This much I know: Hilary Rose

I can’t believe I’m a professional messer.

On a good day on The Fear or Republic of Telly, I have to remind myself that I am being paid to do this.

With a hidden camera series you learn how to gauge people’s moods very quickly. If someone is not having a great day I won’t push them to take part; it’s only meant to be a bit of fun. I’ve come across the odd person who hasn’t really understand the concept of the show but so far I’ve never had a seriously bad reaction.

I’ve done a mish-mash of things but I always wanted to act. When I left school I studied business and multimedia and I’ve been a DJ since I was 18.

A close friend of mine passed away when I was 25 and that was the catalyst that inspired me to go back to study acting.

I’m classically trained so I thought I’d go into drama but I got a break in comedy and it just went from there. Standup is the most terrifying of all the things I’ve done. It’s a whole separate skill-set to acting, which I learnt very fast once I got up on stage. There is a lot of audience engagement and you need to think on your feet. I began doing live shows to 3,000 people as Handy Sandie with people like Hardy Bucks, Des Bishop and the Rubberbandits. Once I’d got a taste of it I wanted to do more.

I was terrible in school, a real day dreamer. I never did my homework but I was great craic and full of beans.

I grew up in Cork and went to St Angela’s on top of the hill. I’ve lived in Dublin for a long time but home is definitely Cork. My family is there and my husband Peter Foott is also from Cork. He is a writer and producer, in fact he’s the series producer on The Fear.

We met and had a kiss in Gorbys, a Cork night club when we were 16 and forgot all about it. Then 10 years later we met again.

It is tricky working together, you have to make boundaries between personal and work life and of course not bringing work home is the main thing.

My idea of misery is a sedentary lifestyle, a kind of 9 to 5 office job.

My ideal day would be waking up somewhere sunny with Peter and going surfing. It’s a complete escape. I love the sense of freedom it gives me and the fact that you have to be completely focused at any given moment or else you could drown.

The best advice I got early on is to remember the business part of ‘There’s no business like show business’. At the end of the day — whatever field you’re in, be it fine art, comedy, music — you can’t forget the business side of it.

I’m a worrier, I need to remind myself to relax and not to overwork.

Exercising helps if I’m stressed. I train as much as I can. I do a lot of strength and resistance training and running.

I DJ in the Savoy in Cork. I guess I got into DJing through a misspent youth out clubbing from the age of 16. I love the music and the scene. It’s a bit like stand-up in that it’s traditionally been seen as a man’s job. It looks easy but it isn’t. I learned to DJ on vinyl but these days I use digital templates linked through my computer. So, instead of needing bags of records, everything fits in my backpack.

I’m also doing a masters in Dun Laoghaire in screen-writing — I have to have my first feature film script written by the end of next year.

All I do is sleep and work, but it’s fine as I don’t consider any of it to be real work.

Hilary Rose is a brand ambassador for the Hope Foundation, supporting street children in India. To find out more about their One Day-One Bar-One Child Campaign with Butlers Chocolates, see


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