After spending so much time filming the “Twilight” films, do you ever find yourself channeling your character Rosalie in real life?

The only time where that does happen is when we’re all sort of together in a group setting and when people start picking on Rosalie. I feel really defensive of her. I always wondered why people have always talked about who’s friends with who on set and who has friction with who and then I realized it’s because that is what our characters are doing, you know what I mean? They don’t even know they are doing it but they assume it’s the same dynamic. It’s just kind of bizarre but it’s actually really fascinating.

What did you do with your first big paycheck?

I’ve always been a struggling actress and trust me, I am fully aware how fast this is going to go away after “Twilight” so I don’t take any of it for granted. One small chunk of money isn’t going to last you a lifetime. I’ve tried to be smart with my money so the first thing I did was I invested in income property. Then I did buy a home and I bought my mom a home. My dad told me, “At the end of the day, if you have nowhere to live because you’re super poor if you have invested in some income property you might be okay,” so that’s what I’ve done.

Last year you married Paul McDonald from “American Idol”. How has the newlywed life been so far?

As you can see Paul is here and it goes both ways, by the way. People think that he just travels with me wherever I go but they don’t realize that when he was on tour I went to 33 cities out of the 50 where he was performing so it really goes both ways. I think it’s important to make the other person your number one priority.

How did you know he was the one?

I just knew!

So it was love at first sight?

Yes. Well, I didn’t know the second I met him but I knew within a couple of days for sure. My mom is kind of a hopeless romantic and even though her and my father divorced when I was two she totally believes because of her grandparents and parents that when you marry, it stays strong forever. She always hated when I would say that I’m never getting married or that I’m never going to have kids. I’m sure some of it came from my upbringing and seeing my own parents get divorced and my anger about that but as soon as I met Paul I said, “I think I’m going to marry him,” and she was like, “What!? Has he asked you?” and I said, “No, but I just think I am.”

What is one of your guilty pleasures?

Oh God, horrible TV! And that’s a new one. I didn’t grow up with a TV so I didn’t grow up watching cartoons, let alone trash. Paul and I have gotten really into “Dance Moms”. The other day Paul saw one of the episodes of “Dance Moms” without me and he had to call me about it and confess.

Do you ever read celebrity tabloids?

I used to have a rule that I would only do it if I was at the airport because it’s like, “Well, I’m here and I have 40 minutes before my flight so I’ll just stand at the kiosk and read.” But now I’m at the airport seven days a week! I’m always there so I don’t think that’s a good excuse anymore. I’ve tried to slow down actually because the more cognizant you are about what is actually going on in the celebrity world the more it’s not really entertaining anymore because you flip through and say, “I know that’s not happening! And that’s not true!”

How do you stay in shape when you’re always traveling?

We’re very active. I quit smoking three years ago on July 5 and it’s something I’ve been extremely vocal about because I feel like it was my greatest accomplishment. I was a really heavy smoker my whole life since I was 12 years old and I wasn’t active at all because of it. I was a gymnast when I was much younger but I spent most of my years when you’re supposed to be really active and doing stuff, not active at all. I didn’t realize it until I was older but it really did affect my whole physique so the last three years I’ve been incredibly active. Paul and I switch it up but we do it all together. We hike with our dogs, we do pilates, we do SoulCycle. I try to cook for both of us and when I can’t cook my mom actually cooks because she lives in our guest house. I believe strongly in homemade food.

Favorite dish to make?

Last night before we came here I cooked brown rice and lentils. I sautéed onions and put in soy sauce and some bell peppers and shredded carrots. My mom and I were attempting to cook a lentil loaf but that didn’t happen so it became a stir-fry.

When you’re out like tonight, what is your cocktail of choice?

I’m not really a drinker. If I do have something I’ll have a sip or two of beer. It’s weird because I’ve played so many very promiscuous party animal characters that people really do subconsciously connect you with that because you do it in movies. I haven’t really spoken that much about it but I started to recently because I got a little frustrated. I’ve never been a drinker my whole life.

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

Just in light of what just happened I would say Nora Ephron. So many of the women I know that are still here, who I really look up to and I really connect with have had such a strong connection with that woman. I just feel like at a certain point in life that would have been such an honor to meet her and something that probably—well, who knows but—could have happened. She’s mentored a lot of women who have mentored me.

Photography by Neal Agustin

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