This much I know: Lisa Madden, Miss Universe Ireland

Dentistry and modeling are both huge passions of mine. 

I started modelling when I was sixteen. My mum said please do your Leaving Certificate before you even think of pursuing it full-time. So I did, and then I got into dentistry in University College Cork.

When I was in fifth year in school I was quite ill for months with glandular fever and shingles and I also had some problems with my eyes. I have never really been a business minded person and chose to study dentistry because I wanted to work in a caring profession. I was encouraged to do so by a good family friend who is also a dentist.

I am quite determined and hard working and almost a perfectionist. Getting the points for dentistry was hard work.

I would hate to have to give up either modeling or dentistry. I know I can only model for a certain limited period of time and want to make the most of it. But I don’t want my dentistry studies to suffer — it will pay for all my hair extensions!

I’m in my third year of dentistry at UCC. I took a year out two years ago, between first and second year in university, to take part in the reality television series Britain’s Next Top Model. I wasn’t sure about doing the show, I was certain the atmosphere was going to be very catty but my mum pointed out how important it is to take any experience that comes your way.

So I gave it a go. That show was really tough going because I was away from home for three months. I don’t usually mind being way from home in itself, but the rules were that I could have almost no contact. I spoke to my parents and younger brother only twice in the entire three months.

We live close to my grandparents farm, on my mum’s side, four miles outside Cork city. Mum works in the bank and dad is in marketing.

I was crowned Miss Universe Ireland and will represent the country in Miami at the finals on January 25. My classmates are all being lovely about it. I thought they might consider me like something out of Legally Blonde but they’ve all been very supportive.

As have my parents. My mum is coming to Miami. She will still remind me to study though, I’m sure, and out will come the pathology books. But I need that too.

In the lead up to the big night I will have to make appearances at charity events and photo shoots. I’m not going to lie, I am nervous about it. I’ve had to learn to overcome nerves. Being on Next Top Model helped — and doing interviews and orals for college. But Miami is a complete step into the unknown. I don’t know any of the other girls taking part.

I work out a lot. As I’m in UCC I can use the Mardyke gym and I either go to classes or work out alone there four to five times a week. I also go to Educogym, 20minutes a day, three days a week.

I come from a farming background and am used to good healthy meals like cabbage and bacon every day. I always have a dinner. But I lay off the sweet stuff and drink lots of water to hydrate my skin. I love going out and having a few cocktails but I’m not a huge partier.

My biggest fault is that I am very hard on myself. The trait I most admire in others is their determination and focus. I would see that a lot in dentistry.

My family are strong Catholics. I go to mass every Sunday and am taking about 20 different prayers off to Miami with me.

If I could change one thing in Irish society right now it would have to be homelessness.I hate it, especially at this time of year. It breaks my heart a small bit every time I see someone sleeping rough.

I am quite a softy. When I was young I’d always come home from school to mum and ask ‘why did that happen to me’ when something upset me. But I have learnt that you have to be able for this world.

You can’t take everything to heart otherwise you won’t survive. I think that what I’m heading into now will teach me more life lessons. There is a nice way of being in the world - and still succeeding - and I’m really only learning that now.

Cork model Lisa Madden will vie for the title of Miss Universe at the finals in Miami on January 25, as she currently holds the Miss Ireland Universe title.

Check out this gallery from Miss Universe Finals 2016


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