THE new Miss Cork is a big country music fan who loves nothing more than rearranging the furniture in her parents’ house.
Tara Nolan is in her first year studying Interior Architecture at CIT and, now that it’s finally sinking in, is relishing her new title and all that it involves.
The 19-year-old from Cloughduv said entering Miss Cork wasn’t something she’d normally consider, but is now so glad she ‘just went for it’.
“I didn’t really think I’d have the confidence for it but then I thought ‘why not?’ I had no expectation of winning, that wasn’t why I entered, it was to try something new and different.
“I was in complete shock when I heard my name being called — I just froze!,” said Tara.
Her mum and dad, Mary and Kieran; 16-year-old brother Ryan and 14-year-old sister Kelly were in the audience on the night to see her win, along with her boyfriend Luke O’Shea, a first year medicine student in UCC from Aherla.
Tara, who still lives at home, said they were all extremely proud of her, along with her fellow CIT students.
She’ll now represent Cork at the Miss Ireland in Dublin this September and has signed with organisers Pulse Models for the year which she’s very excited about.
The competition was her first foray down a catwalk but she loved it.
Considering her course choice, she is naturally artistic — and has been ‘drawing at the table’ since she can remember.
“I break my mum’s heart, moving furniture around my room and the house, including the kitchen table!
“I’m in the second semester of my course and I love it. Ideally, the plan is to finish the four years and work in an architect’s office, but I might go on and do further studies in construction management — who knows!”
Music is Tara’s other love — with major inspiration coming from both her parents and paternal grandfather. Her parents, both originally from Bantry, met through music and mum Mary sings in a two piece cabaret style band called Shadow.
“If mum was singing in a hotel or we were at a family event, I might get called up to sing but I’m too busy with college at the moment to really pursue it. I love country music — even though I might get judged for saying that!
“I wouldn’t go so far as the likes of Dolly Parton — even though I love 9 To 5! I like US singer Blake Shelton who is with Gwen Stefani. My dad and grandad (Kevin Nolan) are also big into music — my grandad has a recording studio at the back of his house in Bantry and has written and recorded original songs.”
Tara, who has just started doing promotional work with Hopkins Communications, has no idea yet what or who she’ll be wearing at the Miss Ireland final.
“I don’t even know what I’m wearing next week!” she joked.
For one of the looks on the competition night, contestants had to wear something that captured their individual style: “I went for a red flowery play suit from Topshop; and for another look I wore my debs dress.
“I do like fashion but I wouldn’t say I’m very out there. My style is more of a classic one,” said Tara.
She cites the likes of Cheryl Cole and Jennifer Aniston as people whose style she admires.
And to anyone thinking of entering the competition next year, she says “there’s nothing to lose.”.
“It may not be for everyone, but I found it a great confidence booster and it’s going to bring so many opportunities — I’d totally recommend it if you want to try something new and put yourself out there.”
She said there was a great spirit of friendship among all contestants, and even made some new friends.
“I put fake nails on the morning of the final and couldn’t zip up my dresses with them or attach my sash but everyone was helping everyone back stage — all the girls were great!”
David Kelleher, who runs the competition with Amy Barry, said Tara was chosen because she has huge potential go further.
“She’s a really down to earth girl; very polite; can interact with others very well and looks fantastic,” said David, of Pulse Model Agency. “She stands out from the crowd.”