Moving to Ireland from Moldova when I was eight was a defining moment for me.
It made me into the determined person I am today. I was one of the first influx of Eastern European kids to this country.
My mother was a doctor and my father was an engineer, but Moldova was in deep recession in 1992 and they moved here to give myself and my brother a better life.
It was a huge adjustment for me and I was a bit of a loner at school, not having the language to communicate with my peers. It took me at least six months to even start to learn English.
Coming from a different background, lots of people told me I’d never make it onto Irish TV because for years I had quite a strong accent. But I studied journalism after school and thought, hey, I’m educated and I believe in myself and I’m not going to let other people knock me back. I now feel 70% Irish and still 30% Moldovan.
I’d like to think I’m disciplined but I certainly slack off here and there. My worst habit is tardiness — not when it comes to work, but in other areas of my life, or so I’m told.
I admire people who are so confident that they don’t let things get to them, those that are able to hear something negative and simply move on. I tend to overanalyse every comment and criticism.
Being a children’s TV presenter is the best job I can imagine. In the future, I’d love to present a chat show or make documentaries and travel shows; I think everyone has a story to tell if you look hard enough.
If I could change one thing in Irish society it would have to be young peoples’ attitudes towards alcohol. I’d love to get it across that you don’t have to drink in order to have a good night.
If I won the Lotto, I’d give my mum and dad enough money to open a Moldovan restaurant which is something they’re always talking about, and maybe take a holiday with whatever’s left over.
The best advice I’ve ever got has been from my parents, simply to treat others how you yourself would like to be treated.
To anyone hoping to get into showbiz I’d say the number one tip is to never give up and to believe in yourself.
I’m not great at compartmentalising work and play. Even when I’m not working I’m thinking that so and so or such and such would make a great item for the TV show. But any spare time I do get is spent writing — I’m writing a children’s book — and going to gigs, reading or playing tennis.
I started going to Westlife stage school in Lucan when I was 14. My parents were a bit shocked when I asked to go as I was terribly quiet from the ages of 12 to 17, but I loved it.
I’m not afraid to be challenged. Last year we did a Face your Fears segment on the show. My copresenters Sean Regan and Ivan Minnock had to try boxing and diving and I had to sing in front of a live audience at the Hot Press Music Awards in the RDS. I was a quivering mess.
Because of my own background, I do a lot of charity work to promote positive messages around interculturalism. I’ve worked with the Irish Traveller Movement and their Yellow Flag programme and support the Show Racism the Red Card campaign.
Diana Bunici is interviewing children’s writers as part of the Bram Stoker Festival today; see www.bramstokerfestival.com
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