As supermarket cashier on the run Lola Buckley, Rebecca Gibney plays a single mum both resourceful and headstrong on the drama Wanted. Now as the show returns to Seven on June 5, Lola is tracking down the bad guys in Thailand and Gibney could not be happier. "The great thing about season two is that we wanted to explore Lola's vulnerabilities and of course that is her Achilles heel, her son," Gibney tells WHO. "And then to give Chelsea (Geraldine Hakewill) the opportunity to grow more, because she starts having to look after Lola in certain situations, we just have more and more layers to both of them."
An executive producer as well as one of the lead actors, Gibney, 52, created Wanted with her husband Richard Bell, 53, to be more than a typical suspense series. "It's a rollicking road adventure," Gibney says, "but ultimately it's an uncommon love story about two women, and it's not a sexual love story. It's just two women who love each other despite their differences and everything that's hurled at them."
The gritty part has provided Gibney with an entryway into a new part of her career. "I've had some interesting roles sent to me recently," she says, "scripts for feature films that are vastly different. I think that's really lovely to know that people don't just see me as a Julie Rafter or a Jane Halifax. They can actually see that I can play a few different types of things and that I'm willing to take risks."
Gibney adds, "I think people know now that whatever a role calls for, I'll give it a go and I'm not concerned with how I look or sound. I want to challenge myself as an actor and I think as an older actor, I have more to offer now than I did 20 years ago."
For one upcoming part she cannot disclose, Gibney has started a fitness and diet plan designed to lose 10 kg and has joined a gym in New Zealand, where she and her family have relocated since May 2016, to help with the process. "I haven't been to the gym for years," she concedes, "but what I've noticed is it actually does make me feel better, so that's good."
Thinking back on a previous role, Gibney says, "It's like when I had to get fat for Mental. The job prompted me to do that. That wasn't so hard — that was a lot easier than getting healthy. But I think I'm now at that age where it's 'use it or lose it.'"
A key aide in her efforts is living in Queenstown, New Zealand. "I'm a pretty average skier, but I really love it," Gibney says. "It's my new favourite thing. So skiing and hiking. I love putting a pack on my back and disappearing up a mountain somewhere."
Further, she says, "there are amazing hikes around New Zealand, around where we live, so I'm walking a lot more and yes, eating better."
All of the work, both on and off screen, has made Gibney more reflective. "I think I'm way more mindful of every day," she says. "I'm 52 now. I've lost friends in the last few years and I've recognised how fragile life is and how fleeting it can be, so I've become very aware of making the most of every single moment."
To read more about Rebecca, pick up the latest issue of WHO on newsstands today.