I was recently on the cover of S Magazine (Sunday supplement in the Sunday Express). In the interview (which also appeared in the Sunday Mirror), I talk about acting, Ageless and how I overcame anxiety with a very special breathing exercise, alongside some other techniques
I’m posting the interview here as some people were not able to access it.
In the interview I mention a video I made of the breathing exercises. It’s been one of the most watched videos on the Ageless by Glynis Barber Youtube channel.
You can watch it by clicking on this link:
With her bright blue eyes, glowing skin and honey blonde hair, it’s hard to believe Glynis Barber is 68 years old.
Thanks to a healthy diet, YouTube yoga classes and guided meditations, the actress still looks as vibrant as she did when she shot to fame on Dempsey And Makepeace in 1985. And she’s still filming action scenes for TV – she currently stars in Hollyoaks as gangland queen Norma Crow.
“Norma’s my first gangster,” laughs Glynis, “but I do get quite feisty characters! It came out of the blue, but it was such a lovely offer as they wanted me to play this real badass.”
Glynis, who has also starred in Emmerdale as detective DCI Grace Barraclough, and in EastEnders as matriarch Glenda Mitchell, joined the cast of Hollyoaks in 2022. “Norma’s a bit more mellow now but when she first came in, she was such a terror,” she says. “Men would quake in their boots. It was such fun coming in as a mature woman and terrifying everybody!”
Glynis is thrilled to still be winning strong, exciting roles instead of playing a greying granny. However, acting isn’t all she does. For a decade, she’s also been building her wellness brand and website, Ageless by Glynis Barber.
The business came about when fans started bombarding her with questions about her skincare and fitness regime. She set up Ageless to share her knowledge. It’s something she’s been practising sensibly for decades, well before stars like Gwyneth Paltrow started encouraging people to steam their vaginas and be stung by bees in the name of therapy.
“Health and wellbeing have been a hobby of mine since my late twenties,” says Glynis. “Everyone’s doing it now but when I started, people thought I was weird. When I started eating organically, people laughed at me.”
On her journey, Glynis has learnt a lot, but the thing she recommends above all others is exercise. “People are always looking for a magic pill,” she says. “I’ve always said, ‘There is one, and it’s called exercise.’”
Pre-pandemic, Glynis would visit the gym up to four times a week. These days, she does yoga and weights at home, using fitness videos online. “Sitting is the new smoking,” she says. “Even if you get up and exercise in the morning, if you’re then sitting in your chair for the rest of the day, it’s really bad for you. I always say get up and go. If you’re just getting up for a cup of tea, walk around the kitchen!”
Ageless isn’t just about looks – Glynis’ most popular posts are about conquering anxiety. “I began to experience anxiety in 2016,” she shares. “There were a lot of changes in my personal life and a lot of things were happening outside my control, and that triggered it. I think I had bouts earlier but I didn’t recognise it for what it was. Anxiety is a very difficult thing to deal with. My heart goes out to anybody who suffers with it because I know how it feels. I don’t have anxiety at the moment but you never know when something will trigger it.”
Glynis is in a calm and happy place right now, but she still takes her mental health seriously. “It’s incredibly important,” she says. “In recent years, there’s been an explosion of anxiety, panic attacks and stress. At the very least, I think most people are stressed. I guard my mental health.”
As well as exercising and eating healthily, Glynis also does a breathing technique daily. She’s posted a video guide on her website for free, to help others. “I started practising it daily, sometimes multiple times a day if I was really stressed,” she reveals. “If you do it before bed, it calms down your nervous system and almost works like a sleeping pill.”
Meditation helps too, and she uses apps to help clear her mind. “I used to meditate on my own but now I use meditation apps. They’ve made it so easy,” she says.
Glynis is still married to her Dempsey And Makepeace co-star Michael Brandon, who she fell in love with on set and went on to marry in 1989. They have a son together and are looking forward to a family Christmas. “I’ll be at home with my husband, my son Alexander and my little dog Gigi,” says Glynis, who loves the magic of Christmas morning the most. My favourite part is waking up and sitting round the tree with mugs of tea and coffee and taking turns to open a present. Then having a lovely breakfast like pancakes with berries, nuts and maple syrup, followed by a dog walk while the turkey is in the oven.”
Glynis will be cooking, but Michael and Alexander will have to tackle the washing up! On Dempsey And Makepeace, Glynis and Michael’s chemistry saw them win enormous ratings. After 34 years of marriage, the pair are still very much in love and credit their shared sense of humour with keeping their marriage strong.
“Michael and I have always argued and disagreed about things,” says Glynis. “But we have a strong shared sense of humour. He’s very funny. We both like to laugh and see the ridiculousness in things. The other thing is that neither of us are quitters. You get some people whose response, the moment there’s any problem in a relationship, is to run away from the situation. Michael and I are both quite tenacious.”
With Alexander now in his thirties, is Glynis ready to be a grandmother? “I’d love it if it happened,” she says. “I can’t think of anything better.”
But she’s not ready to let go of her glamorous side, even if it opened up different acting roles. “If I became a wrinkled old granny, I’d probably get a lot of work,” she muses. “There are all those parts for elderly women. But I’m just me. I have a vested interest in staying healthy and well and, as a woman, I want to look good!”
Link to article
You can read the original interview on the Mirror website.