New Zealand Woman’s Weekly article

Kiwi actress Thomasin McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt’s daring new roles

Photography by Victoria Birkinshaw

Thomasin McKenzie is used to walking red carpets in glamorous gowns and starring beside Hollywood greats like Scarlett Johansson, but it’s the simple pleasures in life, like lemony chickpea soup, that keep the young Kiwi actress happy.

Chatting from her family home in Wellington, beside her acting coach mother Miranda Harcourt, 58, Thomasin credits home-made comfort food for getting her through some big days on set.

“For a while, it’s all I wanted, lemony chickpea soup,” grins the blue-eyed beauty, 20, who wowed audiences with her performance as Jewish teen Elsa Korr on Taika Waititi’s satire film Jojo Rabbit.

Soup, the mother-daughter duo agree, really is good for the soul. “As an actress, you tell stories, whether they’re harrowing or comedic, and you’re constantly giving out all this emotion, so at the end of the day, I’m a bit like a zombie,” Thomasin admits. “Coming home to a favourite dinner and support system around me who understand is all I really want.”

Over the past couple of years, former Gloss actress Miranda and her film-maker husband Stuart McKenzie have accompanied their daughter to London, continuing their own projects and exploring art galleries while Thomasin worked.

“We’d home-school our youngest daughter Davida, who is 14 now, and then it’d be like, ‘What can we do for Thomasin when she gets home?’ Stuart is so good at making lemony chickpea soup. We’ve used the recipe so much, the photograph in the book has completely faded!” Miranda laughs.

“After a day on set, Thomasin just needs calm time, the food that makes her feel healthy and happy, and to go to bed.”

Thomasin, smiling, throws a spanner in the works by admitting that she’s getting a little sick of the family favourite.

“What?!” Miranda gasps, her eyes widening behind her black-rimmed glasses. “No!” It’s an overcast day as the Weekly chats with the talented pair from the house they’ve been in for 18 years, where Miranda’s actress mother, Dame Kate Harcourt, 94, lives downstairs.

Lights from streets as far as Porirua, a half hour’s drive from their home, twinkle below the lounge window, which overlooks the ocean.

Thanks to Stuart’s love of art, works fill every wall. A statement piece made from an old painted black filing cabinet, by award-winning Kiwi multi-media artist Merylyn Tweedie, greets guests at the front door.

“We got it when Thomasin and Peter [now 22 and a law student] were babies,” says Miranda. “One day I went outside to look for our car, which had my library books in it, and Stuart told me he’d swapped the car for this sculpture. Well, those books never went back!”

While art talk is fun for Miranda and her daughter, who both attended Wellington’s private Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, there’s something closer to Thomasin’s heart she wants to chat about.

Photography by Victoria Birkinshaw

Since the end of last year, the Leave No Trace star has been an ambassador for So They Can, a New Zealand initiative that provides education to children living in poverty in Kenya and Tanzania. Along with her mother, who went to school with Cass Treadwell, the founder of So They Can, Thomasin is about to embark on its 1HumanRace challenge.

“Throughout March, you have to move 85km in whatever way you choose, and the goal is to raise money for the 85 per cent of girls living in Pokot, Kenya, who are subject to female genital cutting, or forced into child marriage between 9 and 13 years of age,” shares Thomasin, who played Pixie Hannah on Shortland Street in 2016.

“It’s a great thing to do because you’re putting in the work and moving to make a difference, rather than sitting at a computer and making a donation and then forgetting about it.”

The organisation has so far graduated 474 teachers from its Tanzanian Teachers’ College to support the next generation.

For Thomasin, helping those who are less fortunate feels natural. “I don’t want to be the type of person who attaches her name to something but doesn’t actually make the physical effort,” she explains. “With acting, it’s easy to get inside of your own head, so it’s really important to live your life for other people as well, not just selfishly for yourself.”

Thomasin was 13 when she discovered her passion for acting, after appearing as a young Louise Nicholas on the film Consent, and learning she could tell worthy stories on screen.

“What’s important as an actress is to make sure you keep your humanity sharp,” adds Miranda, who is an acting coach for big Hollywood stars.

Acting, Thomasin says, is also an emotional rollercoaster.

“It’s not the glamorous kind of job some people assume it to be. Even though it’s wonderful, it’s a lot deeper than just showing up in front of a camera with some make-up on,” she explains. “There’s a lot of yourself that goes into acting. Like Mum said, a big part is feeding yourself in other ways.

It’s not so healthy just to be focused on acting, when for me, having experiences and passions to draw from keep me grounded and motivated.”

This evening, Thomasin has a session with a dialect coach she met in London while working on Last Night in Soho, which screens in New Zealand this November. “The Kiwi accent is quite harsh, so it’s a bit difficult to break out of that, Thomasin laughs. “There can be such subtle differences, like if there’s one noise that sounds off, it ruins the whole thing! It takes a lot of work to do a good job to get other accents down.”

Photography by Victoria Birkinshaw

Surprisingly, despite her critically acclaimed success, Thomasin has never had any formal acting coaching. “Mum has always been an amazing resource for me. She understands a scene just like that, and how tiny tweaks in the dialogue can change the entire scene,” she enthuses. “Dad’s also the first one I talk to if I’m reading a script because he’s a writer and has amazing instincts around whether a script is good or not.”

Thomasin has wondered whether she’d be acting if it wasn’t for her talented family.
“Mum, Dad and I have quite a unique relationship because obviously they’re my parents, but there’s a business relationship, too. When we travel around the world together for work, we’re often talking about business and ideas, and what we think of a script,” she tells. “I’m really lucky, but it has also meant I’ve always wanted to define myself and figure out why I’m doing this, for my own reasons. I do wonder what else I’d be. Maybe a vet!”

Before she heads overseas again soon, this time without her parents, to work on an unannounced series in London, Thomasin’s making the most of being at home and with friends.

“I’m reading scripts and we’re going through the visa application process, which is always really stressful!” she shares. “It won’t be the first time I’ve travelled alone, though. Late last year I went to the Dominican Republic to film Old.”

Source: nzherald.co.nz

Welcome to Thomasin McKenzie Fan, the latest online resource dedicated to the talented NZ actress Thomasin McKenzie. Thomasin has been in TV shows like "End of Term", "Shortland Street", "Bright Summer Night" and "Lucy Lewis Can't Lose". She has also been in films such as "Leave No Trace", "Jojo Rabbit", "Last Night in Soho", "Old" and "The Justice of Bunny King". This site is online to show our support to the actress Thomasin McKenzie, as well as giving her fans a chance to get the latest news and images.
Site Info
  • Maintained by: Veronique
  • Since: 26 February 2020
  • Layout Photos: Art Streiber & Fabien Kruszelnicki
  • Contact: Email Veronique

Hi everyone! Veronique, the owner of Thomasin McKenzie Fan, here!

Do you visit Thomasin McKenzie Fan frequently? Do you have any photos, screencaps, magazine scans, photoshoots etc that aren’t on this fansite yet and you would like to donate? You can EMAIL ME. Also let me know if you would like to be credited and how.

What can you donate?
Fanart, Candid + Event Photos, Film Stills + Screencaps, Magazine Scans and Photoshoots. Or even money.

Normally I’m not someone who asks money from people, so that is NOT what this is. Donating means that it is OPTIONAL. I’ve been getting a lot compliments about this site and all the great content. Thank you so much for all of your warm words, it makes it so much easier to keep this fansite as updated as possible!

As many of you may already know it isn’t easy to keep a fansite like this one updated with the best and most recent content. Up to this point I’ve always paid for all the HQ picture content in the gallery! As well as the domain name and the hosting.

Unfortunately it has gotten more difficult for me to finance everything. So that’s why I wanted to try a DONATE button on the website.

Again, donating is optional and all you have to do is click on the button below to be redirected to the donation page. You can choose to either pay with PayPal or with Debit or Credit Card. And you can, of course, choose the amount you want to donate.

All donations will be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for all of your continued support. Let’s make Thomasin McKenzie Fan even better together!