The Shape I'm In: Fashion designer Sonya Lennon

Although Sonya Lennon works out every day and eats healthily 'by default', the fashion designer still has a soft spot for cheese puffs and having a drink with friends 
The Shape I'm In: Fashion designer Sonya Lennon
Sonya Lennon: "We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions." File photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fashion designer and businesswoman, Sonya Lennon, has managed to trade successfully through the pandemic. This is despite a blip in the early days when Lennon Courtney, the fashion label she runs with TV presenter, Brendan Courtney, went offline due to sheer demand.

“That was about three weeks of 'not existing' in the consumer sphere. When we went back up again, we were really well received. We've had huge support from Dunnes as well. Because we're so led by silhouette, colour and print, we lend ourselves very well to an online model.”

What shape are you in? I'm actually in probably the best shape of my life. On Dec 28 last year, for no particular reason, I decided I was going to try and work out every day. I've worked through various things, though running's just not for me. What I am interested in is physical strength. Strong core, strong bones. I'm 51 years of age and I don't have pain in my body. I would like to keep it that way for as long as possible.

What are your healthiest eating habits? I'm lucky in that I grew up in a household where healthy homemade food made from scratch was the default. There was always a pot of soup on the stovetop when I got home from school, so you'd have a bowl of soup as a snack. I love vegetables and fruit and all the good stuff. If I'm being really, really good, I would have a green vegetable juice for my lunch.

How do you relax? I definitely find relaxation through walking. I walk the South Wall in Dublin as often as I can, it's near my house. I find relaxation through swimming in the sea, reading, yoga. They're the slow relaxations. And then the fast relaxations are dancing, having drinks with friends which is a different form of relaxation.

What’s your favourite smell? Frankincense. I love it. In fact, all my scents and fragrances are quite woody.

What would you change about your appearance? I have earned the right at this age to say that I'm completely content. If you had come to me 10 or 20 years ago, I probably would have given you a list. 

I think the wonderful thing about being a middle-aged woman is that you kind of have a greater sense of what matters

When was the last time you cried? I cried when my dad rang and said he couldn't take it any more and mum had to go into a home. I cried for him as much as for all of us.

What traits do you least like in others? Meanness, moaning and judgement. I have been a lifelong avoider of moaners. Meanness I find hard to take and that's meanness of spirit as much as meanness of pocket. Judgment, I think again, comes with age — where you realise that none of us are really in a position to judge others on face value. We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. That's not fair because it's not a level playing field.

What traits do you least like about yourself? I think I'm very pragmatic. I think sometimes in coping mode that can come across as cold. The emotional impact of anything is still there. But my predisposition is to get through it and crumble at the other end when it's all done and dusted, whatever it is.

Do you pray? I manifest, I invoke and I meditate, but I don't pray, but maybe they're the same thing.

What would cheer up your day? Sitting chatting with my kids. Having a laugh, breaking the hard-work cycle and realising it's all quite funny at the end of the day.

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