Top 10 Miss Ireland winners: Where are they now?
With pageant season underway, we trace 10 of the most successful Miss Ireland winners.
Amanda Brunker – 1991
Possibly the most successful winner of all time, Amanda was crowned Miss Ireland when she was just 17 years old. With a career spanning over two decades, the multi-talented beauty has tried her hand at almost everything, with her resumé boasting presenting, acting and writing – not to mention her being the face of her own range of sofas for furniture giant, DFS.
As an author, her Champagne Trilogy soared to the top of the book charts, making her a ‘Number One Best Selling Author’. Now a married mother of two adorable boys, Amanda is giving playwriting a bash with her saucy debut, Curiosity, available as an audio book for just €2.99 on her website.
Joanne Black – 1995
This Cavan girl was no stranger to awards, having picked up the prestigious Miss Limerick Photogenic gong before winning Miss Ireland in 1995. Once described as ‘Ireland’s most eligible young woman’, she chose to pursue acting in New York, before moving to London to continue modelling for a few years.
She studied styling at the London College of Fashion and now works as an image consultant with her own company, Joanne Black Style. As a stylist, she boasts a pretty impressive client base including supermodel Petra Nemcova and Irish actress Sarah Bolger.
Niamh Redmond – 1996
Drimnagh native Niamh’s crowning qualified her to represent the country at Miss World in1996, where she didn’t place, claiming a red dress she wore backstage had upset the judging panel. Niamh was something of a controversial pageant queen when she (gasp!) appeared in advert for contraceptives shortly after being crowned. She announced her retirement from modelling at age 22.
She went on the complete a Finance Degree and now works in IT.
Andrea Roche – 1997
The Tipperary beauty is one of Ireland’s most photographed women, and the beginning of her reign at the top of the Irish social scene dates back to 1997 when she won Miss Ireland. She became the most successful contender at the time when she placed in the top 10 at the Miss Universe pageant in 1998.
After a successful career, she retired from modelling in 2008 to set up her own agency. AR Models launched in a storm of controversy which saw many of Ireland’s most in-demand girls abandoning their agents for a spot on Andrea’s books. She has been credited with discovering models such as Roz Purcell, Pippa O'Connor and Miss World 2003 Rosanna Davison and is now married to businessman Rob White, with whom she has a daughter, Sophie.
Aoife Cogan – 2005
Aoife was just 17 when she was spotted by stylist Sinead Keenan to attend an open for the Brown Thomas International Fashion Show. She got the gig and her first trip down the catwalk was with modelling legends Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington. But it was Aoife’s good pal, publishing boss Michael O’Doherty, who suggested she apply for Miss Ireland in 2005, as ‘Miss VIP [Magazine]’.
She went on to win the title and she remained at the top of the modelling game for the next 13 years. She is now married to Irish rugby star Gordon D’Arcy and they welcomed their first child, a daughter Soleil, in May. They now run Form School, a Pilates, Ballet and Yoga studio, in Dublin 2 and will no doubt be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her Miss Ireland win next month.
Blaithnaid McKenna – 2007
Naas-born Blathnaid entered the competition as ‘Miss Time Bar and Venue’ in 2007, and was a bookies favourite from the offset. Speaking at the time, she said she considered her talent to be “the ability to speak four different languages, but whether or not this is considered a talent in the Miss World competition, I am not sure.”
She was also a favourite to win Miss World, but it seemed her incredible linguistic skills weren’t appreciated on the international stage as she didn’t place in the competition. After dabbling with the modelling industry, she now works in PR.
Sinead Noonan – 2008
Sinead entered the Miss World competition as ‘Miss Meath’ in 2008, and went on to place top ten in the Miss World competition. She was represented by the Compton Model Agency upon her return but soon jumped ship to Assets, before once again returning to Compton.
Like many Irish models of the time, she then moved to the AR Agency, where she built up a solid portfolio. In 2009 she said that she would welcome any offers to pose nude, provided it was tastefully done, but it seems her modelling days may well be over as she recently made the move to Dubai where she joined the cabin crew at Emirates.
Emma Waldron – 2010
Kildare beauty Emma was named Miss Ireland in 2010 and placed fourth at the Miss World competition in China that year.
She carved out a successful career as a model with, yes you guessed it, AR Models. She recently made the brave move into the cut-throat world of international modelling, quitting her job as a primary school teacher to settle down in New York.
Emma regularly updates her Instagram account with photos of her mingling with celebrities such as Tyra Banks, and was recently a guest on MSNBC discussing the "dangerous use of the term ‘plus-sized’ in the modelling world", highlighting that she is considered a 'curve' model in spite of her slim physique.
Holly Carpenter – 2011
Raheny native Holly picked up the accolade of Miss Ireland in 2011, before joining the cast of wannabe-models in the 9th cycle of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. After a few weeks in the bottom two, she was eliminated of the reality TV show, placing 7th. Now a successful model in her own right, she was the victim of ‘catfishing’ this year, where fake profiles were set up using her name and photos on dating site Tinder.
More recently, the striking Dubliner's hilarious blog post, titled ‘What She’s Really Saying On Snapchat’, went viral and was picked up my media outlets all over the world, including MTV, Playboy and Buzzfeed.