Reba McEntire’s new ABC Television series “Malibu Country” is all about new beginnings, something the Country Music Hall of Famer knows well. But her forays into musical theater, movies and television are less about ambition and more about the pursuit of flat-out fun.
“I don’t think I wanted to go into television to reinvent myself,” says the Oklahoma-born rancher’s daughter. “I thought it would be fun. I didn’t go to Broadway to reinvent myself: I watched Annie Get Your Gun and I said, ‘I’ve got to get on that stage.’”
Reba credits the support of husband/manager Narvel Blackstock for much of the success—and happiness—she’s experienced during her 37-year career (her tally so far: two Grammy Awards and seven gold and five platinum albums). With five grandchildren between them, the couple’s family life is almost as busy as their work life. Reba took a time-out from both to talk to Spry about holiday traditions (her first public performance was “Away in a Manger” as a first-grader, after all), what makes her happy, and more.
Spry: What are your holiday traditions?
Reba: Because our family is growing, with grandchildren, in-laws and all that, we do tend to bend to make everybody a part of our tradition, or we bend a little bit by going with theirs. But on Christmas Eve night, we always watch Chevy Chase in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” In the morning, we sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and open presents. We also have a big dinner.
Spry: They say laughter is the best medicine. Are you funny in real life?
Reba: I think I’m funny, but the things I’m funny at are usually not meant to be funny. I say my line and everyone laughs, and I am looking around, like, “That wasn’t supposed to be funny.” I don’t know if it is my accent or my delivery. I have no idea.
Spry: When you’re in a bad mood, what do you do to get out of it?
Reba: I think of people who are in harder situations than I am—that gives me a kick in the butt and makes me realize how fortunate I am.
Spry: With everything on your plate, how do you maintain your energy?
Reba: I try to stay healthy—that’s the number-one thing. If you don’t feel good, you don’t want to do anything. I eat right, exercise and try to get 8 or 9 hours of sleep at night. My dad had triple bypass surgery in 1987, and he’s diabetic. My mother has high cholesterol, so those are things I watch out for.
Spry: What do you do to stay active?
Reba: I’ve always been an exercise person: I played basketball and ran track when I was in school. Now, when I’m in a hotel room or anywhere else, I get on the floor and do Pilates.
Spry: What’s your secret to aging well?
Reba: Accept it and carry it proudly. In March, I will turn 58—I’m proud of that. I’m proud that I can do the things I do physically and mentally.
Spry: What did you ask Santa for this year?
Reba: I love everything about my life right now. I just wish I had more time in the day. I love my job; I love my activities. My family is all doing very well, so I am a happy camper.