Amanda Billing's Reset magazine article Face Time Feb 2023


Doing media stuff when you've had a good gig on a tv show can be tricky sometimes. For me, anyway.

I never want to be an "oversharer", especially in a magazine that'll stay on a waiting room coffee table for months (years), but often I can't help it. It was even more complicated when magazines used to pay, then you felt like you were selling a part of yourself. Some actors are totally fine with that arrangement. I always felt weird about it. Being quoted out of context is also an occupational hazard, not to mention the drama of cover titles. You know the kind: "Tears" "Agony" and so on. 

In a way, I've been spared a bunch of PR agony (but not real life agony) by not getting married or having children. Inevitably, some magazines have asked about how I feel about my body or getting older but I've always managed to direct conversations towards things further out of range, beyond the easy targets of romantic relationships and motherhood. You'd have to offer me a lot of money now to talk about those, my thoughts and feelings about them being the most personal, private, and poignant things I own. I hold them close.

There are, however, certain deeper things that I will gladly talk about and do so often with my best friends (and total strangers). Things in the realm of philosophy, concerning the deepest kinds of human connection.  The Herald on Sunday's Reset mag does a thing called Face Time, where they send you a series of questions and you chat on the phone or write the answers yourself. The questions are wonderful, really. Probing. Substantial. They invite you to think about what you think. 

I'm in season 2 of Under The Vines on TVNZ and was asked to do participate in Face Time in early February. It took me a week to write my answers because this is a kind of publicity I hadn't done in a long time. The questions matter and I wanted to choose my words carefully but also have some fun. I found the process really enjoyable and, mercifully, they published my words without changing anything major. I'll even give them a pass for leading with "suffering" in the online version lol.

Here's what I sent to them. I hope you find something to relate to in it and perhaps something to make you smile, some consolation, or a balm if you're having a rough time. And as you can see from the images in this blog, I've begun to realise an ambition...

Amanda Billing in her studio, by Katie Fell (with her camera)


I feel my best when I: have had a good night’s sleep, when I drink enough water, when I hug my favourite people, when I’m working purposefully and getting paid. Great hair also helps (thanks ASC Salon, if I’m allowed to name-drop my mates).

This is what I do to keep fit and healthy: Look, full disclosure, a lot of the time I’m inconsistent with both exercise and nutrition so I’m not going to make it sound like I actually “do” anything. But in an ideal week I would walk to my studio often, I would do body weight stuff and some yoga, I’d get in the ocean, and I’d eat an omnivorous diet featuring a lot of red meat, fish, dairy, and veggies I can enjoy raw. There’d be ice cold lager in there somewhere and biscuits. Plus a trip to Ponsonby Food Court. Oh, and zinc and vitamin d.

This is what I do to keep mentally and emotionally healthy:

Every single thing I’ve said so far. In addition: I remember to breathe. I talk about my deepest thoughts and feelings with a handful of key people in my life. I stay creative. I avoid trolls and drama on social media like the plague (are we allowed to say that now?). I watch a lot of animal videos on Instagram. I try to see the funny side of things without getting cancelled. I listen to the advice I give other people.

The best advice I've ever been given about life is:

Controversial, but: “If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.” Read it again. This is not passivity, a lack of responsibility, or about giving up. It’s acknowledging that moving forward requires an openness to something potentially unrecognisable. It implies that what you’ve done before (if you’ve been here before) hasn’t worked and you - honestly, now - have no idea what’s really going on. It allows resolutions to problems to come from other quarters. It can help you see that a need for certainty or control could be part of your problem.

If I wasn’t an actor, I would be an: art teacher. 

I’d like more: tolerance.

I’d like less: hypocrisy. And fewer sexbots liking my Instagram stories.

I’d describe myself as: an extroverted introvert who’s arty yet politically homeless.

As I get older, I realise: life is incredible and grief is the price we pay for loving anything.

My favourite memory is: my childhood home and my upbringing in the 1980s and 90s in Masterton. I’m very nostalgic for everything about growing up pre-internet in a small town.

The person who has had the biggest impact on my life is (and why): my entire family, in particular my mum and dad. They’ve always been my supporters and guides. I admire them enormously and I strive to be a chip off the old (sorry!) blocks.

What people don’t know about me is: I have pins in my left hand from the last hockey game I ever played.

I've suffered from imposter syndrome in the past and this is what I learnt from it: What do you mean “in the past” lol. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, actually. It’s part of the deal if you want to grow in confidence doing something you love, so get used to it. Pay it close attention because it’s telling you what really matters to you. It’s pushing you to be honest. It’s asking for courage. It’s reminding you to do your best.

When the going gets tough, this is what I tell myself: “Is this really what I want to be doing?” And if it is, “Stay in it, babes, we can get through this! Also…do I need some help?”

An ambition of mine is: shoot portraits for magazines.

My work ethic consists of: working very hard on other people’s projects, procrastinating about my own, thriving under pressure, and working on Sundays because I don’t like Sundays. 

On Sundays you’ll find me: at my studio, drawing, reading, and eating biscuits while thinking about dinner and trying not to drink too much coffee.

My best life hack is not even a life hack but here goes: 

Ditch any app/platform that allows you to hire-purchase your clothes online. You know the ones. Get them off your phone, out of your keychain, and close your accounts. Instead, buy things on lay-by (NOT the other one), with cash even, from a bricks and mortar store. It’s financially hygienic, it’ll make you appreciate your possessions, and the social contact is good for everyone. 


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