BY ELAINE DUGGAN
AFTER a whirlwind of a year as Miss Cork, Orla Clancy is looking forward to putting her feet up for a little while…but also getting back to her music.
The 24-year-old Mallow woman, who works in City Wax, based in Mahon Industrial Estate, in Blackrock, hands over her crown this weekend. One of the first things she hopes to do is to undertake singing lessons again, and get back on track with her vocals and bring her guitar back out again.
Music has been a big part of Orla’s life in recent years - but something had to give, as she juggled her full-time job and her role as Miss Cork over the past 12 months, and so she had to leave it for a while.
“It is what I miss the most,” she said.
The former St Mary’s Secondary School pupil, studied beauty and body therapy at Mallow College of Further Education before going onto to Colaiste Stiofain Naofa, where she studied Music Management and was a member of two bands, Limit 60, a pop/rock band, where she was the lead singer, and Routlette, a four piece girl group who supported the Saturdays.
“I go back to singing lessons next week and hopefully get back on track, get the guitar out again. Eventually I want to put my own videos up and write my own music.” Speaking about her year as Miss Cork, Orla, who also made it to the semi-finals of Miss Ireland said: “It absolutely flew, I can’t believe it is almost over.
Reflecting on the year gone by she said it was a lot of work, really intense, but she enjoyed it.
“I would do it again in a heart beat.” Highlights include the pampering and VIP treatment they got at the Imperial Hotel anniversary: “We were treated like celebrities.” She also recalls her work with the Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll, to whom she was an Ambassador. Orla’s family have close links with the charity as her mum Breda is fundraising manager there.
Orla also did some charity work for the Mercy Hospital - including launching the Mud Run and undertook the Pieta House Darkness into Light event.
She enjoyed the ladies lunches, the different openings she attended, the fundraising balls and much more.
She will keep up the modelling, but says the life isn’t for her full time, she wants to continue her job at City Wax and also go back to music, which might lead to a full time career someday.
“I loved the year, but once I got the the Mis Ireland contest you either realise that you like it or not and while I love working in the beauty industry and like modelling, it is not for me full time.
“The experience was amazing, the public speaking, getting to deal with so many different people, I made wonderful contacts.” She added that she was happy the experience did not change her and that she presented herself genuinely throughout the whole year.
“It can change you a little bit, the industry is very competitive. I really enjoyed it, it was a great experience and I matured from it.” Her advice to anyone going on stage on Saturday night is to “be yourself”, and “be real”.
“Don’t change. A lot try to change, because it is competitive. Stay grounded. Don’t become the person you don’t want to be.” She said people should also know what they are singing up for.
“Make are you know the dedication you need to put towards it, especially if you have a full time job.” Age also matters she said: “You have to be mature, age does matter, being able to drive yourself around to different events, to be able to fend for yourself.” She said her age, 23 years old when she took the crown helped.
When we chat she was headed to Dublin to see Drake with boyfriend Vafa Lightfoot, from Canada, who is a Dentistry student at UCC, due to culminate his studies this June. He also models at Pulse, organisers of the Miss Cork competition.
Orla says she has been so busy that she is looking forward to “not being busy’ and doing the normal day to day stuff again.
This year’s Miss Cork takes place on March 4 when a total of 32 young women will go head to head at Fota Island Resort. The event is sponsored by Kearys Mini and organised by Pulse Model Agency.
Tickets are €25. There are VIP tickets for sale now on eventbrite