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Cork Profile: Norma Sheahan

Wednesday, 30th May, 2018 4:39pm

Name and position: Norma Sheahan, Actor

Age: 41

Lives: Sallynoggin, Dublin

Family: Husband and three daughters (aged 10, 10 and 8)

Pets: No

Favourite thing about Cork: 

It's the perfect size, manageable, a lovely place to live. It offers a great quality of life, without colossal traffic jams. I should be an estate agent!

Least favourite thing about Cork: 

"Cork is the centre of the Universe, what could be wrong with Cork?" … Yeah, sometimes us Corkonians can be a little bit cocky. Healthy confidence is very handy in life, once we don't stray into egotistical maniacs.

One thing you’d change about Cork: 

A tram from UCC through the city and onto Kent train station would be fab.

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up? 

I always wanted to act. Aside from a brief dream to follow Johnny Logan to the Eurovision, acting was my childhood passion. My mother found an essay I wrote when I was seven about becoming an actress and travelling the world.

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

Today I'm filming on RTE's TV series ‘Finding Joy’, written by and starring Amy Huberman. It's going to be fantastic. Amy gave me a little quirky role. We met on my first TV job, ‘The Clinic’, where we both played receptionists. She's a gem! I started my career in theatre, then moved into film, TV, voiceovers, writing, producing…. in that order. Some of my favourites were ‘Mooneboy’, ‘Damo & Ivor’, ‘Handsome Devil’, ‘Ondine’, and ‘Bridget & Eamon’ which is filming its fourth series soon. A super short film I was involved in called 'QED', directed by Amy-Joyce Hastings, screened in Schull recently at the Fastnet Film Festival.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

The performing! Whether it's filming on set, doing voiceovers in studio, acting on stage, I adore every second.

What motivates you?

To be as authentic as possible, whether comedy or drama, and respect the audience who have given their time or money to be transported away from reality for a while. Also, my kids motivate me to be as fit as possible. They're competitive gymnasts and love sports.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

Don't live your life to please others, you never will. Make good choices that you're happy to stand by. Educate yourself on healthy eating and fitness. 

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?

I did a commerce degree in UCD before my RADA acting degree in London, so I may have followed my friends into business. That said, whenever I did office temping between acting jobs I never sat on my chair, I was always buzzing around, so not sure how long I'd have lasted.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

I think my greatest life achievement is finding tools and techniques to get out of a rut. Life is challenging, negativity can drag you down, and depression can consume you, but it too will pass. Get active, get healthy, be creative, reach out to people, be kind and karma will come back around.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life? 

My mum and I clash on certain things, but she has also had a massive impact in moulding me. She gave me opportunities that she never had, and numerous chances to try things. She's blunt, so she'd have no qualms telling you what's rubbish. She encouraged me to act, once I had a qualification behind me.

What is the life dream now?

Stay on the same path, just keep widening it. As costs expand for my three kids, so too must widen my sources of income. I've started writing and producing recently, which will aid this change. 

How do you switch off?

Eeeek! Not great at that. Although I've spent quite a bit of time in my parent's house in Cork in the past year and I love that there's a stream of people pass through for cuppas, which forces you to stop. This rarely happens me in Dublin.

What is your favourite Cork memory?

The Cork Opera House Christmas Panto in 1987, when I played Little Red Riding Hood. Blew my brains. Billa O’Connell and Paddy Comerford were adorable.

What is your favourite place in Cork?

Even though I ran from my home village of Whitechurch at 17 (literally ran, because there was no bus), it's now my fondest place to be. Sometimes it's the clever ones who don't stray too far. As the saying goes, ‘Those who know, don't need to go’.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

‘Worrying is like paying interest on a debt you haven't even received – a total waste’.

When are you at your happiest?

I love yoga class. It makes my wired brain slow down, keeps me flexible, and takes away all my aches. The sea also makes me calm, I'd love a house with a sea view. Presently I swim regularly in a pool, but I'd love to have the balls to do it in the sea. Maybe a wetsuit might help!

Any regrets?

I did wait for the phone to ring for a few years in my 20s. I got myself out of that rut and have been proactive ever since. I also wish I had spoken a few words of Irish to my kids when they were young, before they could say, ‘shut up you're embarrassing us’.

What is your hidden talent?

I can say the alphabet backwards, I can do the splits (kind of), I can gallop a race horse.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I avoid the hourly news as much as possible because it's miserable. That is unless I feel I can somehow make a difference, then I'll dive in, get informed, become vocal, and make waves to help bring about change.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Now that I'm in my forties and face has started to crinkle and wrinkle I've fallen in love with Mariga Sheedy's range of natural products and treatments called ‘Skin Essentials by Mariga’. I was quite cynical about beauty products until I discovered her magic.

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