Independent Woman

Thursday 18 September 2014

Waking Hours: Jennifer Maguire

Published 14/11/2012 | 09:13

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Jennifer Maguire.

Jennifer Maguire, 32, is a television presenter, comic actress and businesswoman from Baldoyle, Dublin. She lives in Ranelagh with her fiance, Lau Zamparelli

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I get up around eight. I am a morning person, actually. I like to go for a run or I go to the gym.

I cycled down to Electric Picnic during the summer and after that I decided to keep up the exercise. I like the way it makes you feel afterwards. It's good for your head but also, after you hit 30, you have to do something because everything starts to goes southward. I go to a gym in Ranelagh. It's one of those spit-on-the-ground sort of places, which is good. You are not afraid to sweat there and you don't have to worry about looking well. Then I go into my day job.

People sometimes forget that I run a business. Bella is a makeover studio where people come in for four hours and get their photos taken. We do their hair and make-up and a photographer teaches them how to pose. People like to have nice pictures. It might be women on a hen party, or someone who has lost weight, and sometimes a woman will want to dress up in lingerie for her husband or lover — we have all sorts. I'm not a photographer or a make-up artist or a hairdresser, but the business was my idea. I do a lot of the marketing for it. It's not the sort of thing where you have repeat customers, so we always need new customers. We do a lot of special offers to make sure that the studio is filled on usually quiet days like Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I spend a while in there doing the roster and I also have a great manager who runs the place.

Then I also work in RTE. I'm into my seventh season doing Republic of Telly and now I also do The Fear, which is a hidden-camera sort of show. Even though I’ve been in RTE for years, I still don't know my way around the building — I'm always getting lost.

I love what I do. A producer once told me that someday I'd have to decide which I wanted to do more — my business or television — but I enjoy doing both. Besides, I think I'd be too scared to leave the business for television. I think doing both gives me a good balance. Even though I'm always running around, it means that I'm not dependent on television work and then, when I do it, I can choose to only do the work that I like.

My role in Republic of Telly is to get out on the street and do vox popping. They were looking for someone cheeky to do it and I had no problem with that. My background is in sales and I used to sell hair products on Grafton Street, so I am used to going up to people. I worked on a commission basis, so if I didn't sell, then I didn't get paid. I am probably the least likely person to be a sales person. Irish people don't fall for lines — I think if you're honest, they appreciate that. If you can make them laugh, that's a huge help and, in a way, it was the same with the vox pops for Republic of Telly and The Fear. People were very willing to get involved. For one sketch on The Fear I had to ask people for money. I told them that I needed to get my hair done. So many people gave me money — there was amazing generosity in the middle of a recession. One girl got cash from her credit card and one man wanted to buy me a drink but he wouldn't give me any money. Don't worry — all those people got their money back.

When I did the red-carpet stuff for Republic of Telly, it was always tongue-in-cheek and generally people enjoyed taking part in them. I was never offensive and I always shook people's hands afterwards. I asked Michael O'Leary what it felt like to be the biggest prick in Ireland because I thought a lot of people would think he was one. And he said, “How would you know? You've never seen me undressed.” I said, “I said that you are one, not that you have one.” He laughed at that, although for ages afterwards I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get my cheap flights. I use Ryanair a lot.

When I did The Apprentice on television in the UK I learned a lot from it, especially about business and sales. I had great admiration for Alan Sugar. Then, when I came back to Ireland, I was asked if I wanted to take part in a reality show about running a hotel called Failte Towers, and I thought it'd be a good idea. Republic of Telly came later on. I set up my business because, after The Apprentice, I realised that I didn't want to work for anybody else.

I wouldn't worry if I lost everything because I know what it's like to have nothing and to always be worrying about money, but I think I'm resourceful enough that I'd always be able to do something. I am a worker and I have always worked very hard. I like money and I like being able to look after my family but money is not my driving force. I enjoy what I do. I get bored very easily and I would stop doing something if I got bored with it.

What motivates me? Early retirement, I think. I'd like to be able not to have to work all the hours of the day and night and I'd like to be able to do other things and maybe even go back to education. In the evenings, my boyfriend usually cooks dinner. He's an actor — he just finished work on the new Jimi Hendrix film shot here. He's a great cook. He doesn't drink much, so I do the drinking for the pair of us. Although he was born and brought up in England, he has family in Italy. In football, when England plays against Italy, he supports Italy; he's very close to his Italian roots. I was delighted that he asked me to marry him. He's very calm and he never loses his temper. Sometimes this drives me mad because I like a good row. If I had my way, I'd prefer to get married in a registry office and go for a few pints after, but he wants something bigger for the families. I'm close to his family and he's close to mine. Hopefully, the wedding will be in Italy.

At the moment, I'm reading a book which gives you a positive thought for each day, which is good, but I'm also addicted to Breaking Bad, watching them with their crystal meth. How's that for balance? I sleep very well at night. I've never been so troubled that I've lost sleep over something

‘Republic of Telly’ is on RTE Two on Mondays at 10pm

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