Describing Wanted, now in its third season (Seven, Monday, 8.30pm), Rebecca Gibney sums up the drama series she co-produces with husband Richard Bell, as “a rollercoaster road trip about two mismatched women on the run”.
Getting the tone right “is tricky,” admits the New Zealand-based actress and mum to son Zac.
“But when it does get very black, we quickly try to find some lightness. It’s very Australian that in the bleakest situations, we find the humour and that helps us come out the other side.”
It’s a tactic she ha employed in her personal life – during the end of her first marriage and through battles with anxiety and depression.
Over a glass of rosé and an antipasto platter, she shared her life lessons with The New Daily.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about producing?
It’s the best and the worst. It’s amazingly exciting from a creative point of view, but it’s also like herding cats. It’s exhausting, and it’s financially ridiculous, because you don’t actually make any money out of it. But I’m really proud of Wanted.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about acting?
Don’t act. All acting is reacting.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned parenting?
Breathe in those moments when they’re little because they do grow up so quickly. I only had one, and he’s gone from four to 14 in a heartbeat. And I know they say don’t be your child’s best friend, but I am his friend because I want him to know that he can rely on me.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about balance?
Self-care is vital. You can’t look after other people unless you look after yourself.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about beauty?
It’s fleeting (laughs). You’re never going to be as gorgeous as you are in your 20s and 30s. Now beauty to me is a warm smile and kind eyes.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about marriage?
Compromise. I’m very blessed in that my husband is my best friend, but we’re not co-dependent. We depend on each other, but we’re both strong individuals who happen to love hanging out together.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about heartbreak?
Inevitable, but it makes you stronger and wiser and softer. It’s a necessary part of life.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned body image?
Acceptance. I’ve learned to embrace my muffin top. It doesn’t mean I don’t try to suck it in with Spanx when I’m wearing my nice dress, but it’s there and it ain’t going anywhere. And I’m okay with that.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about skincare?
I use Vanessa Megan skincare, and it’s phenomenal. I’m a no-fuss girl. I get facials and a bit of Botox now and again – although right now it’s wearing off and I’m at that age where I’m like, ‘Really? Can I be bothered?’ I’m 53. I like my lines.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about friendship?
I have a number of very good friendships that I have had for 30 years, and they’re vital. I am a good friend. I’m always ringing people and always making myself available.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about ageing?
Happens to the best of us! We’re all getting older. Embrace it. I’m feeling the best I’ve felt in ages.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about mental health?
We’re all struggling and we all need each other. If whatever I share can help someone feel they’re not alone, then that’s worth it. When I did have my breakdown in my early thirties, I couldn’t articulate what my problem was because it was so deep and so buried. But talking about it is the first step.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about yourself?
It took a long time to actually be happy with who I am. but I’m okay. I’m a good human. I spent a lot of time not being who I was and being afraid of that person and now I’m embracing her. I’m my own best friend. I’ve got a lot of great friends, but I’ve realised that the most important thing is becoming my own best friend.
Wanted screens on Seven, Mondays, 8.30pm