In conversation with Hilary Fennell
I was an awkward child. I loved performing but I was a bit of a geek.
Growing up in Clontarf, I never thought I could have a job in show business. I did consider nursing.
I fell into modelling when I was seven, I was trying on a Communion dress when a woman asked my Nana if she’d let me model a dress for an ad she was making. My Nana is like one of the mothers on Dance Moms so that’s how my first job came about. Although now that I come to think about it I don’t remember ever seeing a penny from that first gig…!
After that, I did all the magazines for the tweeny age group and got into TV when I was booked for Republic of Telly, as a model. I loved doing those sketches, playing around with the scripts, and the producers were very open to me being involved and kept asking me back. It was the most fun job.
I always went to stage school but it was more like a hobby, although I wanted singing to be part of my life. I really enjoy performing — except for the moment of terror before I go on stage although I have become more confident over the years.
I don’t have any particular routine that I follow before I go on stage, but I try not to have my friends and family in on an opening night as seeing them there can really throw me. I get that awful feeling, like my stomach is dropping.
I try and keep fit. I’ve become much more health conscious in the last couple of years and my diet is much better. I alternate between the type of exercise that I do, I like to change it up. I might do yoga one morning, train the next, do weights the next. I also do some boxing and am a fan of Bikram yoga as you can join a class wherever you are in the world. I got into it when I was living in Japan.
My home is St Albans in London, I just moved back from Melbourne with my boyfriend [Welsh rugby player] Dominic Day.
My biggest challenge has been dealing with the death of my mother, she died from lymphoma in June 2015.
I do believe there is some sort of life after this one.
I met Dominic through friends. I do think I was meant to meet Dominic. My friend had been suggesting I meet him for over a year. I met him in 2015 so he was a great support to me during a dark time.
My dad works in printing and thinks my showbiz world is a bit mental, although he’s not a bit surprised I ended up in it.
The trait I most admire in other people is loyalty.
I’m normally very optimistic, and also quite rational, and this might sound a bit contradictory but my biggest fault is being cynical, although it might be a defence mechanism. I think it’s because I’m in a job where you have to audition all the time, so you have to not always get your hopes up — learning to deal with a lot of rejection was a big part of my early learning curve.
If I could change one thing in Irish society, maybe I’d change how we don’t tend to talk ourselves up. It seems sometimes that the belief in ourselves isn’t there. I think we’re in pretty good shape in some areas, like being at the forefront of passing the law on marriage equality.
My idea of misery would be having to drive for a living, I don’t like spending too long in the car.
The lesson so far is that life is short, so don’t sweat the small stuff.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved