Eoghan Young-Murphy talks to the model, actress and fitness fanatic about how her life has changed this year .
From music video star to personal trainer, Madeline Mulqueen has undergone an unusual transformation recently.
The Kildimo, Co Limerick, beauty’s star rose dramatically in 2010 when she performed in the hit music video for The Rubberbandits’ Horse Outside as the sought-after bridesmaid. Now, she features on RTÉ’s comedy series Republic of Telly and is a model with Morgan The Agency.
After a dramatic conversion to fitness earlier this year, however, she is hoping to dovetail those roles with a career as a personal trainer. It’s a most unlikely journey for a woman who, until this year, had little regard for exercise.
“I was very sporty in primary school and then I think I just turned very girly in secondary school,” explains the 22-year-old, now living in Smithfield, Dublin.
“I did a bit of hockey and stuff, and then I was like: ‘No, this isn’t for me.’
“But I have always been into dancing. I did a lot of musical theatre, so dancing was always a part of my life. My excuse for fitness was: ‘I am dancing all the time.’
“The fact as well that my whole family is naturally skinny meant it never came into my mind to look after myself.”
What prompted Madeline’s sudden love of fitness were three charity events — in boxing, running and dancing — she agreed to participate in earlier this year.
After 12 weeks of training, she traded blows with singer Claire Malone in Dublin Pub Box in aid of the ISPCC, at The Wright Venue, Swords, Co Dublin, in March. Their bout finished all-square and they are, Madeline (in blue, top photos) insists, “still friends”.
All that boxing training came in handy when she suffered an unprovoked blow from a woman in a McDonald’s restaurant recently.
“It was a good old crack in the jaw but, like my trainer said, with the boxing now, your head has gotten a lot tougher, so you can take punches like that!
“I was sore for about a week, but it's fine now.”
In June, she laced up her runners to partake in the Dublin Flora Women’s Mini-Marathon. And she teamed up with Steven Baitson — Mr Gay Ireland 2012 — to perform a Cha-Cha routine in a Strictly Come Dancing event in August, again at the Wright Venue. This time, the proceeds went to a young girl diagnosed with Rett Syndrome.
Now, Madeline is a veritable fitness fanatic. “I am totally transformed,” she says. “It’s crazy how you can just become totally changed after a few weeks doing something.
‘I got really addicted to boxing. Through sport and fitness, you meet new people and you make friends. It’s an excuse to go and hang out with people, but still you are working out and doing something good for yourself, instead of meeting and going to the pub.
“It’s different and I love it. I realised the difference when I did a workout — it’s not just about looking well, but I feel much better.
“There are so many times when I wake up in the morning and go: ‘Oh, my God, I have to go to the gym.’ Then, at the end of the day, I am hyper. I get a total adrenaline buzz.”
She is now determined to share her passion, having begun a course in personal training and fitness instruction in September with Image Fitness Training in Liffey Valley, Dublin. It was at the aforementioned dancing event that this came to pass.
“The guy who runs the Image Fitness course gave the prize in the raffle, and the prize was the course,” Madeline explains. “And my nana actually won it, and she couldn’t even get off the seat to collect the thing, so she gave it to me. I am delighted now that I have the opportunity to do it.
“If I hadn’t got addicted to exercise by then, I would have said: ‘No, there’s no point in me doing it because I won’t have any interest in it.’ “But the second I heard about it, I couldn’t wait to start. So fitness effectively made me decide to take a different career path.
“It was very tough at the beginning because I was thrown in the deep end. A lot of people on the course have done other courses.
“I felt like I was out of my depth for a while, but I have caught up now, and Google is my best friend. I am just having to keep up with the work.
“I am enjoying it. Everything you can think of, we cover — resistancetraining, bodyconditioning group-instruction, anatomy, physiology.
And Madeline is determined to put her newly acquired skills to good use by coaching others.
“That’s exactly what I want to do; I’d love it,” she says. “It’s a natural thing for me — I studied early childhood in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, so I have that teacher brain. I hop on board if something needs to be instructed or taught.
“With the course, you can go so many different routes. You can get a job in a gym — and obviously, that’s what I’ll do first, just to get used to everything.
“And then obviously, you can take it away yourself, with the personal training. You can even go as far as buying your own studio.”
This article originally appeared in Fit magazine. Free every Thursday with the Irish Independent.