The Shape I’m In: Young Offenders star Hilary Rose

ACTRESS Hilary Rose believes in being prepared. But it’s not for the next major storm, it’s for the next big role. And so at the start of the year, when her fitness instructor asked about her goals, she didn’t blink.

“I said I want to train like a superhero because when that role ever comes up I’ll be ready for it,” says the Cork native.

Rising to the challenge, her personal trainer has devised a series of ongoing demanding workouts. 

“I train as much as I can — two to three times a week — and as hard as I can.”

Her high-energy CV includes a time as a DJ in Cork and Dublin — “It was a massive part of my life” — a lecturer on the drama degree programme in the Cork School of Music — “I love it, it’s such a great school” — and a scriptwriter — “I did a lot of writing for the Republic of Telly.”

 She has also written a play, “at the moment I’m just putting the finishing touches to it”. 

And there’s another TV series she is in the process of writing.

She is currently playing the role of a different kind of superhero, a widowed mother in the hit comedy series, The Young Offenders.

“I love the character of Mairead. She’s a real tough nut but she’s got such a vulnerable streak. I think most mums can relate to that a little bit.” She has a two-year-old son, Jake, with her husband Peter Foott, the writer and director of the series.

“We do understand each other. The industry is tough — it’s very helpful that we’re both mixed up in it. But when you have a family you’re forced to leave it at the door which is great. Jake takes all our attention which is lovely.”

The Young Offenders, RTÉ 2, Tuesday, 9.30pm

What shape are you in?

I started training in earnest in 2010/11. Getting into training really changed my life. It was something that I skipped over in my 20s. After having Jake, I came back at the training really hard. I consider myself very fit, very strong. I do strength and conditioning training in a wonderful gym in Carrigaline called KJ Strength and Performance.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I don’t diet. Ever. I always have a really good breakfast and I go everywhere with snacks — cold pressed nuts and fruit bars, bananas and apples and green juices that I make myself. I’m like a baby, I need to be fed every three hours. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we do mostly fish and greens in our house. Other days of the week we have stews and salad. My husband is a really good cook.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

At the weekend I just love a glass of wine, always red, and chocolate. We’ve a friend who’s an organic wine supplier. He chooses whatever he likes and it’s always amazing. I have a theory that organic wines give you less of a hangover — not that I go through a bottle of wine a night.

What would keep you awake at night?

Not a lot. Jake is a great sleeper. I sleep like a baby.

How do you relax?

We just like to hang out as a family. A small kid is very demanding on your time and I’d feel guilty if I can’t give Jake my time.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Honestly, my family. We’ve all grown up and we have our own families and it’s so hard to get all of us together. I’m really lucky my parents are still alive. I just want as much time with them as possible.

What’s your favourite smell?

Freshly cut grass. For me, it always signals the summer.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

At this stage of my life, I’ve learnt to live with myself and love myself — I know it sounds clichéd. [If I could] I’d probably roll back a couple of wrinkles and a few grey hairs.

When is the last time you cried?

It was while watching The Young Offenders. I hadn’t seen some of the episodes before they went to air and even though I’m in it, I still did find it quite moving. Episodes 3 and 4 are particularly powerful. For me, it’s the culmination of all our work — that in itself is emotive.

What traits do you least like in others?

Somebody who’s not very open-minded. At least if you’re open minded you can engage in intelligent conversation.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I am a little short tempered. I’m working on it.

Do you pray?

I don’t. I might have a personal mantra but I couldn’t recite it. It’s based on something higher.

What would cheer up your day?

A smile and a hug from my son. He’s a little dote.


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