Recording artist and actor Jolene O’Hara, from Belfast, sings on White Ribbon, the song Women’s Aid ABCLN, Northern Ireland Opera and the Ulster Orchestra have released as a collaborative anthem. Co-written by pianist Ruth McGinley and Duke Special, the song reflects the voices and experience of women affected by domestic abuse. Jolene’s partner is Raymond Walsh.
Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?
A: I do like to take regular exercise and keep as active as possible. I am a fan of cardio and love Shaun T’s Insanity Workouts. They’re only 30 minutes but they give your metabolism a kick start. I’m also trying to up my weight training as I haven’t been as dedicated to that. Jericho Matthews’ ‘Morning Meltdown’ workouts are great for this. I love going on mountain walks or being down at the beach by the water.
Q: What is the worst illness you’ve had?
A: I used to suffer really badly from sinus infections every couple of months. As a performer, that’s not good at all. Your job is super physical and not being able to sing with an infection is awful. You feel so incapacitated. Thankfully, I worked out what the problem was, and I haven’t had a sinus infection in over three years. I work with a lot of adults and children, so I have invested in a good sinus rinse which keeps all the little germs from work at bay. It sounds horrible but I cannot recommend enough that everybody gets one.
Q: How healthy is your diet?
A: I can’t lie, over lockdown, it hasn’t been as healthy as usual. I’ve eaten tonnes and tonnes of cheese and onion Tayto crisps and have probably had a bit too much to drink. However, as things start to open up again, I’ve got my diet back on track and I feel I’m pretty healthy most of the time. I love turkey and basically live on stir fries and fajitas. I still love a cheeky Nando’s or a Chinese at the weekend though. I’ve also found these lovely protein yogurts that are the best snack. Graham’s and Lindahls yogurts are tasty and not expensive, and you get lots of protein from them.
Q: Any bad habits?
A: Crisps, particularly cheese and onion Tayto, are my Kryptonite. I could eat the whole of a large multipack in one sitting easily. I try to steer clear of them if I’m recording the next day - the poor sound engineers! Staying up late is a really bad habit for me too. I have severe FOMO and there is absolutely no reason for me to stay up so late.
Q: Do you drink and smoke? If so, how much?
A: I don’t smoke at all. I tried it once to see what all the fuss was about and thought it was disgusting. I don’t get it at all! I love a drink, however! Usually, as my profession requires me to be in top physical and vocal form all the time, I’m pretty good at sticking to my limit. But, like a lot of people I’m sure, I do go over my limit sometimes on special occasions and end up feeling rotten the next day. I love red wine, but my teeth and lips go black quite quickly from red wine, so I only drink it in front of my nearest and dearest.
Q: Do you take any supplements?
A: I do take multivitamin and mineral tablets, Viridian. They’re brilliant, especially when I’m feeling under the weather. I also take some omega oil supplements as I’m not a big fish fan and need that to look after my joints that are slowly but surely beginning to creak. I sometimes find that I lack energy and try to get as much vitamin D from the sun and B12 into my diet as possible.
Q: How do you take time out?
A: I love to go for a walk to chill out and get away from all the small stresses of the day. It’s good to clear out all the cobwebs and silly worrying thoughts. I also love watching a good series with my other half. Our latest watches were Ru Paul’s Drag Race and Line of Duty. Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the wee Donkey, they were entertaining!
Q: How well do you sleep?
A: When I’m busy, I sleep really well and don’t usually have any issues. But, when I have a couple of weeks off from a job, I do struggle sometimes and can be awake all night. But I think that’s mostly because I end up spending way less energy throughout the day and have too much left over. I often try to do a little bit of writing or catch up on some work that I’ve put off and, a lot of the time, I’m more productive during the night than in the day.
Q: Do you worry about getting old?
A: I do worry about getting old, but only because I fear my body and mind will break down before I’m ready for it to happen. I think your health is your biggest asset and fortune in life. Our body and mind are the most important things and allow us to do everything in life! Self-care is of the utmost importance. I know a lot of people can see this as just being selfish and, yes, there is a thin line, but to ignore what your body and mind need is disastrous.
Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?
A: Water, water and more water. There is nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold glass of water! I try to drink at least a pint of water as soon as I wake up which gets me ready for the day! It is the only thing that truly works to keep your skin and hair looking healthy and your body functioning properly.
White Ribbon is available for download on Spotify, iTunes and other digital media with proceeds supporting Women’s Aid ABCLN. You can watch the live performance on YouTube. More details on Jolene’s Instagram page: @jolene_o_hara or visit ffm.to/whiteribbon to download White Ribbon. To make a donation supporting Women’s Aid ABCLN visit www.justgiving.com/womensaidabcln