Ginny & Georgia has officially made its return to Netflix, and Season 2 takes viewers through each character’s innermost thoughts, offering a new perspective on multiple relatable mental health topics. When it comes to Brianne Howey’s character, Georgia, fans learn even more about her backstory, including her history with panic attacks and what exactly she survived when she was a young single mother. Here, Howey tells Wondermind how her mental fitness routine helps her film tough episodes (there’s no shortage of those this season) and the best lessons from therapy and her mother.
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WM: How are you doing lately?
Brianne Howey: I'm doing really well. It's a very special time right now. This industry is often feast or famine, and right now we're in the feast, and it's been a lot of fun.
WM: Ginny & Georgia deals with a lot of mental health themes, from anxiety to self-harm, medication, and more. As a mental health advocate, what's it like being on the set of a series that doesn't shy away from these topics?
BH: It's such a privilege. When I was growing up, there weren't shows that talked about the nuance of these subjects. It's intimidating, and there's a responsibility that goes along with it, but as an actor, it's also a dream come true because there's so much catharsis in the process as an actor and also for the viewers. At the end of the day, if you're lucky enough, that's why you do it. [As] actors, it's our job to be empathetic. To have a show and a character where there is so much to play with and so many difficult subjects that people can identify with that hopefully helps alleviate some of what they're going through—it's art and argument.
WM: What helps you decompress after filming an emotionally heavy episode?
BH: That is tough; it tends to linger. In general, my emotions tend to linger. They’re still a little bit sticky afterward for me, even in my personal life. Honestly, I will clean or organize. I'll do something physical that just gets me out of my head and probably subconsciously makes me feel like I'm in control of something. Cleaning, organizing, and baking things.
WM: You've been candid about how long it can take to see your hard work pay off in the entertainment industry, so what helps you stay motivated?
BH: First off, remembering why I do it. I feel lucky to get to be an actor. It's a unique profession; it's a unique lifestyle and a unique art. To make a career out of that, I feel really lucky, and I love it. I think that's the only thing that really helps you navigate the inconsistencies in this industry.
I [also] think a lot about other women in my life, my family members, my mom, and my grandma, and how strong they were. I rely a lot on their strength, and I always want to make my younger siblings proud and set a good example—they're definitely big motivators for me.
WM: And as someone open about going to therapy, do you mind sharing your experience finding a therapist who was the right fit for you?
BH: It's a lot like dating, and you really have to find that person that you click with, that gets you, that you feel comfortable with, that you feel safe with. It takes a few tries. I probably went to three or four before I found the woman that I've been going to for the last few years, and it's a super scary and vulnerable process. When I first got together with my boyfriend (now-husband), he was the one who encouraged me to find somebody and use it as a healthier outlet, and I'm so grateful he did. It also brought us closer because I feel like that's a huge form of love that I wasn't as used to. I just think [therapy] is a game changer in life and is incredible. Unfortunately, it's expensive, and it's a fiscal luxury for a lot of people, and I wish it wasn't.
WM: What's one of the best lessons that you've learned from therapy?
BH: I'm definitely still learning. What's interesting about therapy too is that a lot of times it feels like two steps forward, one step back. Things will come up in my life, and I'll get so frustrated telling myself like, “Brianne, we've already gone over this. I thought we already learned this lesson.” But no, that's not the way life works. That's not the way the universe works. A lot of therapy is undoing and rewiring, and that can take time. You're forming new grooves in your mental patterns, and that can be frustrating at times.
But one of the biggest [things I’ve learned] is definitely trying not to have expectations. That's something I'm always working on that's really hard. [Expectations] are everywhere [in] everything I do, which is not super productive or super helpful. I think a lot of people who are perfectionists probably could relate to that.
Something that I remember thinking before Season 2 that I was going over with my therapist was I was trying to be professional, not perfect, and it takes the pressure off. But it’s definitely the same in relationships, and I definitely have expectations of, Well, I would've responded differently and in this way. Why isn't that person responding the same way I would've? But of course they aren't—we're not the same person.
WM: What’s the best mental health advice you've ever received?
BH: I don't know if this was intended to be mental health advice, but I certainly use it as mental health advice. When my mom was struggling, she would often say, “This too shall pass.” That's just something I come back to all the time. My mom was sick, so she meant it in the physical sense, but I think it goes for all of the highs and lows of life. When things are hard, I remind myself this too shall pass. But when things are also amazing, I remind myself this too shall pass, so I better stay present and soak it up while I can.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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