Phoebe Tonkin is the best friend we all need in our squad. She doesn't try to be the ~cool~ girl; she's just herself. She loves Taylor Swift, she can sing along to every word of every song on "1989," she's a master at finding the perfect Insta filter and she's the only one who knows how truly devastating Marissa Cooper's death on "The O.C." was for you.
"My group of friends, we weren’t cool, and we would make really weird videos and run around the town," the 26-year-old Australian actress told MTV News. "I recently went back to Sydney, and I watched some of these videos that we made, we'd make 'O.C.' videos -- just really weird stuff. I thought I was Marissa Cooper."
"I was all about Marissa and her Keds and her little day dresses," Tonkin added. "When she died, I didn't have to go to school the next day. I literally got the day off because I was inconsolable. It was a really big moment in my life. My mom was like, 'You’re an embarrassment. You can't go to school today.'"
For Tonkin, who stars on The CW series "The Originals," acting wasn't just an escape, it was a chance to meet new people, and most importantly, find her tribe. "You're in such a small bubble in high school, and when you travel and meet other people, you realize that the people you gravitate towards, or are affected by, are the people who really don't care and are just themselves," she said. "You end up finding your friends, as opposed to who you have to be friendly with at school, and the people you end up finding shape who you are."
Tonkin is currently filming the third season of "The Originals" in Atlanta, and this season finds her character Hayley in a precarious position. Now that her wolf curse has been broken, she and Jackson (Nathan Parsons) have moved into an apartment where they can be close to her daughter Hope. But Hayley's transition back into the real world won't be easy, especially knowing that she already missed so much of Hope's young life.
"Hope is still so young, so everything for her is a first, and Hayley feels like she’s missed out on a lot of those firsts," she said. "Not only has she spent the last few months under this curse, but she also missed out on the beginning of Hope’s life, too. She's just missing all of these landmarks in her child’s life, like her first word. So she’s upset, and that's why she’s upset with Klaus. It’s not that he betrayed her, because he betrays everyone, it’s that he betrayed her in the worst possible way. The most important thing in Hayley’s life is her child."
While Tonkin can't relate to Hayley's fierce motherly instincts, she can relate to someone who's had to make tough choices for the sake of what's right. "I admire Hayley's selflessness," she said. "She doesn't give into her urges. I'd like to think I could be that strong."
And she's already showed her strength. When Hayley was introduced as a character in Season 4 of "The Vampire Diaries," she received major backlash from fans. After a one night stand with Klaus turned into a shocking pregnancy announcement, Hayley -- and Tonkin -- were slut shamed relentlessly online. Sure, she can laugh it off now, but she also acknowledged the blatant misogyny of it all.
"He killed Tyler’s mom on Christmas Eve!" she said. "And [Hayley] was the bad guy for giving birth to his child. Yet he was drowning people’s moms during the holidays."
That's one of the reasons it was so important for "The Originals" to have female characters who could build lasting female friendships without their male counterparts.
"The show is so male-dominated, so any time there’s a female-centric scene, I get excited," she said. "We have a lot of great female writers on the show, and Julie Plec is the creator, so they try to make sure that our female characters have more to do than just talk about men all day. When Cami and Hayley are in a scene together, it’s not all about Klaus. They’re talking about Hope and the city and whatever bad enemy has come to the city to wreak havoc. That's what I love about those scenes."
Although, working with her male co-stars Joseph Morgan (Klaus), Daniel Gillies (Elijah) and Charles Michael Davis (Marcel) -- who Tonkin called "her brothers" -- isn't so bad either. "I went to an all-girls school, so be around these very funny boys all day, it’s actually very nice."
Hayley's star-crossed relationship with Elijah will also be tested this season, in light of her marriage to Jackson. "I think Elijah would be OK if Jackson had stayed in the curse form," Tonkin joked.
"I don’t think there’s ever a world in which Hayley would cheat on Jackson," Tonkin added. "She had to marry Jackson for a very specific reason, for the good of her family and her pack and her child, so that doesn’t mean that because of that, her feelings for Elijah were completely eliminated. There’s still chemistry between the two of them, and it’s almost sad because in an ideal world, I think Hayley and Elijah would have at least explored that. But they just can’t."
However, that doesn't mean their spark is gone. "They know they can’t act on it -- they really can't act on it -- but those feelings are still there between the two of them," she said. "Hayley still has a lot of love for Jackson as well, it's just a different type of love, less heated."
Of course, Tonkin already has the perfect Swift song to describe Hayley and Elijah's tragic love. "'Wildest Dreams.' It's my absolute favorite song on the album, and I think right now, all Hayley and Elijah have are those memories of one another. Clearly, I've put way too much thought into this. There’s a lot of Taylor Swift fans on our show."