Stephanie O’Neill is a healthcare reporter for Southern California Public Radio. Before moderating a discussion about the connection between health and happiness, she sat down in the Zócalo green room to talk about dogs, cats, horses—and Mick Jagger.
What was the name of your first pet?
Thomasina. She was a Seal Point Siamese cat. She lived for 13 years, ’til I was 16.
Ask yourself a question, then answer it.
Keeping along the veins of happiness, what makes me most happy? My answer is, living my life authentically, which for me right now means as simply as possible. I’ve been doing that, and I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life this last year.
Are you also the healthiest?
Yeah, I’m really healthy. I have a sore shoulder right now, but other than that I’m healthy.
Who’s your favorite fictional journalist?
Of course there’s always Lois Lane. I get told I look like her, so I identify with her a little bit.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading a book called How to be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo. I’m single right now and very happy, and I think I want to really understand a lot more before I get serious with anybody again. I just started reading Charlie Wilson’s War [by George Crile], which is an amazing story. I’ve seen the movie three times. Everything you wanted to know about Afghanistan but were afraid to ask, really.
When did you last break a sweat?
Yesterday at about 4 p.m. I was lifting weights and dancing; I like to combine those for a good HIIT training.
What animal would you want to be?
I think about that a lot actually. I most admire dogs because I think everything you need to know about being happy and about being a quality human being you can learn from a dog. I see that in my dogs all the time. But I also have horses—I have two horses—and I tend to identify with them as well. There’s just something about their spirit and their ability to run really fast and their strength that I admire. So I think the horse is a good answer.
Is there anything in your closet that you should have thrown out already?
My daughter—she’s 21—looked in my closet recently and said everything should be thrown out! There’s clothes in there from the 1990s. I’m pretty good about throwing things out, but I hate shopping so much that I do try to hang onto the stuff I have.
Who would be your dream interview right now?
I’ve done so many that I’ve already done my dream interviews. Well, Mick Jagger to be really honest. I’ve wanted to meet him since I was 16 years old. I can’t even tell you why anymore—I just set a goal that I wanted to meet him.
What’s your favorite spice?