Lara Worthington: 'There's power in silence'
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Lara Worthington: 'There's power in silence'

Even over the phone, the relief in Lara Worthington's voice is palpable. The 31-year-old entrepreneur, model and wife of Aussie actor Sam Worthington has finished her nightly ritual of reading to and tucking in her two sons, and both are finally asleep.

"Sam's working long hours and I have the kids by myself at night," she says contritely in a lilting, distinctly Aussie voice, explaining why, despite the fact we both live in Los Angeles, she's unable to meet in person.

Lara wears “Portofino” long pyjama set by Jasmine and Will.

Lara wears “Portofino” long pyjama set by Jasmine and Will.Credit:Darren McDonald

The Worthington family have relocated from their New York base to LA for the rest of the year while Lara's famous husband works on back-to-back Avatar sequels with director James Cameron.

The model from Cronulla, in Sydney's south, has also been kept busy as CEO of her beauty brand The Base but recently found time to partner with Aussie sleepwear designer Jasmine and Will to produce a balmy, summer-themed ad campaign to kick off the company's 2018 collection.

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Lara clearly has a lot on her plate right now but her voice bursts with pride as she talks about the couple's two children, three-year-old Rocket and 21-month-old Racer. There's no doubt everything else takes second place.

"I'm definitely very hands-on," she acknowledges. "My mum comes over from Australia to help, so she's my nanny. But when we're on holidays and at times like this, it's just us."

Notoriously private (the couple didn't confirm the birth of their children or their given names for weeks after each was born), Lara is unexpectedly candid during our chat about her admiration for her 41-year-old husband.

"Sam is hands-on too, and I couldn't do it without him," she gushes. "When it's just us and we're trying to work it out together, that for me is a good family unit.

Lara wears “Porto Venere” boyfriend shirt by Jasmine and Will.

Lara wears “Porto Venere” boyfriend shirt by Jasmine and Will.Credit:Darren McDonald

"Parenting is challenging. You need a lot of patience and I'd say Sam is definitely more patient than me. He's just a really good dad and absolutely obsessed with the boys, so nothing comes between them – not work or anything else. And that, for me, is the most attractive thing about him."

The late-night timing of our chat seems apt, given her work with Jasmine and Will and the fact she's wearing its sleepwear in Sunday Life's photo shoot. "Since becoming a mum, my morning and evening routines are really involved with pyjamas – much more than when I was in my teenage years!" she says.

Earlier in the day, Lara reveals, she and Sam were at home, playing on the floor with their boys and wearing the masks of characters from the animated series PJ Masks. Obviously required viewing in the Worthington home, the show (which airs on the ABC in Australia) follows the exploits of three young friends who transform into dynamic superheroes when they put their pyjamas on at night and activate their animal amulets.

Lara wears “Amalfi” long pyjama set by Jasmine and Will.

Lara wears “Amalfi” long pyjama set by Jasmine and Will. Credit: Darren McDonald

"We all wear masks and I'm Owlette and Sam is Catboy," she proudly adds. "I know it sounds funny, but that's our normal attire at home!"

Which naturally brings us back to the topic of sleepwear. As an ambassador for brands such as Dior and Tiffany & Co., Lara was keen to collaborate with Jasmine and Will after she discovered its monogrammed sleepwear collection and was impressed with the bold colours and soft fabrics.

"I really enjoy nice things to relax in at home and I think that pyjamas are purely about feeling good for yourself," she says. "But I'd also be happy to go grab a coffee with jeans and one of the pyjama tops on, too."

The daughter of Graham and Sharon Bingle, Lara grew up in Cronulla and attended St. Vincent's College in Potts Point before leaving school at 16 to pursue a career in modelling. She moved to Italy for work when she was just 17.

"My parents thought I was pretty ambitious," she reflects of her bold move. "I had the support of the modelling agency over there but it was a bit like being thrown in the deep end, where you've got to work it all out by yourself. It was really full-on.

"Just trying to get to multiple auditions every day on the subway in Milan and living in a house with five or six other girls, trying to pay bills and get modelling jobs, would be challenging enough for anyone, but I was very young and naïve and women could really get taken advantage of back then."

A feminist, Lara admits those days were fraught with potentially dangerous situations of the type now being exposed by the #MeToo movement. "Being in that industry, I have definitely seen things go on that people aren't aware of, and you didn't have as much support back then as you have now. I feel like women around the globe are finally standing up and coming forward and speaking out, which is great."

Lara's big break came in 2006, when she was cast in a series of Tourism Australia commercials, cheekily asking, "Where the bloody hell are ya?" This led to an appearance on Dancing with the Stars and a shortlived 2012 reality show, Being Lara Bingle. There was also the high-profile engagement to former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke.

The intense scrutiny following her split with Clarke in 2010 made her wary of sharing details of her personal life. Consequently, little is known about how she met Worthington, the star of Terminator Salvation, Clash of the Titans and Avatar, though she has told Sydney radio hosts Kyle and Jackie O that it was at a festival in New York's Central Park through a mutual friend, actor Gerard Butler.

Their 2014 wedding remained a secret for months and that desire to remain under the radar has continued.

"No way," she responds quickly when asked if anything could ever lure her back to reality TV. Not even a show highlighting her business acumen as CEO of her beauty brand?

"No," she continues firmly. "To me, there's a power in silence – especially nowadays, when people share so much.

"As I get older, I feel that the less people know about me, the better. A big part of it is that I really enjoy just being with my family. Sam and I both feel like that's what it's all about for us now, so we want to protect our privacy."

Lara wears “Naples” long robe by Jasmine and Will.

Lara wears “Naples” long robe by Jasmine and Will.Credit:Darren McDonald

But the make-up mogul can't resist talking about her enviable 30th birthday trip last year, when her husband whisked her off on a mystery tour. "He told me nothing and I arrived at the airport having to pack for all seasons because I didn't know where I was going," she recounts with a girlish giddiness in her voice.

Sam had arranged for Lara's mum to take care of their boys while he flew her to Iceland's famous geothermal spa, Blue Lagoon, named in 2012 as one of National Geographic's 25 Wonders of the World. This was followed by four concerts in four cities in four days: Radiohead in Dublin, Coldplay in Brussels, Ed Sheeran in London and U2 in Toronto. "Each night I'd go to bed in one country, then wake up and open a new present which would be a T-shirt of the band I was going to see that night," she says.

Although New York remains home for now, Lara has eagerly embraced the temporary move to LA. "We could walk everywhere in New York but when it snowed, that was tough on the boys," she admits. "We miss Australia, and I definitely miss the beaches there, but LA weather is great for being outdoors and the boys love as much space as they can get."

Despite being a face that's often sold luxury, Lara says she's also discovered more simple pleasures in LA. "I love the bath houses," she elaborates. "They're Turkish and Russian and Korean bath houses and they scrub your skin quite hard. So don't expect a nice 'spa' experience, because the Russians will beat you with a stick!"

Lara wears “Portofino” long pyjama set by Jasmine and Will.

Lara wears “Portofino” long pyjama set by Jasmine and Will.Credit:Darren McDonald

Although Lara was often photographed on the streets of New York in smartly tailored designer suits, her personal style has changed to suit LA. "It's definitely more casual here so I'm more likely to just be in sweats," she says. "I still love that feeling of getting dressed up if I have to go to something with my husband, but when I was younger I used to spend hours planning my outfits. Now, with two boys, I don't have a lot of time to get ready so I just can't be bothered."

It sounds like the pyjamas will get a lot of wear.

The Jasmine and Will spring/summer 2018 collection will be available from August 1 at jasmineandwill.com and David Jones.

Styling: Marina Afonina. Make-up: Filomena Natoli. Hair: Travis Balcke.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale July 29.