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Me and my health: Actress Jo Donnelly on her lifestyle

By Helen Carson

Published 22/12/2015

Acting role: Jo Donnelly dressed up for her part in Rumpelstiltskin
Acting role: Jo Donnelly dressed up for her part in Rumpelstiltskin
Cat nap: Jo Donnelly has no problem with her sleep

The 39-year-old lives in Belfast with her partner, actor Marty Maguire. She plays the lead role in the Mac's production of Rumpelstiltskin.

Q: Do you taker regular exercise - and if so what?

A: It depends whether I'm working or not. But when I have time, I play tennis once a week for two to three hours. I had played tennis previously but it is something I have gone back to and I am completely and utterly hooked.

Q: What's been the worst illness you have had?

A: I developed a bad back when I was 25. It started off as sciatica and progressively became an ongoing condition. At one stage, it did affect my ability to work but it is under control now thanks to medication and exercise. I have treatment every week to manage it.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I try really hard to eat healthy food, but I love cheese. I don't discriminate against any type of cheese, they all taste good, but Roquefort is one of my favourites.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I started smoking too many years ago - I can't tell you when as my mother may be reading this. Longer than is good for me.

Q: Do you drink - and if so how much?

A: I do but in moderation. Red wine is my tipple and I do like a gin and tonic occasionally. I am a social drinker and enjoy having a glass of wine on a night out with the girls - I don't really drink at home.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I take a tonic called Metatone every morning. My sister recommended it to me as she has always been very sporty. A tonic is useful especially when I am working constantly the way I am now - it gives you an energy boost. I also take Berocca, a multi-vitamin and Echinacea everyday - the latter helps me keep colds at bay particularly at this time of the year.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: As an actor I often find myself with time on my hands - it's the nature of the business - occasionally I have no other choice. Fortunately, though, I have been very lucky for the past few years and I have been very busy. Once I finish Rumpelstiltskin at the Mac I will have some time off then I will be working again in the New Year. Marty is playing the Dame in panto (Little Red Riding Hood at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh) too at the minute, so our house is chaotic. I am an avid reader. When I'm working I read fluff and when I'm not it will be something more thoughtful. I always have my Kindle or books with me wherever I am. My nieces have gotten me into all those dreadful vampire books recently.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: When I finish work I go to bed at 10.30pm and I'm up at 7.30am to start work again as I have a couple of shows a day. Generally I sleep very well.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: The idea of getting older hasn't even crossed my mind. I will be 40 in June and I honestly cannot wait for it. I think my mother is more worried about it than me. I don't see turning 40 as a milestone birthday, it is a time to embrace your life and be grateful. I think it is time to get on with it and I certainly intend to enjoy it.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: There is nothing better than walking my two Yorkshire terriers Murphy and Mabel up on Black Mountain. Murphy was a rescue dog and Mabel was a puppy who was the runt of the litter and I was happy to give her a home. They get out for a run and then we get home and have a cuddle - they are my furry babies. Once when I had to go away for work, I felt so bad about leaving them I booked them into a dogs' hotel which had its own hydropool.

  • Rumpelstiltskin runs at the Mac until Jan 3. Visit for tickets and show times

Belfast Telegraph

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