Source: Best Health magazine, May 2014; Image: Callback Headshots
Growing up, Jessica Holmes was allowed just four hours of TV a week; she chose to watch comedies, such as The Carol Burnett Show and Police Squad. ‘As a kid, I was a silly, goofy introvert. I would only let the weird out in front of my cat or my parents,’ she says.
Years later, she tried her hand at comedy on a dare: While studying radio and television arts at Ryerson University in Toronto, she and three friends challenged each other to do stand-up during an open-mic night at a local comedy club. ‘It took me six months to work up the nerve,’ says the 40-year-old. ‘All four of us did pretty well, but while the others never wanted to go back, I couldn’t wait to try it again. Something magical happens when I’m in front of an audience’it’s pure joy.’
The self-described adrenalin junkie soon found an agent. In 2003 she was scooped up by the CBC’s Royal Canadian Air Farce. There, she became known for her spot-on, hilarious caricatures of celebrities, including Liza Minnelli, Celine Dion and Michael Jackson.
The busy comedian-for-hire is also an author and motivational speaker. She lives in Toronto with her husband, actor Scott Yaphe, and their two kids. Here’s a glimpse into her healthy lifestyle.
Take nothing for granted: ‘About two years ago, when I recovered from postpartum depression, I felt like I was given a second chance. I wanted to make the most of my life. My eating habits improved and I started exercising more. Now I feel great, and have better endurance on stage. So when I perform Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies,’ I know I’m not going to pass out in the middle.’
Join a team sport: ‘I have so much energy after playing a good game of soccer or basketball. Team sports, and exercise in general, make me feel so much more attractive and confident. If I’m having a day when I feel a little blah, I know it’s time to get moving.’
Focus on priorities: ‘I stock up most of my energy for my performances and my kids. That means, in terms of life balance, that I’ve had to let go of some of my expectations in other areas, such as vacationing with girlfriends and evenings at comedy clubs. My kids and my career get my wild and crazy energy.’
Notice the funny stuff: ‘Many motivational speakers believe that what you focus on grows, so I always look for the humour in situations and note them in my ‘funny journal.’ Before I even have time to notice negatives in situations, I’m noticing the funny things. A lot of it comes from my kids. Once, my daughter saw me naked and said, ‘You look like a raw chicken.’ Of course, I wrote that down.’