Miss Bikini Ireland Rebecca Hanley: 'My big ambition is to be a Victoria's Secret model'
Rebecca Hanley (21) is Miss Bikini Ireland. She also works in a preschool and a bar, while pursuing her modelling dream. With a degree in early childhood teaching and learning, she currently lives in Rathfarnham, Dublin with her mother and sisters
I try to get up at 8am, regardless of whether I've been working the night before or not.
I feel like I can get more done. I still live at home with my mum and two sisters in Rathfarnham. Generally, I get up when Mum is leaving for work. For breakfast, I'll have a pint of coffee and porridge. Everything has to be gluten-free. I can't say that I watch what I eat, but generally my cravings would be for healthy food. I'm very lucky with my figure. It's down to DNA because my mum has a slim build too.
While drinking my coffee, I have a look at social media for about an hour. I'm an Instagram person. I think it's brilliant, but I don't do an Instagram picture every day because I don't have the energy to put on make-up every day to take a nice picture. I post about two pictures a week. A lot of these are from the Miss Swimsuit USA International competition I did last October, where I came ninth out of 66 contestants. It was held in the Dominican Republic.
I follow a lot of people on Instagram. I like to look at a lot of interior-design stuff and travel blogs. My favourite thing is looking at pictures of places in the world where I want to go. I look at some models' Instagram pages too - mostly Australian models or girls based in LA. We all like looking at that lifestyle and wishing it was us. On Instagram, you can portray your life to be whatever way you want; however, it must be a lot easier if you're living in a sunny place and have money coming in.
My days can vary. I could be travelling into work - I do a few hours relief work in a preschool. I have a degree in early childhood teaching and learning. I used to do the preschool full-time but now I just do it once or twice a week, as I want to be free for modelling and promotions.
Also, I like to travel a lot. I work in a pub at the weekends. I do this work because it's easier to get time off. When I won Miss Bikini Ireland, I told them at the pub that I would be flying to the Dominican Republic the following week for Miss Swimsuit USA International, so I needed some time off. They were fine with that and just asked me to work the day after I returned.
I got into modelling because I was contacted through my Facebook page. That's the magic of social media. At the time, I was studying part-time for my degree in Maynooth and I was asked if I would enter Miss University. I talked to my mum about doing it and she said, 'What's the worst that can happen? That you don't get picked.' Just as I was finishing my thesis, I got a call to say that I'd been selected to be Miss Maynooth. I had never posed for photos before and I had to walk down the runway in club wear, evening wear and a bikini. It's second nature to me to walk around in a bikini as I go on holidays to Greece a lot and I go around the town there in my bikini.
I didn't place in the Miss University competition, but then, when I was away on holidays, someone liked one of my Instagram pictures. They asked me to enter Miss Bikini Ireland. It's a very modern occurrence. I had to fill out a questionnaire. They asked me if I had any insecurities about my body as a bikini model. I told them that my figure is quite boyish and I don't have any womanly curves. I didn't think about winning but I enjoyed the experience. I was thrilled to win Miss Bikini Ireland and, because of that, I had such fun competing in Miss Swimsuit USA International. The other girls were so lovely and I made some good friends. Also, I was in awe of their beauty.
We'd wake up in the morning and say, 'Ah, do we have to wear fake eyelashes today?' and then we'd be trying to stick them on each other. We helped one another swapping different false tans and exchanging hair-curling tips. As part of this competition, I won a trip to Vegas in July with 10 other girls. I think there will be some sort of industry party with producers and agents. It'll be amazing.
When I started filming for Miss Bikini Ireland, I discovered that I lit up for the cameras. This was a surprise, because I thought I'd be nervous. I feel very comfortable and happy in front of the cameras. Who knows, some day I might end up being a TV host. Ideally, I'd love to be signed and go to the States because that's where the money is and where you'll make it. I don't know if there is a market for my look in Ireland because I fit into the niche of bikini and lingerie. I see possibilities for me in the States.
My big ambition is to be a Victoria's Secret model. When they do their fashion show, those models really present a personality. Prior to entering Miss Bikini Ireland, I was planning to move to Holland to do a master's degree in behavioural neuroscience. I could still do that later on, but right now I'd love to pursue modelling.
Recently, in the evenings, I've started going to the gym with my friend from college. I'm not one for exercise, but it's something to do, and you feel better afterwards. I'm not big on going out to clubs. Besides, I've always worked weekends in pubs. I don't have a boyfriend and men are nothing but trouble, in my opinion. There are times when I'd love to have a boyfriend, just someone to go on a date with, but I'm very unlucky. It just doesn't happen for me. I think a lot of men don't want to spend the time getting to know someone when they can click on some app instead and find someone a mile away. But this doesn't ruin my day. I'm not actively looking for a man. Sometimes people send me messages on Instagram, saying, 'Hey, what's up?' and asking me out. When I say thanks but no thanks, they often get aggressive and presume that I have a boyfriend.
If I've been working with children during the day, I usually go to bed very early because I'm wiped. At night, I'd read rather than watch TV. The last book I read was on psychology. I might look at some blogs too, but I must get back to reading novels.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine