'I never aspired to be on telly': Presenter Anna Daly

The harder I work the luckier I get — I think that's a good piece of advice about work ethic
'I never aspired to be on telly': Presenter Anna Daly

'Take the opportunities': Anna Daly started her clothing brand,  Little Bliss, last year.

I grew up in Templeogue with my mum, dad, and my brother David and I actually didn't move out until I bought a house with my boyfriend, who is now my husband, Ben. We have three little boys and live in Greystones now. They're four, eight, and nine, so it's noisy. 

My line of work is not what I set out to do. I didn't ever aspire to be on the telly. I wasn't one of those kids who was reading the news for their parents. I was not an obvious TV presenter. I was working in the marketing department of TV3, before it was Virgin Media, because that's what I studied in college. I got promoted to marketing manager and then came the suggestion that I might screen test for Ireland AM. Low and behold, I took a complete career change.

It was in 2008, which was the same year I got married and we moved house that year. It was not the way I had planned things at the time but sometimes life just throws everything at you at once. I like to have time to plan things and have breathing space — but, looking back, it was amazing how everything fell into place. You have to take the opportunities. I always say it to the researchers and runners on the show now: Never turn anything down, even if you think you have too much on because you'll totally cope with it and you'll be delighted you did it.

Becoming a parent was the hardest challenge I've ever faced. I always wanted children but I was worried about childbirth. Then you get through that and you're trying to do everything right as a new parent and then it's trying to juggle work and being a mum. I'm still trying to get the balance right. Nobody ever really does but we do our best. It's not an exclusively female thing either. My husband is always trying to get the balance right as well. You just hope the pie chart is fairly divided up. 

I love my job and I'm very proud of what I do but ultimately what trumps everything is the three children that I marvel at on a daily basis. I'd like my kids to think I'm a decent, approachable mother. I always say to them that they won't be in trouble once they tell the truth and that I want them to talk to me about anything. I hope that will always continue as they get older and the challenges get a bit more complicated.

The people I turn to most are my mother and my husband. For family stuff, I'm very quick to turn to my mother and also my mother-in-law and for work stuff and life advice, I turn around and pester Ben.

At work, I'd like people to remember me for just being me. Ireland Am is a show where you can't be anything but yourself. There's no point trying to be like someone else. It's three hours with a lot of off-the-cuff stuff so you do need to be yourself. I hope people think I'm authentic. 

I love the line: 'The harder I work the luckier I get.' I think that's a good piece of advice about work ethic — what you put into something is what you get out of it. Good manners and a smile also take you a long way too. Those are the lessons I would try to bring home to my children.

The other lesson I would like to pass on is that you never know what's going on in someone else's life. I remember my mother telling me about a shopping trip she took to buy a suit for her mother's funeral and I always think: 'No one knew when she was in that shop that she was buying an outfit for her mother's funeral.' You just never know what's going on in someone's life. I try to keep it in mind when I see a mean text or a troll-style Tweet. When I started on Ireland AM, for every 50 compliments sent in, there would be one horrible one. It affects you when you see it first but now it doesn't bother me at all. I actually feel sympathy now for the people that send them.

The kindness of people during the pandemic surprised me. My parents' neighbours, who are young girls in college, would go down to the pharmacy and do the shopping for them while they were cocooning. That warmed my heart.

I'm scared of needles and blood. It's a genuine phobia. I'm trying desperately not to let my children see that fear because I don't want to pass it on. On a larger level, I'm scared of losing loved ones, which I think is everyone's fear. Life is so precious.

If I hadn't taken a fork in the road, I think I would still be in that corporate career. I have my husband to thank for it because I initially turned the screen test down but he pushed me to do it. I think I have taken my fork — and it's working out really well.

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