Writer, Business Consultant and Sligo Warrior Queen

Why did you say yes to this campaign? What was your WHY to participate?

I said yes before I thought about it too much. I often do this, it’s a kind of ‘why not’ attitude. I was curious, having seen Olga’s work already. She has her own way of showing beauty in her photographed women and I was curious as to how she would ‘interpret’ me. Plus, I’m proud to be in my fifties and wanted to send this message out via the campaign. There was no way I would have taken the time to be photographed if I did not have the campaign to us as an excuse. Why is this? I had not thought about being nervous until she told me the night before there is no need to be nervous. Driving out to her studio the next morning, through the Sligo countryside and into Mayo, I wondered was I a fraud. Would she photograph me into something I was not, or show me something I did not know I have?

Tell me a little about you and your story:

Gosh! It’s not often people ask me that. It’s usually me asking them! I was born in Dublin and moved to Sligo in the early nineties to work in theatre. Having done that for five years, I set up my own business working in production, planning and strategy in the arts, culture, tourism and community sectors. I threw in a bit of public relations too. Prior to this I had broken my parents’ hearts by giving up three permanent pensionable jobs in eighties recession ridden Ireland, these were the golden eggs! Several decades on, I live in a village in Sligo, still run my own and have been married for 25 years. I have one girl in Australia and one in her final year in school. During COVID I bought a van and converted it to a camper while doing a BA Hons in English Writing and Literature – fulfilling two lifelong dreams. I love life and I love living in Sligo. I still run my own business but spend time each day in my studio writing and podcasting. I’m passionate about examining and writing and talking about contemporary life in Ireland. What makes us and our society the way we are?

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Me, me, me. Not very fond at all of looking at myself. But I’ve got better as the years go by. I don’t loiter unless I am putting on make up. If I loiter too long I become self-critical. That’s why I really don’t know how I will react to Olga’s photos when I see them.

Describe yourself in 3 words:

I Am Me

Do you feel like you have changed since turning 50?

Yes! 40 was good, but being 50 is the business, especially 55. Whoop Whoop! I am me and the world can take me or leave me. I am not afraid to show compassion or call out about badness.

What are the most rewarding things about getting older?

Growing fully into myself and having the confidence to wear my real self all the time. Realising I can still have the attitudes and directness of my teens and madness of my twenties. There are still so many adventures waiting to be grabbed, both on my doorstep and further afield. Hitting 55, I realised I had the power to choose my adventure.

What has been the best life lesson you have learned along the way?

Always be yourself and believe in yourself. If you are not sure of a course of action, put yourself in the other persons position and decide how you would act if you were them. Always be kind.

What advice would you give to your younger self about caring for yourself?

Care for yourself mentally as much as you do physically. Love yourself and give yourself time for dreaming, exercising and nurturing. Be kind. Always.

What is your favourite quote?

‘Above all to thine own self be true.’ I did that for Leaving Certificate ‘Hamlet’ in 1984. I can’t believe how a quote, written hundreds of years ago, it is still so relevant to me forty years after learning it.

What do you love most about your new portraits? Is there something new you discovered about yourself?

The photos remind me that I have many different facets. I’ve always loved clothes and make up and their transformative power. This power is way more than external. Clothes and make up are a mode of expression for me. They can reflect a mood, change a mood or mask a mood. For this campaign, I had to select from my wardrobe clothes that were  photographable. They show particular versions of me. When I look at the photographs Olga took, I smile, feel fabulous, and smile again,  knowing that there is always more to explore.  Maybe it’s a fifties thing. Wherever this zest to explore myself comes from, I want to share it with other women as early in life their lives as possible.

What was your favourite part of working with me?

The most special part of taking the time out to do this campaign was just that – taking time out. For me. Each time I look at the photos, I hope to remind myself to take a moment to ask myself how my life and me are getting along at that moment in time.

Would YOU like to be part of this campaign celebrating women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond?