The Aussie star of The CW’s The Originals is a hip-hop head’s dream girl come true.
This feature appears in Complex's October/November 2013 issue.
On The CW’s new fantasy/drama The Originals, a New Orleans-set spin-off of the hugely popular The Vampire Diaries, 23-year-old Australian beauty Phoebe Tonkin plays a pregnant werewolf whose baby daddy may or may not be a vampire. In real life, the former model has her own startling secret: She’s a serious hip-hop head who prefers that her men be monsters on the microphone. Even Count Dracula better step up his rap game, because with this sexy beast there’s no biting or sucking allowed.
The Vampire Diaries has a strong young female fan base. But do you get a lot of male fans?
The CW definitely isn’t shy about getting you in your underwear. I’ve had a few scenes in mine. I get a lot of male fans on Twitter—it’s not just young high-school girls. I do hope, though, that guys watch it for reasons other than ogling girls in their underwear.
Are you the type of woman who’ll knock back a few beers with guys?
I do things in moderation, so when I’m hanging out with friends, I like to have a nice bottle of red wine—well, not a bottle. [Laughs.] A few glasses, rather. A full bottle to myself would make for a night filled with bad decisions.
Aside from a bottle of red, what’s a night out with Phoebe Tonkin like?
I enjoy staying home with friends more than going out. The other night, for example, my girlfriends and I stayed in listening to some ’90s rap—my favorite kind. We were in the Hamptons and made it an all-Biggie weekend, all of his albums on repeat. I loved it.
What do you love about ’90s rap?
It’s not nostalgia, because I was too young to listen to any of it when it first came out. The music was grittier than it is now. I want the feuds to come back—there aren’t enough rap feuds anymore. I want a serious rap-off.
Who do you want to see in that rap-off?
I’ve thought a lot about this—Lil Wayne and Kanye West.
Who would win?
I think Lil Wayne would. He’s such a badass. Kanye is brilliant, but some of Lil Wayne’s lyrics make me say, Damn! [Laughs.] They’re scary. I’m into the lyrical side of rap. I listen to some old Eminem songs and think, Wow, he’s a genius. He’s one of the greatest poets of our time. Even when he’s out of control, like on “Cold Wind Blows,” it’s incredible. The Kendrick Lamar album is really good, too. His lyrics are great.
You realize that you’re making every male hip-hop fan’s heart melt right now, right?
[Laughs.] It must surprise people that I’m such a rap fan, but it’s true. Sometimes, just staying in, putting on some rap music, and letting loose is all I need to have a good time.
Sounds perfect. We’ll bring the wine.
(STYLING) Caley Lawson. (HAIR) christine Symonds. (MAKEUP) George Eisell. (CLOTHING) opening page and following page: jeans by j brand / tank by helmut lang / right-hand ring by melinda maria / left-hand rings by Jemma Sands and Dana Faith