As the Beast from the East stalked the country, Amanda Byram wasn’t affected by ‘breadgate’.
The Dancing with the Stars Ireland presenter is back in her native Dublin for the second season of the hit reality TV show, which airs on RTÉ One this Sunday night.
The banter in Ireland about bread shortages is what she has missed most since she relocated to London to front The Big Breakfast, in 2001.
“My husband found it very funny that we had breadgate,” joked Amanda, who wed British TV producer, Julian Okines, two years ago. “I was sending him messages, saying, ‘Look what’s happening — we’ve run out of bread!’ He just couldn’t quite fathom it.
“I had my stocks of rye bread, which last a long time, anyway, so I wasn’t too worried. It’s the only thing that was left!” Fitter-than-ever at 44, the former model doesn’t succumb to carbs too often, snow or no.
Back in November, Amanda told this newspaper of her nervous excitement, as she prepared to launch her debut activewear collection, ‘Body by Byram’, at Pamela Scott stores countrywide.
Five months on, the fashionista turned ‘fitnessista’ is her own best advertisement. She rocks up in a blue workout top and black leggings to launch the 2018 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, which is taking place in the city on Sunday, June 3.
“It’s going really well,” said the newly qualified personal trainer, who swears by spinning, and lifting weights, to stay in shape. “People in the fitness industry are raving about it, which is always a good thing.
“In terms of season two ... [DWTS] has literally cocooned my life for the last three months, so, once everything’s done, in April, then [I’ll] kind of take stock and see what’s next.
“One of my favourite parts [of the show] is being able to get dressed up, because I don’t get dressed up very often. I wear my activewear every single day. I’ve got this little chart of week one, week two, week three, and I know, if I want to go short or long, long sleeve or colour-wise. You want to try and keep the audience guessing a little bit,” Byram says.
Since returning to small screens here, last January, eighteen years after getting her big break, on Ireland AM, Amanda told how she’s been blown away by the “amazing” response to the celebrity dance-off featuring singer, Jake Carter, and comedian, Deirdre O’Kane. But she still steers clear of Twitter, afterwards.
“I don’t read Twitter anymore,” she said. “Last year, after a show, I would go through every single comment and see what people thought, and it just really affected me, because of all the hundred people that would say something nice, one would say something just ridiculous or nasty, and that’s the one you focus on.
“So, I’ve made a point now of not looking at social media after the show, in particular, Twitter, because it’s futile. There’s no point [in] reading something that someone’s got to say, because they’ve had a bad night or because you just didn’t please them, or you said something that pissed them off.
“My husband actually reads through Twitter stuff and he always stands up for me, without me even knowing it,” added the Total Wipeout star. “He always gets really annoyed and says, ‘Girls, come on, you girls should be sticking together, not bitching at each other’, and it’s so true. You would think it would be a forum for girls to stand together and empower each other with girl power.”
Byram’s friend, Denise van Outen, is a judge on rival show, Ireland’s Got Talent, which airs on Saturday night over on TV3. But Byram says there is no competition between the two.
“Denise and I actually think it’s hilarious,” laughed Amanda, who’s also a familiar face Stateside, after hosting controversial extreme makeover show, The Swan. “We were laughing, earlier, about this notion of a rivalry between us and Ireland’s Got Talent.
“There’s been a lot written about it — comparisons, rivalry, who’s got better ratings. I’m like, ‘How is there a rivalry with a show that’s not even on the same night?’ How does that work?”
For the record, Dancing With the Stars is ahead of Ireland’s Got Talent, reeling in 57,100 more viewers during the first reality TV showdown last month.
Amanda’s only regret, now, is that she never got to show off her own fancy footwork.
“I would love, love, love to do it,” she told. “I watch how hard they train, and because I’m fit, I like the idea of being able to do something physical for three months. It’s kind of a dream for me.
“I don’t think it would make sense for me to do the UK one, now. I’ve been asked to do it in the past, but I could never do it, because of Wipeout.
“Now, I think it would be a little bit strange to be a dancer and then also to be a host, so, unfortunately, I don’t think I could, but I wish I had, at some point.” Instead, she’s gearing up to pound the pavement, alongside 35,000 other women, at the 36th annual mini-marathon.
Urging others to lace up for the world’s biggest all-female fitness event, superfit Amanda advised: “Taking it slowly is my biggest tip — don’t go from couch to 10k.
“There’s three months [to go], so I would suggest doing things in monthly increments — start slow, ramp it up, and then go for it.
“I walked it last year, with my mum, who’s 69, and I’m going to get her to do it again, with me, this year,” she said.
“I loved the camaraderie between the women on the day. Dublin just shut down and it was literally a sea of colour.
“It’s just a really, really fun event.”
The 2018 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon takes place on Sunday, June 3. Entries are now open, at www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie