The shape I’m in with Norma Sheahan: 'I could do with a little less gravity'

Esther McCarthy

A HEALTHY gut is a healthy body, as far as Cork actress Norma Sheahan is concerned, and as well as green veggie smoothies, she uses herbs, vitamins, and probiotics to keep her digestive system in optimum shape.

“I’ve discovered that “food combining” is a magic way of keeping a smooth digestive tract. A simple chart that tells you which foods digest at the same speed. This prevents a rancid pile up in the intestines. Nice!,” she says, laughing.

“In order to maintain balanced gut flora I’ve started using herbs, spices, stock, coconut oil. I also take a good quality spirulina, fish oil, vitamin C, a multivitamin/mineral, and a probiotic.”

As a working mother and successful actor, staying active, healthy, and strong is important to her — particularly as the Moone Boy and Handsome Devil star has a busy period ahead. She’s just completed filming a new series of Bridget & Eamon, and will soon appear in Amy Huberman’s new show, Finding Joy, and Sharon Horgan’s much anticipated Women on the Verge. She’s also developing a comedy called Doing Two Jobs Badly, co-produced by Blue Ink Films and Find the Light Productions, which has received development funding from Screen Ireland.

Norma is currently on the big screen in independent filmmaker Liam O Mochain’s Lost & Found, a quirky comedy/drama set around the lost & found department of a train station.

What shape are you in?

I’m in great shape! But I do work at it. Obviously, after having twins and another baby, there are wrinkles, crinkles, sags, bags, shelves, natural ageing, and trophy scars. I could do with a little less gravity. But overall I’m very happy with the shape of my body. It is true, though, that after 40 you kinda have to choose between having a face or a figure. Not many maintain both naturally.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

Ginger water. A green veggie bullet smoothie with plenty avocado, olive oil, turmeric, lemon.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

Years ago I was mad for wine and chocolate. I’m boring now. Can’t do hangovers or sugar. So it’s the odd glass of bubbly and dark 85% chocolate.

What would keep you awake at night?

Nothing, no point worrying about stuff that you can’t fix during your horizontal hours. I do love my earplugs and blackout blinds.

How do you relax?

Cinema is good because it forces me to switch off for 90 minutes. (Shameless plug; a film I’m in, ‘Lost & Found’, opened in Irish cinemas July 13.) I also enjoy a pier walk, hill climb, yoga class, swim. And to be honest I love writing and acting so much that I find them very relaxing too.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

The ‘Pull like a Dog’ brothers — Gary and Paul O’Donovan, Ellen DeGeneres; Ted Walsh; Roy Keane; SIA; Maggie Smith; Christy Moore; Graham Norton; my husband Scott, and his fantasy favourite — Natalie Portman.

What’s your favourite smell?

Lavender, it’s calming. I grab a fist of it every time I pass a bush, and I rub it between my fingers, then I inhale the smell and rub the oil around my nostrils. Yep, weird.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

Apart from ideally wanting a completely new head, if I was to work with what I have, I think I should smile more. Most people are beautiful when they think happy thoughts. I’ve started skin-tightening with @skinessentialsbymariga (skinessentialsbymariga). It’s called the Pyramid-Facelift (micro-needling combined with radio-frequency). This is not invasive. Mariga is a genius, she uses natural anti-ageing methods from Divine-Pro to stimulate collagen for a smoother, fresher face.

When is the last time you cried?

I did cry at the end of a yoga class the other evening when we were doing the lying down sleepy bit. No idea why. I think the instructor said something kind. Just two little pools of water sitting on my shut eyes. It’s a great release though.

What traits do you least like in others?

Nasty comments. Deliberately hurtful digs. Rug-pulling remarks. Words can imprint on someone’s life template and can be tricky to shift.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I tried to give up bitching and moaning completely, but I got bored. So now I limit it as much as possible. It’s a lot easier to be negative than to be positive. Positivity has to be practised.

My mum’s remedy would be to get “glammed up” and everything will seem better. My dad says, “Stop feckin‘ thinking and start feckin‘ doing”, which I’ve quoted many times. Also as a working mum, multitasking is something I’m guilty of. I’m writing a comedy feature film about it at the moment to work it out of my system.

Do you pray?

No. I just breathe deeply through exercise. And I try to be kind and grateful. Instead of praying for stuff, I visualise my goals, plan my successful outcome, and watch it unfold. Conceive-Believe-Achieve. If things don’t work out it’s usually because my old negative thoughts patterns and habits block them.

What would cheer up your day?

I’m not the most tactile but I do adore hugs from my kids. Exercise or dancing cheers me up, definitely releases endorphins. I get a mad buzz when I receive a message about the next job, shoot, voiceover, audition. Love the work! 


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