­sis [a cur­va­ture of the spine] so my back can get quite sore. I don’t go to the gym or do heavy weights, and I can’t re­ally run any­more, but I find yoga and pi­lates re­ally help­ful.

HOW OF­TEN DO YOU HIT THE YOGA MAT?

When I’m not work­ing, maybe three times a week. I go to this place in LA called Modo Yoga [ed’s note: there are stu­dios in Syd­ney]. It’s not Bikram, but it’s still in a heated room. It’s got a re­ally good med­i­ta­tive as­pect to it, so that helps when I’m feel­ing stressed about a bad day. Or, if there’s a lot go­ing on, I can es­cape for an hour and set­tle my mind. Then when I’m work­ing, I don’t ex­er­cise as much; I try to rest as much as I can. I take a yoga mat with me be­cause you can do yoga any­where, like in a ho­tel room. It usu­ally ends up just sit­ting in a cor­ner gath­er­ing dust, to be hon­est. But at least I tried!

ARE YOU A FOODIE?

I try to be. But then at some restau­rants, I have to ask the waiter what ev­ery sec­ond word means on the menu. I grew up a lot in Asia so I love ra­men, Thai food and sushi. They re­mind me of liv­ing there.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY ON A PLATE...

I have a small break­fast of tea and fruit – or, if I’m on hol­i­day, my favourite is eggs Bene­dict – and then lunch around 12pm. If I’m at home, I make a big salad with Span­ish rice, rocket, parme­san, shal­lots, cap­sicum and some­times I put some chicken or what­ever in. But at work [on set] there are cater­ers, so it’s hard to re­sist the temp­ta­tion of the de­li­cious food! I’ll have a heav­ier meal for din­ner be­cause I have trou­ble sleep­ing and be­ing full ac­tu­ally helps me sleep. I don’t go on force­ful di­ets where you have to elim­i­nate every­thing, be­cause as soon as some­one says I can’t have some­thing, that’s all I want to eat.

WHAT ARE YOUR #1 EN­ERGY BOOST­ERS?

I don’t drink cof­fee, be­cause it makes me crash re­ally hard at

2pm or 3pm. I’m a big tea drinker – I’ve found the most amaz­ing vanilla chai – so I have three or four cups dur­ing the day and that keeps me go­ing. And wa­ter. I find that I don’t dip in en­ergy at all if I make the ef­fort to keep my hy­dra­tion up.

WHAT ELSE HELPS YOU FEEL AT THE TOP OF YOUR GAME?

I’m a ter­ri­ble per­son if I don’t have enough sleep. I be­come the kraken! And then I think it’s about manag­ing stress as much as pos­si­ble, try­ing to find joy in stress­ful sit­u­a­tions. When you’re in a state of mind where you are re­sist­ing work, or you re­ally don’t want to do some­thing, if you try to change your at­ti­tude it helps a lot with your en­ergy lev­els. Like, ‘I’m do­ing my taxes for four hours, so I’ll try to make a game out of it.’

YOU COME FROM AN ACT­ING DY­NASTY! DID THAT IN­SPIRE YOU?

It’s funny, I was talk­ing to my cousin re­cently – he’s an ac­tor too – and we both [were say­ing] how we chose the same paths with­out ever re­ally hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion [about it]. It must be a ge­netic thing. We’re al­ways aware of our fam­ily be­ing cre­ative, but it wasn’t like, ‘My un­cle is an amaz­ing ac­tor; I wanna be like that.’ I was liv­ing over­seas and was a bit too young when The Ma­trix

[which Hugo Weav­ing starred in] came out, so I didn’t re­alise what an iconic Aus­tralian ac­tor he was. I just started do­ing lit­tle plays and the­atre stuff. It’s a funny co­in­ci­dence.

THE PAST 12 MONTHS HAVE BEEN MAS­SIVE CA­REER-WISE. WAS THERE A HIGH­LIGHT?

Work­ing on Pic­nic at Hang­ing Rock, be­cause it’s such an iconic Aus­tralian tale. To be part of that whole world was a pinch-my­self mo­ment. Wear­ing the corsets, and do­ing so much re­search into how women be­haved and thought at that time, and how peo­ple treated them. And the crew and cast were just in­cred­i­ble. And then work­ing with Martin Mcdon­agh [who di­rected Three Bill­boards] was just the most sur­real thing in the world. I’ve been a fan since see­ing his plays in Lon­don, and Seven Psy­chopaths and In Bruges are two of my favourite films. I was like, ‘Re­ally?

Me? Are you sure you don’t need to call them again and dou­ble-check?’

WOULD YOU LIKE TO DI­RECT OR PRO­DUCE?

I think it’s one of those in­dus­tries where you can have goals for sure, but you can’t re­ally plan any­thing. Op­por­tu­ni­ties fall into your lap and you have to seize them. I’m in­ter­ested in di­rect­ing and pro­duc­ing, and I re­ally love writ­ing, so hope­fully I can ex­plore those av­enues a lit­tle bit down the way. At the mo­ment, I’m just tak­ing it day by day, be­cause as an ac­tor you just never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.

WHAT ELSE IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

I like projects that kind of ter­rify me, be­cause that means I’m go­ing to learn some­thing. I’d love to play some­one based on a real char­ac­ter, like Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe or Princess Diana. That would be in­cred­i­ble.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE ON SMILF

We’re do­ing sea­son two this year, which will be fan­tas­tic. It’s such a won­der­ful job to be a part of. I had never been on a set where the women were hold­ing the cam­eras, the women were di­rect­ing, the women were pro­duc­ing. There’s so much fe­male em­pow­er­ment on that set. I think I ac­tu­ally cried one day, be­cause nor­mally when you’re hav­ing a dis­cus­sion about a theme [in a show], you’re the only woman in the con­ver­sa­tion. But I looked up and ev­ery sin­gle per­son in that [par­tic­u­lar] con­ver­sa­tion was a woman. That had never hap­pened [to me] be­fore.

WHAT DOES BE­ING A STRONG WOMAN MEAN TO YOU?

I think a strong woman is some­one who isn’t afraid of their fem­i­nin­ity, and who uses that as a strength rather than try­ing to play against be­ing a woman. With the en­vi­ron­ment in LA and all over the world at the mo­ment, there are women who are re­ally speak­ing up and not putting up with bull­shit any­more... It’s re­ally brave and pow­er­ful and strong.

AUSSIES ARE TAK­ING HOLLYWOOD BY STORM. WHY IS THAT?

From what I’ve heard, Aus­tralians are just hard work­ers and they put the ef­fort in. Once you make the move over [to LA], you have to work twice as hard, be­cause es­sen­tially you’re start­ing from scratch all over again. I think you can re­ally see that Aus­tralian work ethic over here.

YOU’VE WORKED WITH BONDS SINCE 2012. WHAT’S IT LIKE TEAM­ING UP WITH SUCH A BIG BRAND?

It’s fan­tas­tic. They have a real fam­ily vibe go­ing on, and they’re so much fun to work with. I just love sup­port­ing an Aus­tralian brand. Bonds works with so many cool peo­ple – mod­els and artists and singers and dancers. It’s won­der­ful that they want to work with tal­ented peo­ple. It gives them a lot of edge.

DO YOU CON­SIDER LA HOME NOW?

I do, but I moved around so much as a kid – we’d move ev­ery two years – so I don’t think I have that much trou­ble mak­ing some­where that’s new and ex­cit­ing a home. Home is where your heart is.

WHO IN­SPIRES YOU?

My mum is just the strong­est, most pos­i­tive, heart­warm­ing woman. She’s my in­spi­ra­tion be­cause she can power through any prob­lem or is­sue. And my dad, too, be­cause he is so gen­tle and lov­ing, and he looks at every­thing through rose-coloured glasses. My par­ents and my sis­ter are my sup­port team, and I don’t re­ally know what I would do with­out them. They’re in Aus­tralia, which is so sad be­cause it’s so far away. Thank God for Face­time!

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