Laura Vandervoort is a versatile actress who not only crosses over genres, but also changes from character to character, flawlessly embracing the essence of every role she plays. From being listed in Maxim’s Top 100 hottest women two years in a row, to recently spearheading a national PETA campaign, to starring in the upcoming summer 2012 film “Ted” alongside Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, Laura has been having an amazing year full of momentum. Laura recently sat down with BELLA to talk beauty, acting and giving back.
How do you define beauty?
In my mind beauty is someone who can captivate a room, yet be ever so humble while doing so. Someone with an old soul, a youthful playfulness when at play, who has depth and compassion in their heart for all creatures and ultimately someone who has inner strength in moments of weakness.
How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?
I try to work out often at the gym, spinning and now pilates. Getting outside is very important to me as a Canadian. I love going up north when home and hiking. So here in LA, I try to get out and hike. I try to get away from the city whenever possible. Eating well and trying to always find enjoyment in life every day is great for your soul and ultimately your health. Surrounding yourself with good friends and even animals can be so joyful for me, and in turn, I’m sure it benefits my health.
Can you tell us about your new movie “Ted”?
“Ted” is a film I had the opportunity to work on in Boston. It stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. The film is directed by the amazingly talented Seth Macfarlane. The movie centers around a young boy (Wahlberg) who wishes his teddy bear would come to life. It does and they eventually grow up. It’s about the two and their friendship, which gets in the way of Mark’s relationship with Mila. It’s really funny and smart! I loved working on it. I play Tanya, Mark’s co-worker at a car rental place. Tanya is sort of one of the guys at ‘Liberty Car Rental’ and rolls with the male dominant humor but also finds herself often having heart to hearts with Mark about his relationship.
Did you always know you wanted to be an actress?
I didn’t always know. I started working in Canada when I was about 13 years old. It was sort of something that hit me. My world at that point had been school and martial arts. I saw a movie that inspired me and so I asked my parents if I could try acting out. I started with commercials and background work and eventually found myself working on several kids shows. I worked at it and took classes. It was something new to me… displaying and exploring emotions. I’d always been so strict in karate and this was very freeing. Karate was a great discipline for me though, which is why I took acting so seriously.
What has been your favorite role to date and why?
Wow, hard to truly say. I mean I love every job for a different personal reason. Obviously “Smallville” and “V” were special for me as they were series I was a part of for a few years. I loved the characters I played- and the casts. However, working on “Ted” was pretty special for me for many reasons. One in particular being Mark Wahlberg whom I had a crush on growing up. I loved ‘Fear.’ So just working with him was amazing. I’m surprised I got through it to be honest and proud to even say I worked with him!
How did you feel when you were named to Maxim’s Top 100?
To be honest, it was kind of cool to hear as crazy as I thought it was. I also think a lot of it had to do with the roles I was playing at the time on “V” and “Smallville”… especially “Smallville”. Playing such a strong, sexy comic book heroine and American icon just makes anyone look that much cooler! I felt bad-ass and loved playing Kara. In addition, playing two aliens with a strong sexuality back to back, seemed to have a lot to do with being on their list two years in a row.
Who are your role models?
I have a few that I’ve always looked up to in terms of their talents, their work choices and their image in the industry and public. Meryl Streep is an obvious one. She is just above and beyond any woman in the industry. She has managed to have an incredible and long-lasting career and has maintained a family life and her privacy. She plays strong intelligent women as well as women who are flawed. She is just incredible. In addition, a little closer to home, I’ve always admired Rachel McAdams. Not only is she Canadian, but she has made such a solid image for herself around the world as a serious actress who everyone can’t help but love. Similar to Meryl, she chooses roles that reflect many different types of women and always portrays them incredibly! She too, has maintained her personal life and is very well-respected. Both of these women amongst many more inspire me.
What made you decide to partner with PETA?
I have always been an animal lover and protector. There’s something about animals that I feel connected to and comfortable with. They put me at ease and I want to give the ones that need a voice. PETA was something that came along while I was on ‘V’ playing a ‘lizard alien princess’ [laughs]. It worked well with what I was wanting to do, which was fight for animals, do something, use whatever platform I had to help. We went with the ‘exotic skins’ campaign as it went with “V” saving the (not cute and fuzzy) animals like lizards,snakes, alligators, etc. It was an opportunity to lend a hand that I had been wanting to lend a voice.
What are your hobbies and what do you enjoy most in your free time?
I love to stay active and work out. I also really enjoy photography. When I’m home in Canada these two things go hand in hand. I often go up north and walk around the woods taking photos of wildlife and plants… anything I find interesting. I can do this for hours. I’m also a lover of baking… often if I find I don’t know what to do with myself I’ll bake! I find it therapeutic!
If you could offer advice to all the young girls out there who look up to you, what would it be?
It would have to be to have confidence in yourself, your morals and knowing who you are. Often in the world (not just this industry), women seem to lose themselves with all the noise and pressure out there! We are bombarded with who people want us to be or expect us to be. It is so easy to forget what your values were growing up and where you came from. We are our worst enemy… so I’ve learned to befriend that enemy and make some sort of peace. It’s never easy and you’re never done… but the goal is to at least be easier on ourselves and know who we are and live life for us!
Are there any causes or charitable foundations that you work with? If so, how can BELLA help in their own way?
Yes, I recently starting working with an amazing place called “Gentle Barn.” They are in California and do some incredible things both with animals and with children. Gentle Barn rescues, rehabilitates and gives sanctuary to abused and neglected animals. They have children who have also faced hardships that come in and through affection and interaction the children and animals begin to emotionally heal. You can go to their website and adopt an animal or donate! Get the word out as they are receiving more animals than ever and need support to expand their habitats: www.gentlebarn.org or follow them on Twitter @GentleBarn.