CAREER paths don’t always follow a linear route. Just ask social media star and bestselling author Melanie Murphy, who took a few years out after her Leaving Cert before deciding on what she wanted to study.
Taking a PLC course to bridge the gap between school and college, she went on to get a first-class honours degree in DCU, where she studied education and training. “I was top of my class three years in a row and I actually didn’t do that well in my Leaving Cert.”
She started uploading videos to YouTube in 2013. “I was doing it as a hobby to get a bit more confidence at public speaking for my degree and then it turned into this massive outlet. I loved it and I’ve kept with it ever since,” she says, adding that her YouTube videos have reached 60m people.
Taking time out to work “rather than try to go into something straight out of school” turned out to be a smart move. “I was going through a lot of stuff. I’d lost my grandmother — she was like another parent. I was quite depressed. And I was going through a breakup, It’s good that I waited.”
Aged 29 and engaged to Thomas, she lives in a rented house in Skerries with her father and brother — her parents separated when she was aged “about seven”.
“My dad and I want to buy a family home. My husband-to-be works for Aer Lingus — once he pays off his pilot loan, we are going to save and buy together.”
- If Only, Melanie Murphy’s debut novel, is published by Hachette Ireland, €15.99
What shape are you in?
My fitness is important to me because when I was 19 I would literally get out of breath walking for five minutes. I tend to go to the gym about three times a week — I like to do weightlifting there. The odd time, I’ll go for one or two jogs around the village with my fiance. I walk every day. Even though I exercise a lot, I’m size 12. My body fits that natural size. I care more about my fitness than how I look.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I make sure I have a balanced healthy breakfast. I would often have porridge with nut butter and fruit; my other favourite would be sourdough toast with scrambled eggs and avocado. I eat 80:20, so 80% of the time I make sure I have whole foods and 20% of the time I indulge and that keeps me feeling satisfied and balanced.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
I try to never feel guilty about anything I eat but there are certain foods — a heavy carbonara or a regular pizza — that set off my IBS and my body really pays for it for a couple of days.
What would keep you awake at night?
If someone in my family or a close friend isn’t doing so well — if they are sick or having a mental health issue.
How do you relax?
I go on walks and I read quite a lot of books — most of what I read tends to be non-fiction but recently I’ve got back into reading fiction quite a lot — contemporary funny stuff because that’s what I’m writing at the moment. I’m fond of a glass of wine as well.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Louis Theroux, Marian Keyes — she’s hilarious — JK Rowling because her Harry Potter books made my childhood, and Stephen Fry because he’s so intelligent.
What’s your favourite smell?
All my favourite smells are Christmas-related.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
My skin type — I have keratosis pilaris. It’s that chicken skin a lot of Irish people have — red bumps you get on your legs or the back of your arms. And my acne scars. I’m all for accepting our flaws but I don’t think people should be looked down upon if there is something they want to change.
When is the last time you cried?
This morning — they were happy tears. My partner and I were having a big deep conversation about our future and we both welled up. I tend to cry a lot.
What traits do you least like in others?
Rudeness and dishonesty.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
I’m very messy. I can also be quite stubborn.
Do you pray?
I wouldn’t say I pray but I’m very spiritual. I put out gratitude every night and every morning.
What would cheer up your day?
If I’m having a really bad day I always want to go to the cinema because I love escapism. It helps me to step outside my own head for a while and calm down.