The Shape I'm Inhealth: TV3's Muireann O'Connell on loving her 30s

TV and radio presenter Muireann O’Connell joins a long line of women who’ve thrived in their 30s. However, as a younger woman, she wasn’t convinced by what the hype, writes Irene Feighan

The Shape I'm Inhealth: TV3's Muireann O'Connell on loving her 30s

“When I was in my 20s and even in my teens I’d read these magazines with celebrities like Halle Berry or Cameron Diaz saying: ‘I love being in my 30s’, ‘I feel so powerful’, ‘I’m sure of who I am’. I thought it was such bullshit. Then I turned 30 and I’ve never been happier because you are more self-assured, you do know who you are a little more and you’re not as afraid of giving your opinion or sticking to your guns. It’s a good decade,” she says.

Making the most of the power decade, the 34-year-old, who is from Limerick, is working six days a week, holding down two jobs.

She has a show on Today FM on Saturdays, covering for colleagues whenever needed, and presents the Six O’Clock Show five days a week. It’s a hectic schedule but she is not about to moan, generously giving credit to the “amazing” hardworking team at TV3.

There’s also not as much as a whiff of resting on her broadcasting laurels. She acknowledges that she’s “ambitious to better” herself, but when it comes to making changes she believes in the wisdom of Yoda from Star Wars who preaches: ‘Do or do not... there is no try’.

“I think about trying all the time and actually, it’s just the doing that I need to start.”

What shape are you in?

Not the best. I’ve kinda let myself get to an age where I haven’t been doing too much and I greatly regret it. I recently signed up for a month’s unlimited pilates and yoga classes to see if I’m going to do it because I’m one of those people who has joined the gym numerous times and then never actually used the place. I walk whenever possible.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I’ve given up processed and readymade foods. I cannot cook so I depended on readymeals for years. But recently I said right it’s time to stop doing that and I have really noticed the difference. I’ve dropped a little weight and I’m not as sluggish.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Cheese. I eat wedges of brie.

What would keep you awake at night?

I’ve always been a very bad sleeper. If you’ve got busy days you find yourself up at five in the morning and you can’t get to sleep the next night — that could go on for a few days. Once I get to sleep I could sleep for days.

How you relax?

I read, watch TV or go for a walk. The last thing that I really, really loved was Line of Duty. One book that I just adore at the moment is What A Complete Aisling. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

What is your favourite smell?

Turf. It reminds me of Kerry, going to collect the turf in the summer and being thrown up on the back of a trailer. My mum is from Cromane just outside Killorglin and my father is from Caherdaniel. It also reminds me of being at home with my family because we’d always get to bring the turf from Kerry up to Limerick.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

Everything but I won’t. I hated my ears when I was 15. I’ve got real O’Connell ears, they are big and they stick out. My mother once called my bluff and said ‘for your 16th birthday we’ll get them pinned back’. It scared me so much.

When it the last time you cried?

Probably last night. I cry all the time. Anything can set me off . I’ve been an avid fan of Grey’s Anatomy for years and I will cry at least three times during an episode.

What traits do you least like in others?

Insular narcissism. Everyone has an element of narcissism which is fine but [now] everything has to relate to the individual before they can understand it. It is something that’s becoming pervasive and it’s a little bit worrying because if you are talking about any of the social issues of the day just because it doesn’t happen to you or effect you doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t matter to you.

What traits do you least like in yourself?

Insular narcissism. I canbe jealous of things and situations and of people’s intellect and their humanity and I hate that. I wish I didn’t feel that emotion and I do.

Do you pray?

I do. It’s been a habit since I was really young. I shared a bedroom with my big sister Deirdre and she always made me say my prayers at night.

What would cheer up your day?

A funny message from a friend. Or someone sending something stupid on the group text. And a cup of tea — Barry’s. My Cork cousins have me sorted on that one. Irene Feighan

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