Sugar is my biggest enemy.
I started modeling when I was in fifth year in school.
I didn’t know anything about the business and only got involved because I came across an advertisement for a new modeling agency in Cork that was holding auditions for casting.
I decided to go along and it went from there — they provided a course on walking and beauty tips and basically informed me about how to perform at castings and how to get work.
After school, I did business in The College of Commerce and before I took up modeling full time I worked in Brown Thomas and a couple of other retail outlets in Cork.
I was a shy type of child growing up. I was the eldest of three and my earliest memory is of playing with my sister in our house in Ballincollig before we moved to Frankfield.
I had very little confidence in the beginning. Everything changed for me when I entered Miss Cork — that was the turning point. I was crowned Miss Ireland last year and will keep the title until summer 2015. I’m 21 now and recently represented Ireland at the Miss World competition, which was held in London.
It was wonderful, and scary. It was daunting to meet the other 125 participants from different cultures, from all around the world. It was a surreal experience and I was very proud to be representing my country. My biggest challenge is having to spend so much time away from my family for jobs such as that. I have become used to performing over the years so there are no longer any nerves.
I’m careful about what I eat and try and maintain a healthy diet. The gym is a good way to de-stress. When I’m training hard, before a big event such as Miss World, I’d go to the gym a couple of times a week and do half an hour of cardio followed by another 30 minutes of body weights and 20 minutes on the cross trainer or treadmill.
I wasn’t that interested in fashion until my teenage years. Now, it has become a passion. My favourite designers are Louise Kennedy and Marc Jacobs. I’d describe my own style as classic. I have a lot of formal wear for going out in but when I’m at home, it’s casual all the way — jeans and T-shirts.
Modeling and working in the fashion business has made me more healthy, not less. You have to you be fit to be able to cope with the very long days. An average working day could last for nine hours when you are doing a fashion show so you have to be capable of keeping yourself energised for long periods.
My biggest fault is that I am very indecisive. It takes me ages to make a decision. I’m definitely a lark, a morning person.
My idea of hell is sitting in an office all day long, doing the same thing. I love traveling and really want to continue working in this business. No two days are ever the same. I could start work at 6am one day and not be needed until 11am the next, so there is no such thing as a set routine. It’s something new every day and I like that.
Throughout my year as Miss Ireland I have worked with some amazing people, charities, and companies, and am proud to be an ambassador for the CRY Ireland, (Cardiac Risk in the Young). I hope to raise as much awareness as possible for the charity.
My biggest fear is spiders. Everyone in my family has always been terrified of them. Luckily none of my modeling jobs have called for me to pose with any spiders — not yet, anyway.
Out of all the types of modeling I’ve done, I enjoy taking part in fashion shows the most as I get to wear so many beautiful pieces and also get to know the clients.
My favourite place is Bunnyconnellans, on the coast, with its stunning views of Cork Harbour and Roche’s Point. So far life has taught me to take everything as it comes. I love that kind of outlook. I definitely believe that everything happens for a reason
There was no real history of modeling in my family, my mother worked in childcare. I still might go into marketing at a later date
Jessica Hayes is an ambassador for CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) who are currently looking for people to join them on their annual Camino Trek to Santiago De Compostela in Spain to help them raise vital funds, see www.cry.ie for further information.
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