JUNE RODGERS celebrates 25 years in the entertainment industry this year with her nationwide tour, ‘In the Merry Month of June’.
June, 55, is one of Ireland’s top comic performers and first came to prominence in John Player Tops. Her film work includes Agnes Browne with Angelica Houston, On the Nose with Robbie Coletraine, One Step Back starring Patrick Bergin and Mrs Brown D’Movie with Brendan O’Carroll.
Her TV work includes a guest appearance in the 2009 series of RTÉ medical drama The Clinic. “I was a nurse in one of the scenes. I was supposed to be giving the doctor the eye. It was a great opportunity because I was a huge Clinic fan,” she says.
June met her truck driver husband while doing a show. “I was a character selling cheap bananas. Every night, I threw a banana out to the audience — who should catch it but Peter. That was 20 years ago — we’re married 18.”
The couple don’t have children. “I was older when I married — 38. The first few years, you’re still in the honeymoon phase. In your 40s, you think ‘maybe I’m too old’. Now people have children at 44, but 18 years ago people thought ‘hmmm, that’s a bit old’.”
June has “three beautiful nieces” and she’s like a second mother to them.
She and Peter live in a 120-year-old granite cottage in Firhouse in South Dublin. “There’s a huge garden at the back — it’s a little haven.”
‘In the Merry Month of June’ is at UCH Limerick (June 5); Cork Opera House (June 6); Wexford Opera House (June 11); The Royal Theatre, Castlebar (June 13) and Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre (June 15-20).
What shape are you in?
I’ve always been overweight. Eight years ago, I gave up smoking. Since then I’ve put on more weight because I developed a sweet tooth. My blood pressure and cholesterol are all fine. I’m very active — I’m out in the park every morning with the dogs. People say ‘I don’t know how you’re not a size 10’. But it’s your genes — some people are prone to putting it on.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I eat breakfast. For a long time I didn’t. Then my niece, who’s into nutrition, said I should get something into me in the morning. I make my own muesli with oats and bran, I add roasted nuts and seeds and I eat it with fresh berries and skimmed milk. It sets me up for the day and it’s nice. I no longer drink tea or coffee — I take warm water with a dash of lemon.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Vegetable crisps that you get in the health shop — instead of the full-fat ones — with a glass of wine.
What would keep you awake at night?
With the show on tour, there’s so much to learn and plan, so there’s a huge amount to think about. Last night, I found it hard to fall asleep — I started thinking about something instead of relaxing in front of the TV.
How do you relax?
I do some gardening. It’s amazing how the day flies when you’re away from phones. With the mobile, I’m constantly checking to see if someone has texted, called or emailed.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
A good chef — and someone to do the washing up. We’d definitely want humour — Brendan O’Carroll is a good pal of mine. We’ve had some mad nights, singing out in the garden.
What’s your favourite smell?
Sweet pea — it brings back childhood memories.
What would you change about your appearance?
I’d definitely love to lose some weight off my stomach.
When did you last cry?
Watching Surprise, Surprise, I ended up an emotional wreck. There were all these people with sad stories but it was still entertaining.
What trait do you least like in others?
Cruelty — there’s so much cruelty out there to children and animals. We’re more aware of it because of social media.
What trait do you least like in yourself?
I’m a workaholic — I never stop. I do a summer tour and as soon as it’s finished my mind is on the next show. It can be hard on Peter. We organise getaways together.
Do you pray?
I do, I wouldn’t be a huge church-goer but there’s a lot of hardship out there — I hope my prayers help a bit.
What would cheer up your day?
We have two new additions to the family — my grandniece, Chloe, and my grandnephew, Will. They came up a few weeks ago and we spent the day in the garden. We played shop, the patio door was open and I was buying cushions off my couch.
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