Emmerdale's Zoe Henry talks tough storylines and growing her own vegetables

I RUN a tight ship. I love my bed but I’m up at 5.45am for a HIIT workout before the rest of the house wakes up. I’ll put on my gym gear and jump around in the living room for half an hour.

I feel great afterwards and I’ll have a nice cup of tea by myself before the children, Violet, 14, and Stan, 10, and my partner Jeff [Hordley, 48, Zoe’s Emmerdale co-star] rise. I like to be organised so I aim to have the beds made, lunch boxes filled and dishwasher emptied before I set 
off for work.

Tough storylines can be heavy going. Rhona, my character 
on Emmerdale, has been through a lot, including rape and a hysterectomy. But when we cover difficult subjects there’s a really good rapport between the actors and crew as soon as the camera stops rolling.

It’s important to have a laugh in-between takes so upsetting stories don’t get you down too much. Working on the same show as Jeff, who plays Cain Dingle, also helps because if one of 
us is having a bad day then the other will completely understand.

Jeff and I make a lot of soup. I often bring them in for my lunch, 
but if I haven’t had time to meal prep then I’ll buy something light 
like a salad or a chicken wrap. If I eat too much, I’m ready for a snooze by 3pm. I’ve always been partial to a power nap. If I see a gap in the schedule I practically punch the air with excitement.

We never take our jobs for granted. Jeff’s been in Emmerdale since 2000, but he never gets complacent – you can’t in this industry. We have so many talented actor friends who aren’t working as much as they should. It’s a stark reminder of how lucky we are. I love being on 
a soap because you never know what your character is going to be getting themselves into further down the line, so it’s exciting.

We’ve grown our own vegetables for 10 years. We have an allotment and it’s so therapeutic to have your hands in the earth. We’re mindful of what we eat, but watching our diet isn’t about 
being on TV, it’s more about general wellbeing, as Jeff has Crohn’s disease. The kids love cooking with us. The other night Violet 
made a dal from scratch!

I’m in awe of people who watch box sets. I’m usually home by 7pm and hopefully Violet is back from school and cooking the dinner. After sitting down to eat and catch up with everyone I’ll help the children with their homework, tidy up and get them off to bed.

My friends are always talking about the different TV shows they’re watching and I don’t understand how they find time. I’m in bed at 9pm with a good cookery book. There’s nothing like a bit of food porn before bed.

  • Watch Zoe in Emmerdale, weeknights, 7pm & 8pm, ITV.

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