A PRIMARY school teacher will return to work a celebrity today after being crowned Miss Ireland.
Beauty queen Aoife O’Sullivan was looking forward to seeing her Junior Infant pupils at St Maries of the Isle this morning after beating off stiff competition from 31 other finalists at the Miss Ireland contest at the Helix Theatre.
The 23-year-old will jet off to China for the Miss World contest in December. However, for now, it’s business as usual for the Andrea Roche agency model.
While she is excited about representing her country, Aoife said she will miss her students dearly. “The competition is in China and I’ll be away for five weeks which is quite a long time,” she said.
“However, a lot of my friends have gone to countries like Dubai to work. I’m at the right age to travel and see the world so I don’t want to have any regrets.”
Aoife pointed out that the majority of her students are not aware of the Miss Ireland contest but some have got wind of her work as a model.
“I was teaching second class last year and one of the students from the class next door called in with a photograph of me.
“They had been cutting out pictures from magazines and newspapers when one of them came across a photograph of me.
“It was from the Galway Races so they were puzzled as to why I was wearing such a big hat. The kids had no idea about modelling and actually asked me if I was ‘a famous teacher’.
“They stuck the picture to the whiteboard for the rest of the day.”
Her chosen charity to support throughout the competition as Miss So Amazing Fashions was Jigsaw in Cork which helps young people with their mental health.
“The charity really appealed to me on a personal level. As a teacher I’m working with young people all the time, which is why I felt this charity was so fitting.”
It was a quirk of fate that tempted Aoife into a career in modelling.
“When I was younger I had a knee injury which meant I could no longer play camogie. It went beyond not being able to play with my team.
“I wasn’t able to get involved in any activity that required twisting and turning. This ruled out everything right down to playing tag rugby and tennis in the summer.
“I had to fill the void of doing nothing five nights a week and this is where modelling came in. Not being able to play camogie anymore was difficult at first but now I realise that everything happens for a reason.”
The model also has a talent for singing and musical theatre.
“There was an optional talent section in the Miss Ireland competition but I didn’t want the added pressure so decided not to pursue it.
“However, I’m hoping that with a bit of training I’ll be able to prepare something for the Miss World contest.”
Aoife originally entered the Miss Ireland contest in 2015 where she was named second runner-up. “I was very nervous at the time, which I think was reflective of my age and lack of experience. The next few years it ate away at me and I really wanted to enter again.
“On stage, I talked about how I was a different person from the girl who took part three years before. I answered the questions well which I feel stood to me this time.”
Aoife was joined by her boyfriend of one year, Cork hurler Colm Spillane, and her parents Michael and Liz at Sunday night’s glitzy event.
“It was the first time I cried happy tears,” she said.