The term “beauty with brains” always seems a little cliché so perhaps the phrase “beauty and brains” is much more fitting for former Miss Ireland, Rebecca Maguire.
Rebecca was crowned Miss Ireland in 2012, following a suggestion from her agent, Cathy Martin, that she enter the competition, an experience she truly thrived in and enjoyed and one that offered her numerous opportunities to further her modelling career but when asked her proudest moment in her career thus far, it’s her achievements within her education and profession as a pharmacist she turns to.
From a young age this beauty queen was determined to enter a career that allowed her to help others and a resounding theme of grit and determination throughout our interview revealed her passion for education and helping younger people in their education also.
While Rebecca may refer to the origins of her modelling career as accidental, make no mistake – she works extremely hard and any success experienced since then, she’s earned.
There’s much more than make up and modelling to Rebecca Maguire. In her interview with The Style Edit, Rebecca chats about learning to handle criticism within the industry, her most unexpected moment within her Beauty Queen and Single journey and the importance of knowing and respecting your worth.
When did your dream job look like when you were younger?
When I was younger I never really thought about what I wanted to be, but from a young age I wanted to be a doctor or do something to help people. I went on my work experience in the hospital and cried because I saw an old man who was in terrible pain, he was dying. I cried every day for weeks remembering it. Then I wanted to be a pathologist and I did some work experience at the morgue. It was amazing, but my mum talked me out of it because it freaked her out. Then I went down the science route and here I am!
What inspired you to enter the Miss Ireland pageant?
I fell into modelling and Miss Ireland accidentally. I was approached in town by Cathy Martin (my current agent) who planted the seed in my mind. I came second the first year I entered Miss Ireland and by then I was determined to win. It was an amazing opportunity and platform. If you use the opportunity correctly you can be very successful; just look at previous winners.
What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far during your career in the modelling and tv industry?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that (to be frank) there is always someone who comes along who will be better than you. Just accept that fact now…thinner/taller/more beautiful. Castings can be cruel, but I’ve learned to be myself and “take it on the chin” as my dad says. I’ve never changed who I am to “fit in” and you never should. I’m a great believer in what is for you won’t pass you by either.
How do you balance a full time role in pharmacy, modelling work and starring on Beauty Queen and Single?
I won Miss Ireland while I was studying in Queens so I’ve always has to juggle my career and studies and now “grown up job”. I’ve never known any different but I look back now and think how did I do that? I’d put it down to determination and natural ability to learn a lot of information by reading it once (I’m one of those people you hated in school). With my career now I just think I worked so hard it would be silly not to pursue it. However I like to keep my options open and I’m open to new things, like beauty queens! It really kicked off and the response has been amazing. When one door closes another opens, I look forward to my future ventures.
What’s your biggest frustration within the modelling industry?
My biggest frustration (which is shared by many in the industry) is people ruining it for others by doing things for no fee. It’s okay when you start out to build pictures etc, but people who call themselves models after a test shoot? It’s not the case. My advice to you would be to get yourself an agent and don’t sell yourself short and know your worth. Also brands – you get what you pay for.
What’s been the most unexpected moment in your Beauty Queen and Single journey?
The “unexpected moment” came for me when the show first came out. I was consulting with a patient for the morning after pill and she asked could she take her photo with me as she recognised me and loved the show. I politely declined to say the least.
Tell us about your proudest moment in your career so far
The proudest moment for me was when I graduated from QUB pharmacy. The university asked me to be a representative for the whole university for graduation 2015. It was such an honour for me and I was the “cover girl” for all their press that year. My dad told me he was the proudest dad ever.
When did you first fall in love with beauty?
I have always loved beauty but I suspose when I won miss Ireland I went on a crash course! I was given lessons in everything. I thought I knew about it before I won – I realised I didn’t at all. I also learn a lot from MUAs I work with, you can’t help it when you get your make up done so often.
What’s your worst beauty habit?
My worst beauty habit would probably be leaving my make up on and falling asleep. That’s so bad!
What was the first makeup product you ever bought?
The first product I ever bought was sunshimmer tan. I used to only tan my legs and the rest of my body would be white. Early 00s problems!
If you could give your teenage self one piece of beauty advice, what would it be?
I would tell my teenage self to be more body confident. We take for granted how great everything was then like your skin and figure. I’d also tell my teenage self to eat EVERYTHING you want because after 25 you can’t anymore and I have to work out now to keep in shape.
Which beauty products could you not live without?
My favourite beauty thing would actually be my hair extensions. I use goldclass and they are applied by La Bella vita in Belfast.
One beauty trend you hate?
I’m hating the crazy make up look right now and the huge eyebrows. I think less is more. I see young girls wearing far too much make up and it hides their beauty. The fake lip thing is ridiculous right now too.
What’s your go-to confidence boosting outfit?
My go-to outfit would be something from Reiss. I recently went in and fitted into a size 6 (I am definitely not a size 6) so I like their fit and sizing. I think classy timeless pieces are so sexy.
What’s one question you wish people asked about you but never do?
I like sharing my experiences with education and helping younger people. I guess I’d like more people to ask me about exams or uni options if they are interested in similar things. Lots of people mail me about stuff like that and I’m more than happy to help! Just send me an insta message and I always get back.
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me? I can’t tell you sorry I’ve signed a NDA. But watch this space…
Follow Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccamaguiree to stay up to date with all of her latest news.