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LA-based Australian actresses Teresa Palmer and Phoebe Tonkin are switching their focus from the silver screen to balance sheets by launching a lifestyle website called Your Zen Life.

Palmer has starred in films including The Grudge 2 and December Boys, while Tonkin’s films include Tomorrow, When the War Began and Bait 3D. Tonkin also stars in The Vampire Diaries.

Your Zen Life describes itself as an online scrapbook, where like-minded people can share their knowledge of, and passion for, health and fitness.

The site only launched last month, but already counts New York-based Australian entrepreneur Michael Giles as a contributor. Giles is also a blogger for StartupSmart.

Palmer and Tonkin talk to StartupSmart about why they decided to create Your Zen Life.

Why did you launch the website?

Both of us are so passionate about health and wellness, and have witnessed the benefits of living a holistic, natural way of life.

Travelling and meeting new people gained us access to some of the best nutritionists and tools to live out our best, healthiest lives possible.

We wanted an outlet to share this knowledge and create a community of like-minded people.

The idea of inviting people to contribute to the site came from hearing feedback over Twitter and email. We realised that people want a platform to share their stories and inspire others.

How did you fund it?

We both self-funded the whole idea. It really is a passion project.

But eventually we want to get to a place where the site is making money, which we can put directly into charity, as philanthropy and being able to give back to our planet is in part the essence of the site.

Who is the site aimed at?

Anyone who is interested in creating a more Zen-like life. We want to inspire people to look after themselves, whether that’s emotionally, physically or spiritually.

What is so great about social media these days is the direct interaction between readers of the site, and from that we can cater to what our readers are interested in.

We found a lot of questions about living this way but on a budget, so we are conscious of that when we are writing or sourcing context.

Do you think star power has any impact on the site?

We believe the power of Twitter and Facebook has been pivotal to getting the word out about our site.

And being able to be in contact with some of the best professionals in the field of health and wellness is also a perk of being in the public eye.

But at the end of the day, we are just two twenty-somethings who are so passionate about living this way, and that passion is what drives us to make the site what it is.

What is your growth strategy for the site?

Getting traffic to the site is key. We are trying to maintain a level of consistency with the blog posts so that our readers can come to rely on our site.

It’s great to have people who drop by every now and then, but what we are after is loyal fans of the site who check it almost every day.

At this stage we are just trying to get the word out about the site.  

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