Inside Rose Byrne's New York-to-Sydney (and Back Again!) Life


Australia fell for Rose Byrne when she gazed into the camera in 1999’s Two Hands but the world woke up to her comedic talent in Bridesmaids and Bad Neighbours. Based in New York, the new mother and Oroton ambassador is in Sydney to shoot Peter Rabbit. Here, she shares a few of her favourite things.

If you could bring anything from New York to Sydney, what would it be?

That sense of being in the centre of the world. Everything and everyone goes through there.

And if you could take anything back to New York?

Can it be my mum? There’s also a sense of space in Australia – oxygen – that I would take back. I love New York but it’s an assault on the senses. 

Do you feel as though you’re a different person in the two cities?

More when I was younger. When you’ve been in your body longer, you’re like: “I’m the same in Tasmania as I am in Long Island.” I’m a big believer in the saying “different skies, same mind”.

What makes you sentimental?

Aromas; they transport me. Jasmine makes me think of growing up. When I was 19, I studied in New York and lived near a cookie factory. Every time I smell a particular cookie, it triggers me to that time.

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Can you share a memorable journey?

When I was 22, I went to Cambodia. I had a small role as an Aussie backpacker in City of Ghosts and I stayed on. It was incredible. The people were gracious and the landscape was mind-blowing. I also backpacked a few times through Europe and India. Australians are good at it. I’m proud that we’re fearless. We have such curiosity and an ambition to really look around. 

Is there a destination on your bucket list?

The Daintree [Queensland] and Kakadu and Uluru [Northern Territory], to see more of my own country. I’m in a Sydney-New York circle.

Tell us about New York. Where’s the best coffee?

Abraço, near a little corner on 7th Street. Then you walk to Cafe Mogador for a Moroccan-Israeli breakfast and go to the consignment store, Tokio 7. That’s a great morning.

And the best coffee in Sydney?

Edition Coffee Roasters on the corner of Liverpool and Crown streets in Darlinghurst. It has an interesting Japanese menu.

What about restaurants?

A Tavola on Victoria Street [Darlinghurst] is yummy and so is Il Buco, another Italian restaurant in New York.

Is your preference for Italian food influenced by your partner [Italian-Cuban actor Bobby Cannavale]?

He grew up with his Cuban mother. In Miami, Puerto Sagua restaurant is fantastic – straight out of Cuba in the ’60s. I get the picadillo. It’s simple food, just mince with rice, but delicious with plantains.

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What fashion labels have caught your eye?

I’m obsessed with the No. 6 Store in New York. They’re known for clogs but they also do well-made dresses and jumpsuits. The Brooklyn Flea is great, as is the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles for furniture and clothes. Ellery is doing striking silhouettes and there’s also Être Cécile. I live in T-shirts and jeans and they do cute basics.

Has having your son, Rocco [aged 13 months], changed your style or did you always prefer basics?

I did. [But having a child] you don’t have as much time and everything is covered in stuff. I often just wear Bobby’s clothes. I love men’s clothes. He wears a lot of Rag & Bone. If I could wear all of his clothes I would: cashmere sweaters and pants.

Has being a mother affected your travel?

It can’t not. Rocco’s still little, though, and a good sport. You can pack him up and take him with you. I assume it becomes more challenging later.

Your bag will get smaller as his gets bigger...

I try to subscribe to the idea that you don’t need that much and anything you do need, you can get at the next place. They’re going to have toothpaste and hairbrushes. There is so much stuff.

Has anything about motherhood totally surprised you?

I don’t think anything can really prepare you for it – even people telling you that nothing can prepare you for it.

Did you prepare?

Oh, yeah. I’m such an actress: reading all the books, doing the courses and speaking to everybody. But it’s a bit like doing a scene. You can do all the preparation you want but nothing is real until the other person is in front of you. That’s when it really happens.

Top image: Steven Chee

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