Born Teresa Palmer
26 February 1986 (1986-02-26) (age 25)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 2005–present
Palmer was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. She is the only child of Kevin Palmer, an investor, and Paula Sanders, a former nurse and missionary. She has a stepmother, Kaaren Palmer, as well as two half-sisters and two stepbrothers, who lived with her father. Her parents divorced when she was three. Palmer stated to Interview that she "came from rather humble beginnings"; she lived in public housing with her mother, and grew up on her father's farm in Adelaide Hills.Palmer was named after Mother Teresa by her mother, and has stated that she had a "tough upbringing" due to her mother's manic depression.
Palmer was a student at Mercedes College, a Catholic day school, and won a local casting audition, "Search for a Movie Star", in 2003. Her first acting job was dressing up as Strawberry Shortcake and Santa's Little Helper on weekends for promotions in shopping centres near Adelaide. Palmer went to acting classes for a couple of years and did a few television commercials. She was a fast food attendant at Hungry Jack's in Rundle Mall in 2005 before working at clothing retailers Supre, Mambo Australia, and Cotton On.
After graduating from high school, Palmer got a call from her local agent about appearing in a student film, 2:37. The director had seen her head shot on the acting agency's website and wanted her to be in the movie. Palmer thought that she would work in an animal rescue service, and eventually open her own animal welfare agency. She was accepted into university to study teaching and was taking a course on journalism, but had always dreamt of acting. Palmer quit university to work on the film.