I’d always dreamed of living in a place like this.
Jun 07, 2022 5:33am
It’s a decidedly dreary day in Byron Bay when Elsa Pataky unveils her skincare brand to the press. Waiting amongst the hilltops in a sprawling estate known as The Range, she appears in a brown knitted jumper and camel-coloured pants, looking breathtakingly serene. Maybe it’s the excitement in the air or Pataky’s radiant skin, but once inside, the sound of the battering rain and howling wind fade away almost instantly.
“Nice to meet you,” she says with an outstretched hand, before taking a seat on the couch.
“The whole brand has everything local from Byron,” she explained. “It started with that, after discovering the amazing ingredients that we have here.”
Those ingredients include the Australian superfruit kakadu plum, macadamia seed oil, jojoba and seabuckthorn. Ultimately, it was the love of these powerful botanicals, and a love of Byron itself, that inspired the model and actress to take the next step in her career, following a multitude of other celebrities into the multi billion dollar skincare industry.
After all, this is the land where she married the love of her life, birthed three children and established a family home, so understandably, it’s of great significance to her.
Along with adopting a circular sustainability model (meaning that all product packaging has been made from already recycled materials), Purely Byron is made within a female-run, local manufacturing facility.
While sustainability and luxury are a big part of the brand, for Pataky, it’s the perfect way for people to experience the magic of Byron, while also giving back to the local community she now proudly calls home. You don’t have to live in Byron to enjoy the powerful botanicals and earthly aesthetic – she’s bringing it to you in the form of clays and balms.
Between readying the brand for launch and working on a newly-released film, many would assume that her family time has been reduced to zero. It’s not often that she gets to work alongside husband Chris Hemsworth, particularly when they’re both Hollywood heavyweights, often with conflicting schedules and raising three children under the age of ten. It was a nice opportunity then, when her latest action-movie, interceptorsbrought him on as an executive producer.
“Working with him is so great,” she said with a smile.
“He wanted to be a producer because he was really excited about this project and he was really excited for me to do it. I put aside a bit of my passion and work to be with the kids, but he knows how passionate I am about my career so he was just helping in every way to make it happen.”
Elsa describes the juggling of both careers as “difficult” and “complicated” at times, though she’s often asked how she juggles family life with being a working mum, she’s quick to point out that almost every family faces the same issues, regardless of their occupations. For Elsa, being separated from her children is a chance for them to build resilience, a skill which she says will set them up for life. And, not only is she talking the talk when it comes to instilling her sense of independence, but she’s walking the walk, particularly for her daughter, by proving that women are more than capable of being fiercely strong, just as much as men.
“I’ve been really fond of action movies for a long time,” she explained. “My dad used to love those movies and I’d watch Indiana Jones because I wanted to be him.”
Yes, while many young girls grew up dreaming of being Jones’ love interest, Elsa wanted to don the boots and hat, crack the whip and actually be him.
“I’ve always challenged every boy that I’ve been around, I just wanted to beat them at everything, so I’ve had that in me from a young age,” she said, of her desire to take on a historically masculine role.
She makes it look easy, but the actress explained that it took four months of intense physical training and the memorization of 800 separate fight moves to bring the character of JJ Collins to life.
“There’s a lot of fights in the movie and some of them are against big guys, but it’s a good example for women and girls, especially for my daughter, that you can do it,” she said. “You might not have the strength of a man, but you can be quicker and smarter.”
When she’s not starring as an army captain or co-founding a skincare company, Pataky is happy to be at home in the peaceful surrounds of Byron, spending time with her children.
“I love Madrid and it’s my hometown, but I’ve lived there enough and I had always dreamed of living in a place like this,” she said, gesturing outside to the expansive greenery.
“Here we can ride horses and have our little animal farm, and that’s what I wanted to give to my kids.”
If you’re familiar with Pataky’s hobbies, you’d know that she’s a big horse fan (but far from your typical ‘horse girl’). She’s previously spoken about her experience of bringing a foal into the world in the middle of the night on their family farm. When asked about this life-changing memory, her eyes immediately light up, before she shares the story with a captivated audience.
“That was one of the experiences I always dreamed of having because I’m so passionate about horses,” she said, beaming. “To give that moment to my kids was so special.
“I woke them up in the middle of the night and they were there watching while I was helping to pull it [the foal] out.”
And, if you’ve found yourself wondering how exactly she pulled it off, she clarified that she’s seen it happen a few times before, but was fortunate to have a friend with her who knew the ropes, too.
“We have that mair at home now, so my daughter has been seeing her since she was born. We named her ‘Acoa’ which means spirit.”
It’s a word that Pataky seems to have an affinity for. The spirit of Byron, the spirit of the place she gladly calls home, where her children can roam free with the animals and where she and Hemsworth can escape the tiring grind of Hollywood life. It’s this spirit that propels her forward, during this venture and whichever one crosses her path next.