There are certain topics you’re likely to chat about with a Women’s Health cover star. Tasmanian devils isn’t one of them. And yet, here I am talking about those little marsupials with Elsa Pataky.
She’s telling me about a conservation project she and husband of 10 years – actor Chris Hemsworth – are supporting to reintroduce devils into mainland Australia for the first time in 3,000 years.
Her family (including daughter India, eight, and six-year-old twin boys Tristan and Sasha) have spent time with the groups involved, such as Aussie Ark and Global Wildlife Conservation.
“Having the opportunity to protect the animals and try to bring them back… it’s amazing and so interesting for the kids, too,” says Elsa.
It’s no secret Elsa is a huge animal lover, especially of horses (scroll her Instagram for an awesome video of her helping to deliver a foal). And, although the 44-year-old already knew the value of spending time with these majestic creatures for her mental wellbeing, being at home more over the past year has truly cemented it.
“When we were in lockdown, I could still ride, so it was [all about] my family, my husband and my horses,” she says. “It’s such a passion; kind of like meditation for me. I think it’s important for your mind to have something you enjoy – a hobby that’s just for you and your time.”
Whenever she’s not at home in Byron Bay – where she and Chris have lived since 2014 – the Madrid-born actor and Swisse ambassador seeks out nature and open space as much as possible.
She adores Western Australia (“The beaches and water are unbelievable”) as well as Lord Howe Island, where the family have been on holiday twice. “It looks like Jurassic Park, it’s so untouched. Limited people can go there and you can’t take cars; you just go on bicycles. It’s beautiful.”
She enjoys cities, but the great outdoors is her happy place. “Even now, coming to Sydney, it immediately gets me like…” she says, doing an exaggerated inhale. “Then I come back [home] and see the greenery, and I just feel so much better.”
To read our full feature with Elsa, make sure to pick up our April issue, on sale March 11.