Pop-star, actress and healthy lifestyle advocate Olivia Newton-John recently visited the wine country to tape episodes of the nationally syndicated integrative health show “Healing Quest,” joining Sonomans Judy Brooks and Roy Walkenhorst as co-host. During a wrap party at Sullivan Vineyards in Napa, she had a chat with Daedalus Howell.
DH: it’s the 26th anniversary of “Lets Get Physical” and I’ve go to say, the video for the title track forever changed my perception of gym culture. That had to be at least double platinum, right?
ONJ: Oh, actually it’s more than double platinum I’m glad to say – it sold everywhere. It was crazy. It’s 30 years since “Grease” next year too. I know – it’s unbelievable.
DH: Has your perception of the world changed since then?
ONJ: I’ve always had a pretty good perception of the world. The world is always the same it’s just your perception that changes. I’m sure I’ve gone through some – a lot – of difficult times but I’ve always seen the glass half-full, you know and I’ve always been fortunate. I’ve have a few periods where I would say I was pretty depressed but they were for reasons, they weren’t not for non-reasons, not just because I was just unhappy. There were causes for them. But I’m great now.
DH: Can I assume these are the same that have led you to become more spiritual?
ONJ: I think I’ve always had a knowing-ness, a belief, but I think I definitely believe in something, whatever you want to call it. Everyone has a different name for it. I think we’re all looking for peace love and compassion. We’re all looking for the same things.
DH: I’m always looking for my keys. But, you know, in that “key to wisdom” kind-of-way. I’m sure you have a better calling.
ONJ: I think now that my purpose is greater than what I believed it would be. If you’re lucky enough to maintain a career and get older, then lucky enough to survive both, you want to give back. I think that’s part of my duty and what I want to do and it feels good. My life, my whole journey, seems to be geared towards healing in many different ways.
DH: In your TV show you integrate both your media personality and some of your spiritual inclinations as well.
ONJ: And my music. They play my music on the show and they integrate that into healing moments on the program. I have a new CD called “Grace and Gratitude” that you probably haven’t heard. It is a healing CD and takes you though the chakras of the body, the emotional parts of your body, and each song is a healing. That’s all I can describe. I wrote it for myself but in doing that I think I’m hopefully going to help other people. And it’s just a peaceful piece.
DH: Do you have a higher consciousness when you’re performing? And I mean that in the spiritual way.
ONJ: Different maybe. I’ve always enjoyed singing and performing and enjoyed people. I mean “Grease” was the most fun movie to make. We had such a blast making it. I think that it endures because the energy is transmittable. You can feel it through the screen. Everyone talks about the energy and excitement. That was the cast and producer Alan Carr, who would used to come and rev us up all the time.
DH: I feel a cast reunion coming on.
ONJ: Well, I don’t know. Next year is the big one – maybe we will.
DH: Tell me more, tell me more. I mean, tell me more about what are you working on besides the show?
ONJ: I’m building a hospital in Melbourne, Australia with it wont’ be in my name I’m very proud to say and a wellness center attached to that. We’ve been working on that for four years and that is a huge undertaking but we’ve raised 45 million dollars and we’re getting close to our goal. I’m walking the Great Wall of China in April to raise money and awareness for the hospital.
DH: I’d recommend sensible shoes.
ONJ: Very good thinking. Yeah, I think high heals will work. No actually I’m going to be in very heavy training for that. It will be a blast it will be very exciting an incredible challenge for next year.
DH: But ultimately, there’s a healing premise behind it all. I’ve come to understand that wine is healing in moderation.
ONJ: Wine, yeah, ultimately in moderation, there was such controversy about breast cancer and wine for a while and then they kind of changed there minds that there is so many good things in it that it probably works out that one glass a day is fine. I think being relaxed about your health is probably just as important any way.
DH: Because stress is a killer.
ONJ: Yeah, it’s one of the major killers. One of our shows said that for 90 percent of people who go to the doctor, the causes of their illness are stress related.
DH: I don’t even go to the doctor because it stresses me out.
ONJ: [laughing] That’s right it’s better not to go – probably die of the stress before you get there.
DH: How do you manage to everything you do? It’s like you have career A.D.D. Do you keep a list to keep track? Or tattoo everything on you or something?
ONJ: I have a diary and an assistant that points me in the direction of what I’m doing at the time.
DH: I should get an assistant – my diary’s not doing it. And my diary makes horrible coffee.
For more information about “Healing Quest,” visit www.healingquest.tv.