A model attitude

ALISON Canavan, 35, is something of an expert in the art of multi-tasking.

A model attitude

Along with her jet-setting career as an international model, she is a parenting columnist for a slew of glossy magazines, appears regularly on TV, hosts events such as wedding fairs and runs the nationwide 0 To Toddler shows.

“The show is all about early childhood development, understanding our kids. I feel depression in Ireland stems from a lack of expression because we are not taught to express our emotions or feelings,” says Alison, a single parent who has suffered from depression since early adulthood and postnatal depression following the birth of her son James, who is now two-and-a-half-years-old.

“For the first time in my life I couldn’t run because it wasn’t about me anymore, it was about somebody else. For the first time in my life I had to make myself better. James has been a massive gift in so many ways,” she says.

Alison is an ambassador for Walk in My Shoes 2013 which supports mental health services to vulnerable young adults.

For more information see: www.walkinmyshoes.ie; www.facebook.com/walkinmyshoes and Twitter @Walkinmyshoes12

What shape are you in?

I try to do Reformer Pilates at least twice a week. It’s almost like doing weights. Post pregnancy, I had a very bad back and knee. The Reformer supports your body and prevents injury.

Do you have any health concerns?

No, besides being tired. It’s different when you are self-employed and trying to work every hour god sends. My mum was just diagnosed with haemochromatosis so I have to get my bloods done — that could be the reason I am very tried. My father died 14 years ago of cancer, he was just 48.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

Porridge in the morning and smoothies, green tea and Omega 3.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Jellies. My uncle used to have a sweet shop. He used to give us an empty paper bag and say fill it up. Even the thought of it now excites me.

What would keep you awake at night?

Worry about work, money and life — no doubt many are the same. And since I’ve had James, even more so.

How do you relax?

Meditate – right now I am doing the Oprah-Deepak 21-day meditation challenge — or a glass of wine – I am a big rosé fan, even in the winter — and a good book . I am currently reading When Love Takes Over by Caroline Grace Cassidy and The Goddess by Mary Elizabeth Coen.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

The buddhist monk Geshe Kelsang, Oprah, Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, Deepak Chopra, Stephen Fry, Ellen Degeneres, Anthony Bourdain, Lorne Michaels — creator of Saturday Night Live – NBC and my best friend Caroline Grace Cassidy.

What’s your favourite smell?

The seaside.

What would you change about your appearance?

My derriere! I can’t quite seem to shrink it since I had James. I think coming from an industry of modelling your expectations and reality are so different to everyone else’s — all my clothes fitted differently, even when I lost the weight. I had to figure out how to dress my new body.

When did you last cry?

Last month after a talk I gave in St Patrick’s hospital. I could see in them how they felt and how painful it is and was. It really brought the memories back. I’m a bit of an emotional fish — I buried my feelings for so long they’re always scrambling to get out.

What trait do you least like in others?


What trait do you least like in yourself?

I trust far too easily and get hurt.

Do you pray?

Yes. You don’t have to pray to a Catholic or a Muslim god – just to whatever you believe in.

What would cheer up your day?

A smile from my son James.

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