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Women on Fire® Podcast Presents...

Under The Vines, Menopause And Growing Older With Australasian Icon Rebecca Gibney

Women on Fire Podcast - Rebecca Gibney
Rebecca Gibney is one of Australasia’s most-loved actresses. A household name in both Australia and New Zealand, her performance as Julie Rafter on Packed to the Rafters earned her a Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality and two Silver Logies for Most Popular Actress.

But accolades aside – and she has many more – Rebecca has been winning hearts on our screens for decades. From The Flying Doctors and Halifax fp TV series to the film, The Dressmaker she has shared her beauty, talent, and charisma with us.

Now in her 50s, she is refreshingly candid about filters and growing older as well as sharing her wonderful sense of humour on social media.

Currently starring as beautiful Daisy and executive producing the popular rom-com series Under The Vines, Rebecca drops in for a quick visit to Women On Fire® to talk about Daisy, menopause, and growing older.

Podcast Interview

In This Episode We Talked About:

  • Daisy on Under The Vines (0:00)
  • Being real (1:20)
  • The beauty of ageing (2:50)
  • Rebecca’s menopause journey (3:52)
  • Lifestyle and habits (4:55)
  • Menopause in front of the camera (8:00)
  • Growing older (8:53)
  • Laughing at herself (9:34)
  • On being a Caussie and loving Australia and New Zealand (10:33)

Video version

Watch on YouTube
YouTube Talks - Rebecca Gibney

Podcast Transcript

Jenna:
Today our guest is Rebecca Gibney, a household name in both Australia and New Zealand. Her performance as Julie Rafter on Packed to the Rafters earned her a Gold Logie Award for most popular personality, two Silver Logies for most popular actress and a further seven Logie Award nominations along with an AFI Award nomination for Best Lead Actress in a television drama.

Currently Rebecca is starring in and executive producing the popular rom-com series Under the Vines which is on TVNZ in New Zealand and Acorn TV around the world.

Rebecca has an extensive range of television credits but what sets her apart is she’s so real and such a lovely person as well as a hugely talented actress.

Please enjoy our interview with the lovely Rebecca and Under the Vines beautiful Daisy, socialite Daisy from Sydney. She’s starting to struggle a bit with menopause but she does not want to know about the M word right?

Rebecca:
No, no it’s funny because I think there is this preconception that the minute you go through menopause your sex life’s over, everything’s over, you’re not sexy anymore, you’re not attractive anymore so Daisy’s like nope, don’t want a bar of it, don’t say the M word, don’t mention the M word.

Jenna:
I know it’s so cute but it’s amazing that that was on the script. I didn’t realise that was going to be in the script.

Rebecca:
No I suggested it when we finished season one, we were talking about ideas for season two and I said well why don’t we mention that she’s maybe going through menopause and I think it wasn’t that they were kind of surprised that I was the one that suggested it because they all went yeah it’s awesome it’s awesome but I think they were probably thinking that actors don’t want to go there because then that’s implying that they’re old or whatever and I’m like, no, let’s do it of course. I think it’s a fact of life and we all go through it us women so I was very happy for them to embrace it and show what happens when you go through menopause.

Jenna:
That’s amazing I think that’s the beauty of you, you’re so real because you say some wonderful things on Instagram and bringing in the realism.

Rebecca:
Yes there’s filters and I don’t always look like this and no one really looks like that anymore, yes young models there are some people that look like that but generally unfortunately because social media is so curated these days and it is about putting your best foot forward and everyone wants to do that which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that but as long as we also dispel the myth that that’s reality because it’s not. I mean I walk into photo shoots and I’ve got no makeup on and I look like anyone else on the street no one gives me a passing glance.

In fact now that I’ve gotten over 50 there’s other reasons why they don’t give me a passing glance but you know and then all of a sudden you get all the two hours of makeup and hair and lighting and can turn out amazing photographs but it’s not real it’s all fake, fake hair, fake eyelashes, fake everything. I know it’s a bit of fun though too isn’t it, oh it’s great fun I mean it’s great fun to look at the images and go wow I can look like that sometimes but it’s not the reality you know.

I’m also fully aware that I wake up in the morning and the hair’s like lawn and I’ve got all the the wrinkles, the bags, the muffin top all that, it’s all there but it’s kind of I don’t care anymore. That is one of the beauties of aging I think when you get to my age and I’m closer to 60 now, I just don’t care. I kind of want to make the best of what I’ve got but I don’t really care what other people think so much anymore.

Jenna:
That’s so cool, but you’re saying that nobody really looks at you now that you’re post 50 but didn’t the Who magazine put you as one of the sexiest people or most beautiful people?

Rebecca:
That was like seven years ago or something. That was a while ago. I can’t remember how long ago that was. But yeah, and again you know lots of fake hair and fake this and fake that. I mean I liked when they actually put me on the cover once with no makeup ‘stars with no makeup’ and I like that because that’s also showing people that the reality of this is what you look like.

But I’m like the next person, I would get up put a bit of mascara on put a bit of lippy on and I try and make the best of what I’ve got.

Jenna:
Have you had your own struggles with menopause?

Rebecca:
Do you know what I’m through menopause now, praise be. I did have a little bit of an issue with it. I had the odd mood swing you know when you’re standing in the supermarket and you don’t know why you’re there and and then you get a bit stressed and the anxiety. But because I suffered anxiety attacks for a very long time from my teens until I got into my early 40s, probably those sorts of effects didn’t bother me as much because I knew what they were but I know a lot of women do with their hot flushes getting terrible anxiety because they don’t know and you can’t control it.

When that happens you can’t control it, so my advice is just go with it and if you are in an environment that’s making you hot get outside take your jumper off but breathe. Just breathe through it. You’ve just got to go with it, don’t fight it don’t fight anything, there’s no point fighting is not gonna get you anywhere.

Jenna:
That’s so true. Did you have to change some of your habits? We all like to have vino or our coffees and things and they just don’t seem to sit as well with us.

Rebecca:
Do you know what the weird thing is I’m on a program at the moment because years ago I put on a lot of weight for a role in a film and I never really lost it again, but through that I found out I was insulin resistant. So I’m on a program at the moment that’s kind of readdressing my microbiome, my gut, my gut health, and my microbiome and because of that, I’ve lost weight. I didn’t do it to lose weight, I did it because I went on holiday and basically ate New Zealand while I was away and drank everything in sight and I came back feeling really sluggish and really awful and my sleep was terrible so I’ve been on this program for about two and a half weeks and it’s made a huge difference and what I’ve realised is that you can have your glass of wine but don’t have it on its own because it’s gonna cause a glucose spike. Have it with your meal, have three meals try not to snack.

There are all these things that actually make perfect sense when you do it and I think those are the things that I’m realizing now, I’m like, damn I wish I knew that when I was going through menopause because I probably didn’t need to take all those pills if I’d done the diet, the healthy thing for my body – drink lots of fluids, try a bit of fasting now and then, eat your sugars last. You can have dessert just have it after you’ve had everything else, don’t reach for a chocolate bar you know stuff like that.

Jenna:
It can make such a huge difference I mean massive that’s what I teach every day because we can’t cope with the sugars and the refined carbohydrates anymore when you’re insulin resistant.

Rebecca:
No, exactly and also when you’re over a certain age, your body’s not like an engine, you’re not 20 anymore so your body’s not turning things over so you can’t actually indulge in all that stuff. Doesn’t mean you can’t have it ever, it just means that there are certain ways of eating.

I started getting interested in the glucose goddess who’s on Instagram and she’s got a book out called Glucose Revolution (I think) and in that she talks about just eating everything in a certain order, like eat your veggies first. I think Americans do it, have your veggies first then your fats and your protein, and then your carbs and your sugars last. So don’t have your big thing of bread before you eat because you’re just gonna get more hungry and it’s actually causing these amazing spikes so once you read up on all that and then you start, it’s hard I gotta say because I’ve been doing it for two weeks. The first week was a nightmare because I’m a great snacker, I get to three o’clock and go oh I’m gonna have a scone and a cup of tea, so giving up all that stuff is hard but my level of energy is now like this as opposed to like that. I’m not having these crashes where I just want to go to sleep and I think if you’re going through menopause especially your body’s already battling with your hormones you need to nutritionally support that.

Jenna:
Absolutely and doing as you were as an actress and an executive producer as well now, it must have been hard going through menopause doing those sorts of roles where you’re in front of the camera.

Rebecca:
I’d had a bit of weight gain but I’m also a pragmatist and I kind of don’t want to be on a diet for the rest of my life I don’t. I am someone that’s quite moderate, I like my chocolate, I like my glass of wine, I like a bit of this, I like a bit of that, so I was just like making sure that when I was filming I was just trying to be making sure I wasn’t reaching for that glass of wine every night. I’d go home and I’d be like right it’s Friday night I’m gonna have a glass of wine – setting yourself goals you know.

And again aging for me, I have had Botox I’ve had every facial treatment. I’m the worst person because you could put the product in front of me and say this is gonna be great for your crepey skin on your arms and I’m like right I’ll buy it.

I just love products for that sort of stuff but I’m trying to look after myself internally now yeah and not sweat the small stuff.

I’ve also lost friends as we get older friends pass away people get sick. I’ve lost quite a few friends in the last few years and so it’s really made me even more determined to just be very present and what I’m doing and make the most of the day.

Jenna:
I think that’s beautiful and you do that. You can read that because we live in this world where we’ve got social media now don’t we and you have that amazing Instagram account and you don’t mind laughing at yourself, you don’t mind just being real it’s like a ray of sunshine.

Rebecca:
Oh thanks. You know I’m the youngest of six children, I grew up and actually, I spent a lot of time in the Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand so I grew up youngest of six children and so I always I spent a lot of time on my own too because my brothers and sisters were that much older but something about growing up in New Zealand in amongst a big family it really levels you out as well and Kiwis are so… they’re pragmatist they’re very down-to-earth they do anything for you. I’m just very lucky that I grew up in this country that’s made a huge difference.

Jenna:
That’s so nice because you do you live between Australia and New Zealand now or do you?

Rebecca:
I actually live, we live, in New Zealand. We moved back to New Zealand in 2017 and I live here, we live in Dunedin and I go back to Australia all the time on jobs and it is a second home because I’ve probably spent more in my life in Australia than I have here and my closest friends in the world are in Australia but I just feel very lucky that I can bounce between the two and I’m a Caussie. I’m an Australian citizen but I’m New Zealand by birth and New Zealand citizen obviously so I’m a Caussie bit of both.

Jenna:
So you get choices

Rebecca:
I do which is awesome

Jenna:
Yeah it is really, I love Australia as well, we work with both Australia and New Zealand as well. So to wrap up because I know you’re a busy lady, you’ve given out so many little gems anyway but if there was a standout suggestion you would give to someone maybe who’s struggling with menopause and who’s struggling with growing older and the changes that can bring, what would you say?

Rebecca:
I would say don’t fight it. Aging is a privilege, we are living in a society where there’s so much devastation going on. People are losing homes, losing their lives, and mental health is at an all-time low. I think aging is a privilege, there is no one on the planet like you, we are all so unique and be your authentic self. Do not be afraid to stop being people pleasers, because a lot of women are people pleasers, they spend their lives being the best mother, the best wife, the best whatever. Stop it, give it up, just go I am who I am. Embrace that seriously let go of the image that we look (once menopause hits) that’s it I’m not sexy, I’m not this anymore, it’s rubbish, it’s absolute rubbish. I’m still sexy, I’m still out there doing stuff that was another reason that I wanted Daisy to go through menopause but still be sexy, still be attractive. We are still very vital if anything. We’ve got more to offer as we get older than what we did when we were younger because we’re more in control of who we are. So my advice mostly is just be your authentic self. There is no one else on the planet like you, love yourself, take care of yourself, go buy yourself the ice cream, go and have a facial, go and have a massage, take yourself for a walk, be your own best friend. That’s probably my best bit of advice I could give you.

Jenna:
I think that’s beautiful advice thank you so much for joining us.

Rebecca:
You’re welcome, thanks for having me.

Women On Fire® is sponsored by MenoMe®
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We’re honoured you joined us and hope you enjoyed it. If you did, we would be grateful if you would leave us a 5-star review wherever you listen to your podcasts so we can reach as many women as possible with Women On Fire®.

If you would like to contribute to Women On Fire® please contact jenna@meno-me.com for more information.

Welcome to the Women On Fire® Podcast. We’re on a mission to help you have your best menopause and rest of your life.

I’m your host, Jenna Moore. I’m an accredited integrative health and menopause coach and I’ve studied nutritional awareness, women’s hormones through a functional medicine lens and explored various modalities including breath work, mindset and positive psychology.

Join me and my guests as we discuss how to navigate the natural life transition of menopause and growing older. From waistlines, waning libidos and what to wear now we’re over 40 we discuss it all.

Women On Fire® is sponsored by MenoMe®, a New Zealand based company by women for women. MenoMe® specialises in evidence-based, all-natural supplements so you can experience freedom in menopause.

Disclaimer: Our Mini Pause’s are for information purposes only. They come from a holistic vantage point and from collating (often conflicting) scientific data if it’s available. They should not take the place of medical advice.

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Post-menopause


This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.

Perimenopause

Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.