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Anna Paquin is one 'tough cookie'

By Amy Spencer,
Anna Paquin likes her workouts hard, her coffee "giant," and admits that she doesn't sit still much.
Anna Paquin likes her workouts hard, her coffee "giant," and admits that she doesn't sit still much.
  • Anna Paquin plays telepathic waitress Sookie on the HBO hit "True Blood"
  • Paquin says she could probably drink less coffee and drink more water
  • I'm usually happiest when I'm nowhere near the scale, Paquin says

( -- You could envy Anna Paquin a lot of things. Starting with her rocking body, which is on full display one hot morning when the 28-year-old Academy Award--winning actress shows up for our chat at a café in Venice, California, absolutely killing it in cutoff jeans shorts and a paper-thin white T-shirt.

Then there's her red-hot career -- her fourth season playing telepathic waitress Sookie on the HBO hit "True Blood" debuts this month. And what about her recent marriage to hunky co-star Stephen Moyer?

But after our day with Anna, we long most for her amazing energy. This is a girl who likes her workouts hard, her coffee "giant," and admits that she doesn't like to sit still.

After Stephen drops her off and takes their two dogs to the park, Anna dishes about everything from the pressure to stay thin in Hollywood to whether she sees "True Blood" kiddies in her future.

Q: You started out acting and got an Oscar for "The Piano" at such a young age. How did you turn out so, well, sane?

I have a really, really, really normal family. And by normal I mean we're all nuts on some level. I think you've gotta be a little nuts to pursue any kind of creative job. I was also a really good kid. I know that sounds really dull, but I didn't rebel in the traditional sense. Secrets to a stress-free, happy, healthy family

Q: In what areas of your life are you healthiest -- and less so?

Well, I could probably drink less coffee and drink more water. I try to eat well, but sometimes you can be a little too obsessive.

It's good to remember it's actually not the be-all and end-all, and if you're absolutely falling down with exhaustion, really, do you need to go to the gym? I'm very hard on myself. So I'll be inclined to go until I hit a wall and collapse, or someone is like, "Mmm, stop." Contrary to what you believe, you are not actually superhuman.

As I get older, I'm learning to balance that stuff better. Not focus on one thing at the expense of everything else. Sometimes it's like, walk away from the elliptical machine. Go sit outside. Do something relaxing. Because you'll be in a better mood. 7 steps to instant calm

Q: Your character is a tough cookie. Were you already like that?

I've always been a tough cookie. I just didn't do it in short shorts and a blonde ponytail. I mean, if you're going to be spending literally every single day of your working life wearing clothes that barely cover your body, you're gonna be extra-diligent. I've always been pretty diligent. Just that, there's just a little extra motivation of, "Hmmm, teeny white shorts and a bikini top? I think I will go to Pilates this morning."

Q: What do you love doing?

My favorite workout by far is boxing. It's so much fun. You do a full proper boxing workout. You start jumping rope, and you do the pads, where your trainer calls out the combinations and you do them. Punch off the pounds

Q: Any other workouts you're into?

I do The Bar Method. Then there's also this place called Hot 8 Yoga, and they do [Yoga Barre]. It's like The Bar Method, but it's, like, 105 degrees. It's psycho, but kind of awesome. You sort of want to die immediately. I generally have this, well, if I didn't leave sort of hating life a little, I didn't get my money's worth.

Q: What do you think of diets? Are you a fan of them?

I think, generally, most people can't maintain anything that's particularly strict for very long. I watch people trying and failing to do that a lot. Look, if you have something coming up like a vacation, and you want to look great and you're doing it for a specific [reason], or in my case, if they take your clothes away from you at work every couple of weeks. But I don't know if it's really right for your body to jump up and down weight-wise.

Q: So when you have a shoot where they're taking your clothes away, do you have a go-to method?

[Laughs.] You know, I feel it would be slightly irresponsible for me to discuss my crash-dieting methods! You do what any normal person does when you realize you're going to be on camera naked. But it doesn't make me particularly pleasant to be around. How to cheat on your diet -- and still lose weight

Q: The grouch comes out?

It's what we at work call "hangry." On set, lunch is usually six hours after crew call. But hair, makeup, wardrobe, and actors usually come in a few hours before crew call. So by the time lunch comes around, the girls get a little what we call "hangry."

Most of the boys start stuffing their faces the second they get to work, and most of the girls are not really morning eaters of the, like, 5 a.m. variety. So by one, two in the afternoon ... a little hangry.

Q: How do you know you're at your happy weight?

I don't know that there is such a thing. I think the numbers game gets a little treacherous.

Q: Do you have a scale?

I do. Truthfully, I'm usually happiest when I'm not going anywhere near it. But you know what size your body is. And if you're working out and have a lot of muscle, you're going to weigh more. I feel good when I feel like I'm really strong. And that's not necessarily when I'm at my numerically most gratifying weight. I think there's also a really big difference between looking healthy and being healthy.

People in this town have a weird tendency to say, if someone's lost weight, "Oh my God, you look amazing." And you're like, "I just had my tonsils out and didn't eat for three weeks." Literally, I had my tonsils out last year. You're on a liquid diet so, of course, you lose weight. But it's not healthy. 25 shocking celebrity weight changes

Q: You got married last August. How has marriage changed you?

It's amazing. I highly recommend it. [Laughs.] And it should be legal for everyone.

Q: The two of you obviously spend a lot of time together. Do you ever get sick of each other?

No. I miss him when he leaves. That's nauseating, I know. My me-time requirements are quite small.

Q: Do you think you'll make little "True Blood" kiddies?

Not yet, [but] of course. If, God, if I can. Absolutely. I love family. A top doc reveals 8 fertility misconceptions

Q: You juggle so much. When do you ever relax?

I take baths. I'll bring my laptop and watch a DVD. Or, um, company in the bath. [Grins.] Also nice.

Q: Do you have a favorite place in your house?

You know, I really like our bed. [Laughs.] I'll leave it at that.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011