Caitlin McBride: We could all learn a thing or two from Kathryn Thomas' attitude to criticism
There’s a reason Kathryn Thomas is one of Ireland’s most successful presenters.
She’s got talent coming out of her ears, girl-next-door looks and perhaps most appealing, a rather laissez-faire attitude to public opinion of her private life.
She’s one of the few stars who have managed to enjoy a 15-year career in the public eye with not only maintaining her popularity, but seeing it increase as time goes on. And why? Because she, in her own words, “doesn’t care as much”.
Not about the work, that much is obvious, but the 37-year-old presenter said she’s become less censored in interviews as she gets older. She’s clearly comfortable in her own skin, does her own thing and she seems to be personally and professionally thriving as a result.
Case in point: she was largely critiqued on Twitter for a risqué outfit choice on Sunday night’s first live show of The Voice of Ireland. Sure, the outfit didn’t do her any favours, but instead of ensuring a week’s worth of publicity coverage with comebacks and criticisms, she nipped it in the bud on Monday night, saying: "I loved the dress, I loved the hair, I loved the make-up and if some people don't like it, they don't like it. You're never going to please everybody all of the time and if you did, it would be sort of boring."
Even if you didn’t like the outfit, you couldn’t fault her response.
In comparison, just last week, model Daniella Moyles was heavily criticised for her choice of outfit while discussing a charity trip on The Seven O’Clock Show. Was a plunging jumpsuit appropriate pre-watershed to discuss a recent trip to Lebanon to meet with Syrian refugees ? Probably not. Should people have rushed to hurl insults at her online, even referring to her a “prostitute”? Absolutely not.
Daniella made lemonade out of lemons though and in one week, she shot a ‘Mean Tweets’ video for TV3’s Facebook page, issued a statement on Twitter and then posed for a photoshoot to accompany a 600-word piece on body shaming, which was later published on this website.
It’s not the first time that members of the public have come out fighting when it comes to the appearance of Irish celebritie (all female). When model Roz Purcell’s ad for Newbridge’s eShe range was banned in 2015 for being “too provocative” (literally one person complained), she didn’t dwell on the topic. She simply stated: “I was surprised as anyone who has seen it from my family loved it and they would always be very critical, especially if they found something too provocative. I still love the ad and shoot and I think the majority do too."
RTE weather presenter Jean Byrne is no stranger to commentary about her on air wardrobe choices, but instead of dwelling on the critics, it seems she relishes the attention, actively outdoing herself at every opportunity and pulling it off with confidence most would kill for.
"I would never imitate anyone," she said. "I just wear what I like to wear. I think my style is quite avant-garde. I think Bjork and Lady Gaga dress that way, too. If anyone compared me to Bjork, I would take it as a massive compliment."
It certainly opens up an interesting debate about Everyday Sexism and the treatment of women in the public eye, but in the meantime, we could all learn a thing or two from Kathryn Thomas.