Words by Nicholas Goodman
Phoebe Tonkin: The Original Matteau Muse
Phoebe Tonkin is the first. She is the absolute original Matteau Muse. She’s someone we’ve known forever and admired even longer, a woman who inspires us every time we see her. Even if she wasn’t a part of the family, she represents the kind of woman that we will always love.
Whether she’s filming in Melbourne, Montauk or LA, or front row at The Grand Palais as an ambassador of Chanel, Phoebe makes things come to life. She said 2018 completely changed her trajectory creatively. “Just emotionally things shifted for me. My work challenged and inspired me every day. It also made me realize the power in meaningful filmmaking, and appreciate the feeling of being a part of something collaborative.”
Despite the success, she is openly wrestling with what it means to be so visible and what she can do to contribute that visibility to the things that matter to her. “I don’t understand why it’s become such a fad to be a feminist, or an activist,” she said. “Shouldn’t we always have given a shit about the world and our place in it?”
Phoebe Tonkin wears the Petite Triangle Top in Black. Photo by Alexandra Nataf.
To survive as an actress you have to believe in something. What is obvious from the moment you meet Phoebe is that she is a woman who believes—in herself, in creating, in her voice and in the voices of those who’ve been marginalized in her industry. “Whether you are a CEO, a school principal, a director or a bus driver, there needs to be representation and diversity. It matters when people feel represented, when they feel like they belong in spaces and a culture that have shut them out for far too long.”
Her passion for what she does—everything she does—is evident in each of the projects she joins and every cause she takes up. When asked what concerns her the most at the moment, she doesn’t hesitate. “The issues that make my blood boil: economic inequality, Australia’s mistreatment of refugees, the nonsensical gun laws in America, and animal rights.” Even more to the point, Phoebe said: “I’m fed up with male entitlement. I don’t care if you feel like your jobs are jeopardized; you should be up for the challenge. This goes for every industry. There’s a new wave of women who are just as hungry, talented, and passionate as you are now.” We couldn’t agree more.
Phoebe has all the rare qualities that only come together, in a person, once in a generation. Her style, her beauty, her wit, her spirit bring life to her work, and bring something singular to Matteau.
Phoebe Tonkin wears the Plunge Top in Black. Photo by Alexandra Nataf.
Left to right: Christiane Spangsberg / Untitled from the "At Twelve” Series by Sally Mann / Phoebe wears the Long Sleeve Sun Tee / Richard Neutra / Surrounded Islands by Christo and Jeanne-Claude / Self Portrait, Providence, Rhode island by Francesca Woodman / Phoebe wears the Long Sleeve Split Dress / Untitled from the "At Twelve” Series by Sally Mann / Untitled, Rome, 1977–1978 by Francesca Woodman / Phoebe in California / Phoebe wears the Petite Triangle Top and High Waist Brief / Phoebe in Capri in the Petite Triangle Top