No, not really, far from it.
How much do you think the cameras being there change your behaviour?
I suppose by series three, we were pretty much pros, everyone’s just like ‘whatever, let’s just do what we gotta do. Let ’em see us!’ You can see the difference, that we’ve grown, in terms of the first one to number three. We’ve evolved and I think you can see that. In the moment, sometimes you just can’t — part of you is thinking ‘oh, people are going to be watching this’, but at the end of the day, if you’re going to do it, do it right, do it real. Otherwise it defeats the purpose. By the time the third series came we sort of knew the cameras were there, but it didn’t stop us from doing our thing.
Were your daughters all on board with the show from the start?
We all participated in the first series, and then it was a matter of: we’ve been approached again, if you want to participate you can; if you don’t, if you feel it’s not for you, or your life’s too busy, then you don’t have to. So I’ve got eight out of nine daughters in series two and three.
And in the third series, there’s a new grandchild joining the brood.
Yeah, it’s a beautiful episode, absolutely beautiful. One of my favourites — but they’re all my favourites. Who would not love to see a beautiful child enter the world? It’s a nice one.
So you still get excited about a new baby coming along, you’re not like, ‘ah, just another child’?
Oh no! Because it doesn’t matter how many, you know – I’m talking from experience – you know that someone’s going to come into the family, and you see this beautiful child, and you get to meet them, and it’s another unique experience. You never get tired of seeing a new baby being welcomed into the family. And you can never get tired of seeing the faces of the siblings of that child, if they have siblings. I feel blessed to be able to look back on that in many years to come.
Do you enjoy watching yourself on TV?
No. I’m not really good for looking at myself, because you pick up all your little flaws. But it’s like a home video – but better, with a storyline. In a few more years, I’m able to look back at it and my grandchildren can say ‘oh, that’s what Nana was like!’
What is it that you think other people love watching about you and your family?
I think it’s something that everybody can relate to in some form. Even if you haven’t got a large family, some of the topics that we cover anybody can relate to. And it gives a sense of “I’m not alone” as well. But also we do have a bit of entertainment, how we are as a family, and I think that we have this uncanny way of being with each other, and that’s how we’ve learnt to come together and lift each other up through the way that we communicate with each other.
Do you see yourself as a role model?
I’m a firm believer that we are role models to our children, and our children look to us. So I see myself as a role model ultimately for my own children, and then of course I do believe that many people would see me as a role model. I don’t say, “I’m a role model”, I don’t self-declare, but I suppose I can be looked at as one. But I’m foremost my own children’s role model.
Certainly, besides you all being great fun to watch, there’s an educational aspect to the show as well.
I think it’s an opportunity to address the inconsistent myths out there, and it’s an opportunity to put a stop to some assumptions as well.
You get a real sense in the show of the importance to you of your Aboriginal heritage. Was it really important to you to showcase that?
I think so, because I like to see similarities — we’re all similar, so when people look at the show, as I said, people can relate to it, there’s topics that everyone can relate to. What makes us different and unique is our Aboriginality, that we embrace. So although we have similarities, we embrace our differences, and we share that — we share some of our experiences with the wider community.
Family Rules (season 3) premieres on NITV, Sunday, July 5, 7.30pm.