There was a time when Roz Purcell was rarely out of the public eye. After winning Ms Universe Ireland at the age of 19, she was in constant demand as a model. 

Now an author — her cookbook Natural Born Feeder was a bestseller — and a self-confessed “fitness jerk”, the 26-year-old has left her modelling days behind her and the high maintenance that comes with it.

“If I’m not working, my hair is in a bun, I don’t wear make-up, I don’t wear a [fake] tan. I love being really comfortable in baggy jumpers and leggings. 

"Now my main thing is food and fitness — I’m only doing a few odd jobs, like photoshoots. It’s a little bit more manageable, and I enjoy it a little more.”

It also means she doesn’t have to fuss with a hair straighter and blow dryer on a daily basis. 

“My hair is quite natural and curly — and I love that because it’s more me.”

Roz Purcell is an ambassador for WellFest, sponsored by KBC, a fitness and wellness festival. 

It will take place over the weekend of May 6 and 7 in Dublin’s Herbert Park. 

For details see www.wellfest.ie 

What shape are you in?

I’m not as fixated on it as I used to be when I modelled. I’m feeding my body correctly — it’s taken me a long time. 

I’m doing a lot more things like boxing and weight training to get higher intensity fitness. That’s really helped in terms of enjoying my workout more and keeping things interesting. I would train most days. 

In terms of wellness, I’m probably in the best shape of my life. A huge part of it is that I’m actually having a bit more fun.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

Probably that I make everything from scratch. I know everything that goes into a dish. I never buy pre-made food. I try to drink a lot of water. 

I’m pretty bad at that so I do force myself to drink as much as I can. Because I train so much I need a little bit extra. I usually buy three litres of water in the morning and try to get through that.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I don’t really have one. If I feel like having a little bit of chocolate on a Monday night I will. I’m not going to feel guilty about it. 

I train really hard, I’m very balanced — 80:20. I don’t look at food as good and bad anymore.

What would keep you awake at night?

Nothing, unless I’m in the middle of writing a new book or creating new recipes and I can’t sleep because I’ve so many ideas. Also, if I don’t get to train in a day, I find it really hard to sleep.

How do you relax?

I bake. I find working with your hands is such a therapeutic thing. It really helps me switch off and be a little bit creative.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Graham Norton, he’s a great ambassador for Ireland; Jamie Oliver — he has made such a business out of food; Tyler Hamilton, the author of the Secret Race

. He used to be on Lance Armstrong’s team. There are so many questions I want to ask about the book. It’s my favourite — I read it twice.

What’s your favourite smell?

Bacon. I think it’s quite nostalgic. It always reminds me of a Sunday breakfast.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

I’m 5ft 11in but I’d actually like to be a little bit taller. If I was my stride would be a lot longer for running.

What traits do you least like in others?

I think insecurity can cause a lot of problems. It can lead to a lot of other things like jealousy and putting other people down. 

We all have insecurities — I had insecurities when I was modelling. But I think being able to manage and rationalise them is really important.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I’m very messy — especially when I’m cooking and baking. I’m creative and messy — it just goes hand in hand.

Do you pray?

When I’m really scared about something — it’s ‘holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners’. I don’t consider myself a religious person. From a young age, I looked at [religion] more as a way of life in terms of how you should treat other people. 

Going to church when I was young gave me such a sense of security — I think that was a nice part of it.

What would cheer up your day?

If someone stops me in the street and tells me that they love my cookbook, Natural Born Feeder. It’s like my child, my favourite thing in the world. 

I’m not a trained chef — you want to prove that the recipes are delicious, they are healthy, they are simple. You don’t have to be a Michelin-star chef to make them.


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