Credit: Brian Bowen Smith

Brian Bowen SmithYou 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 cafe in Venice, California, absolutely killing it in cutoff jeans shorts and a paper-thin white T-shirt. Then theres 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 doesnt 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?
A: I have a really, really, really normal family. And by normal I mean were all nuts on some level. I think youve 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 didnt rebel in the traditional sense.

Q: In what areas of your life are you healthiest—and less so?
A: 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. Its good to remember its actually not the be-all and end-all, and if youre absolutely falling down with exhaustion, really, do you need to go to the gym? Im very hard on myself. So Ill 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.

Q: Right, youre not being chased for your life.
A: As I get older, Im learning to balance that stuff better. Not focus on one thing at the expense of everything else. Sometimes its like, walk away from the elliptical machine. Go sit outside. Do something relaxing. Because youll be in a better mood.

Q: Your character is a tough cookie. Were you already like that?
A: Ive always been a tough cookie. I just didnt do it in short shorts and a blonde ponytail. I mean, if youre going to be spending literally every single day of your working life wearing clothes that barely cover your body, youre gonna be extra-diligent. Ive always been pretty diligent. Just that, theres 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?
A: My favorite workout by far is boxing.

Q: You go a couple of times a week.
A: At least. Its 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.

Next Page: What other workouts are you doing? [ pagebreak ]Q: Any other workouts youre into?
A: I do The Bar Method. Then theres also this place called Hot 8 Yoga, and they do [Yoga Barre]. Its like The Bar Method, but its, like, 105 degrees. Its psycho, but kind of awesome. You sort of want to die immediately. I generally have this, well, if I didnt leave sort of hating life a little, I didnt get my moneys worth.


Brian Bowen Smith

Q: What do you think of diets? Are you a fan of them?
A: I think, generally, most people cant maintain anything thats 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 youre 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 dont know if its really right for your body to jump up and down weight-wise.

Q: So when you have a shoot where theyre taking your clothes away, do you have a go-to method?
A: [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 youre going to be on camera naked. But it doesnt make me particularly pleasant to be around.

Q: The grouch comes out?
A: Its 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 youre at your happy weight?
A: I dont know that there is such a thing. I think the numbers game gets a little treacherous.

Q: Do you have a scale?
A: I do. Truthfully, Im usually happiest when Im not going anywhere near it. But you know what size your body is. And if youre working out and have a lot of muscle, youre going to weigh more. I feel good when I feel like Im really strong. And thats not necessarily when Im at my numerically most gratifying weight. I think theres also a really big difference between looking healthy and being healthy. People in this town have a weird tendency to say, if someones lost weight, "Oh my God, you look amazing." And youre like, "I just had my tonsils out and didnt eat for three weeks." Literally, I had my tonsils out last year. Youre on a liquid diet so, of course, you lose weight. But its not healthy.

Q: You got married last August. How has marriage changed you?
A: Its 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?
A: No. I miss him when he leaves. Thats nauseating, I know. My me-time requirements are quite small.

Q: Do you think youll make little True Blood kiddies?
A: Not yet, [but] of course. If, God, if I can. Absolutely. I love family.

Q: You juggle so much. When do you ever relax?
A: I take baths. Ill 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?
A: You know, I really like our bed. [Laughs.] Ill leave it at that.