Style Celebrity Features

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Life lessons with Kathryn Thomas: 'I'd tell my 16-year-old self not to worry about what some guy thinks of you'

Kathryn Thomas: My plan was to go to Hollywood, but I only got as far as Donnybrook. Photo: Frank McGrath
Kathryn Thomas: My plan was to go to Hollywood, but I only got as far as Donnybrook. Photo: Frank McGrath
Power couple: Kathryn Thomas and partner Padraig McLoughlin
Kathryn Thomas in No Frontiers
Kathryn Thomas at The Shelbourne Hotel to launch Centra Walk The World in aid of the Irish Cancer Society Action Breast Cancer campaign
Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

From her days of travelling around the world on No Frontiers to soothing the participants on The Voice of Ireland and Operation Transformation, Kathryn Thomas (36) has been a constant fixture on our TV screens for the last decade. Hailing from Carlow, the presenter has been dating restaurateur Padraig McLoughlin since 2013. A keen fitness and well-being advocate, last year she founded the Pure Results Bootcamp.

If I could tell my 16-year-old self anything, it would be not to worry about the size of your thighs and what some guy thinks of you. Get out there and travel, because doing that opened my eyes a lot and I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity.

I loved boarding school, but bawled my eyes out on the first night in my little single bed. After that, I was happy out. Boarding forces you to grow up and gain independence, and it's a huge bonding experience. The friends I made there were there when I was the world's worst waitress, and now as a TV presenter.

I was a bit of a messer in school, and was more into sports and drama than academics. I got myself into a little bit of trouble, sneaking in to the boys' dorms and getting out of windows. I had a wake-up call in sixth year when I realised that I needed to get a good Leaving Cert, so I knuckled down and found that I actually liked studying.

Power couple: Kathryn Thomas and partner Padraig McLoughlin
Power couple: Kathryn Thomas and partner Padraig McLoughlin

When you lose people you love, it solidifies why family are so important. I'm very close to my parents, Anne and Gwynne, and they're very young at heart and have a lot of spirit. They separated a long time ago now, but it was very amicable and they're still great friends.

I've had a great year in many respects, but losing my grandmother, Margaret, and Padraig's mum, Joan, was very hard. Joan was an incredible, amazing woman, who lived for her husband and kids. She she died in January from cancer. I really wish I'd had more time to get to know her.

When I was single, my grandmother was always trying to introduce me to waiters or taxi drivers. She was great craic and one of my best friends, and we used to go away together like Thelma and Louise. She always said to remember the family you came from, and not to try to be someone you're not.

My plan was to go to Hollywood but I only got as far as Donnybrook. My sister Linda works for Google in LA, and I've been over to see her and have seen how insane and frantic it is there. You have to have a lollipop head, stick body, the big white teeth and a head of extensions, and without that, you're nobody.

When you're in the spotlight, people are going to judge you by how you look as well as what you're doing. I think because I've grown up on Irish television, people accept me for who I am and they're very supportive.

Like any woman, I have my own hang-ups and body issues. There are bits that wobble, so I'm not completely happy with how I look. I have only found my own look in the last few years. I live healthily 80pc of the time, but still like to have my Indian meal and a bottle of wine on a Sunday night.

I take my hat off to anyone who sets up a business, particularly women. I jumped in and didn't have a clue what I was actually doing when I was setting up Pure Results Bootcamp. I came into it with a public profile that put me five steps ahead, but getting sales in and borrowing money was still hard.

I thought it would be a lot easier than it was, as I had to go door-to-door, give out leaflets and sell my soul to get the word out there. I paid a huge down-payment for the premises and was waiting for the phone to ring, but it didn't and I literally didn't sleep for three nights with worry. Thankfully it has worked out.

I feel very lucky because I'm very happy, in love and in a great place in my life. People talk about finding 'The One' and I thought that was a load of nonsense. Then I met himself two-and-a-half years ago and became one of those annoying people. Padraig is very kind, funny and hard-working, and what brings happiness to a relationship is when you bring out the best in the other person.

At 36, I'm aware there's a ticking time clock. I'm in a relationship and everything is going well so hopefully having children happens for us. We're not seriously thinking about it right now, but it's definitely something to think about.

It's great being able to put your key in the door, put on a tracksuit, and switch off from everything. My favourite place in the world is being at home with my puggles, Peter and Poppy, and Arthur the cat, and I'm a bit of a couch potato because I'm so busy during the week. Everything is a little out-of-order and out-of-sync in my house.

I don't think there's anybody who hasn't been affected by breast cancer, so I'm delighted to be involved with Centra's 'Walk the World' initiative. Next Saturday, 200 Centra stores will host a walk in their local community to help raise much-needed funds for the Irish Cancer Society's Action Breast Cancer programme. I love the idea of Centra bringing communities together, as unfortunately cancer affects every parish in the country.

Kathryn Thomas in No Frontiers
Kathryn Thomas in No Frontiers

To register for Centra's 'Walk the World' on October 17 and take part in your local walk in aid of the Irish Cancer Society's Action Breast Cancer programme, see

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