Shape I’m in: Sarah Morrissey

FORMER Miss Ireland Sarah Morrissey might not have become a model if her mum hadn’t sent a photo of her to Assets Models Agency.

Shape I’m in: Sarah Morrissey

She did it following a chance comment from a photographer who was looking at family photos. “He said ‘I know that girl — she’s a model’. My mum said ‘I don’t think so – she’s my daughter’.”

Within two days of Assets receiving the photo, Sarah did a casting for a John Rocha show and got it. “If I’d had time to think about it, I’d have talked myself out of it! Growing up, because I was tall, people would say ‘you should be a model’. I didn’t think about it — nobody in my area was a model.”

The Dubliner has done shows with a string of supermodels — Jodie Kidd, Helena Christensen and Yasmin Le Bon. “I used to look at these girls in magazines and on TV. Seeing them in the flesh, they are amazing but they’re still people. It will be something to tell my grandchildren in years to come.”

Sarah commutes a lot to London between February and May and between August and November. She takes it in her stride. “I don’t mind. I have to go where the work is. But I try not to be gone too long so I just come back the same day.”

She has plenty of reason to, having married her footballer husband and long-term boyfriend, Pat Jennings, last summer. The couple bought a house in the Liberties, where she feels no claustrophobia about living close to family.

“My eldest sister lives 10 yards down the road, my twin lives across the road, Mum and another sister are around the corner. We’re all in separate houses and we’re not the type to be knocking on each other doors all the time, though we constantly go to my mam’s. But whenever there’s a big football game on, they all drop in to me for that.”

While her background’s in human resources, it’s not something Sarah — in early 30s — would like to go back to. “I love fitness. I’d like to get a qualification in that area. I’d like to help people with their bodies and their minds.”

Sarah Morrissey is a supporter of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s One in 1,000 campaign. This aims to recruit 1,000 women to participate in the VHI Women’s Mini-Marathon on June 1. Register for the campaign at www.cfireland.ie or phone 1890 311 211 — closing date is today.

What shape are you in?

I’m in pretty good shape —better than when I was in my 20s. When I was younger I didn’t put in as much effort. Now, I’m more confident and I push myself to make my skin and hair look just right. I love boxing. I love Pilates and yoga. I really put in some hard work in the gym — I come out sweating. I do different activities every day to keep me interested.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

Monday to Friday, I eat pretty healthily. I’d have a lot of nuts and protein, such as chicken, turkey and salmon. I eat salads. At the weekend, I treat myself and have what I want. I’ve put the hard work in over the past years [to keep in shape]. Now it’s just about maintaining my physique. Having what I like on two days means I don’t crave stuff the rest of the time.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Chocolate — I just can’t live without it. It’s my little treat in the evening. I have it with tea — chamomile or green.

What would keep you awake at night?

I’m generally a good sleeper. I just conk out. If a member of my family was going through something hard, that would keep me up.

How do you relax?

I love sitting on the couch, my hair up in a bun, just watching TV. On my day off, I like to be a bit scruffy and watch TV.

What’s your favourite smell?

A baby’s smell — my brother just had a new baby. I can’t get over that smell, when it comes home from the hospital.

What would you change about your appearance?

I like that I have freckles but I wouldn’t mind a tan. I’d like to be more sallow-skinned.

When did you last cry?

When my brother’s baby was born, his first little boy — there was such joy that it had finally happened. You’re waiting so long for it to be born and my brother was so overwhelmed.

What trait do you least like in others?

Rudeness — people who don’t say please or thank you.

What trait do you least like in yourself?

I’m pretty laid back. In some ways that’s good but in other ways it isn’t. I’d change that about myself — I’d like to be more organised.

Do you pray?

Sometimes. It’s the first thing I say if something bad happens or if somebody isn’t well — ‘I’ll say a prayer’. I get that from my mam. Other than that, I wouldn’t pray that much.

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