Take it from a Southerner

A version of this recently appeared in October/November issue of South magazine.

Southern icon Jackson Rathbone reveals his secrets on acting.

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No matter how many roles Jackson Rathbone plays, there’s one he will never stop playing or being influenced by: the role of Southerner.

Born in Singapore, but primarily raised in Texas, Rathbone always has, and always will be, a Southerner at heart—and for that, he will never apologize.

“[I feel] lucky to be a Southerner,” he says. “I was raised in Norway and Texas as a child, so I was able to adapt into a new group or have a new group adapt to me.”

Using the environment from which one was raised, Rathbone explains, can be useful for discovering the role he or she is set to play. It’s being a Southerner that helped his many diverse roles, such as Jasper Hale in the “Twilight Saga” and Sokka in “The Last Airbender”—two roles not quite known for being Southern, yet influenced by pure Southern morals.

“He really is the all-Southern boy,” says Michael Geiser, Rathbone’s co-worker and friend. “He lives in Austin. He wears cowboy boots and shoots guns. He raises his family with Southern morals.”

One of those Southern morals that is essential to growing in the acting industry, Rathbone explains, is graciousness. “You must be gracious,” he says, “which will help you grow and learn. Ask for help and advice. Be respectful and keep good manners.”

Although many of his roles weren’t of the Southern variety, his upcoming role in the movie “Heart, Baby!”–the true story of two best friends on a journey to discover the true meaning of friendship, faith and heart–makes up for it with a heavy amount of Tennessee and Texas accents, and stays true to his role as Southerner.

“Twilight” will be re-released via home entertainment and in select theaters on October 23. “Heart, Baby!” will be in theaters this November.