Megan Gale fronts Tourism New Zealand campaign
In this advertisement for Tourism New Zealand, model Megan Gale takes in the sights by bike.
She was bitten by the acting bug having starred in two critically acclaimed hits, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Water Diviner, and despite craving more camera action, don't expect Megan Gale to up and move to Hollywood any time soon.
The glamorous 40-year-old, who has just been announced as Tourism New Zealand's new cycling ambassador, said that having a family has prevented her from chasing after those dreams like she would have done in her earlier years. But if you think Gale is bitter, think again.
Sitting down to chat with Fairfax Media at the Four Seasons in Sydney after finally revealing her new tourism role, having kept it under wraps for over six months, the model, designer and actress was relaxed and carefree and glowed as she spoke about her Richmond footballer partner, Shaun Hampson, 27, and their "energetic" son River, 21 months.
Gale took some time out to give birth but the Mad Max remake, directed by George Miller, jolted her right back into the limelight once more. Despite the film being nominated for two Golden Globes and 10 upcoming Academy Awards, Gale, who stars as Valkyrie, says she has not been inundated with offers ever since.
"No one is mowing down my door – not at this point," Gale started out. "I am still trying to find that balance because I work in so many different areas. It is a bit of an unusual one for me, I can't just move to LA and sit there and camp outside auditions.
"I mean, I could, but it would mean River and dad [Hampson], who plays for an AFL team here [would have to come too] and so I can't really sit over there and give it my all the way I would have done perhaps 10 to 15 years ago. I have to be mindful of that as it is also something that will limit me."
It won't stop Gale giving up on plans to star in more blockbusters, but as a working mother she says she has to "juggle" her career and family life.
"[Acting] is something I do want to do more of because I do love it and especially when you see the finished result in a film like Mad Max, you think 'oh my god I want to do this more and more.' It is so satisfying for me. I have to juggle it with other things too."
Opening up about the movie's success, Gale said she knew she was "part of something special" when they were filming scenes.
"When we were shooting it, we knew it was pretty good, but we couldn't tell how it would come up on screen because there was so much going on, but we could feel it was special," she said.
"Tom [Hardy] and Charlize [Theron] were fantastic and incredible to work with," she added, laughing when it was pointed out to her that she was now on a first name basis with the A-list pair.
"It feels weird saying full names. I would never call them by their full names," she laughed again.
Gale won't be attending the annual star-studded affair on February 28 in Los Angeles, but said she will be watching and hoping "it just does as well as it can."
She remained tight-lipped on future projects, saying her preference is not to speak about something until it is completed, possibly alluding to Miller's scrapped Justice League of America in which Gale was set to star as Wonder Woman.
"I have had situations you talk about something and for some reason funding drops and it doesn't go through, so I just like to wait until something is done and dusted and ready to go and you know it is a sure thing," she explained.
After her swimwear line, Isola, was dropped by Seafolly last August and she decided to rest the brand for a season, Gale is thrilled with her new ambassador role for a country that has such close family connections.
"New Zealand is in my blood, my mother is part Maori [hailing from Kaitaia] so the connection to New Zealand has always been strong," she said.
Having cycled The Otago Central Trail and The Timber Trail in October last year, she said she found it "fantastic for families" and a part of the world she is looking forward to showing her son.
"River is so observant now with everything. He's like, 'sheep, lake, sky, mountain, car,'" she said mimicking the toddler and pointing her fingers.
"He could just pick up on everything. His senses are getting stimulated right now, so I think it would be great for him to sit on the back of the bike in the beautiful fresh air."
But the growing boy would need to hitch a lift with his sportsman father rather than Gale.
"I think it would be great when he is older and he has got his own bike, but now my partner would have him on the back because he is probably a bit heavy for me," she laughed.
"My partner is great at cycling. He cycles a lot as part of his training because he is an AFL player, so he would be able to handle the 15kg child on the back – me not so much."