Tuesday 20 March 2018

‘It felt like at every audition, you were either too tall, too fat, too brunette or whatever’ - Doireann Garrihy on why she moved away from acting

Doireann Garrihy has shot to fame over the past year, not least for her killer mimicry

Doireann Garrihy is making her name in comedy and radio. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Doireann Garrihy is making her name in comedy and radio. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

This time last year, Doireann Garrihy had just started as an entertainment reporter on Spin 1038 and was delighted that her career was finally on track. The 25-year-old from Castleknock had decided not to pursue acting, although she had a degree in drama and theatre studies from Trinity College and an agent under her belt.

"I really loved acting and gave it a whack for a few months, but it felt like at every audition, you were either too tall, too fat, too brunette or whatever," she says. "I couldn't deal with sitting around waiting for a job, and felt I had too much energy and get-up-and-go to leave my career and future in someone else's hands."

Doireann's actress sister, Aoibhin, heard about the 10-week radio production diploma course at the Today FM School of Radio, and thought her talented and engaging little sister should try it. Doireann hadn't considered radio up to then - even though family friend and DJ Ian Dempsey is her godfather and gives her great advice - but she loved the course, especially the presenting side.

She then got a job as researcher and broadcaster with AA Roadwatch, which gave her an opportunity to get her voice and funny personality on air. She joined Spin 1038 as entertainment reporter in May 2016, and was thrilled to land the role of co-presenter of The Zoo Crew with Martin Guilfoyle three months ago. It airs from 7-10pm from Monday to Friday, and Doireann doesn't even mind that the hours curb her social life somewhat. She absolutely loves it and it's being very well-received.

The glam Doireann is very close to her family - dad Eugene, mum Clare and sisters Aoibhin, 30, and Ailbhe, 27. She shares a house with Ailbhe and three others. She was always a joker and did great impressions of her teachers at school, and this talent for mimicry has seen her profile skyrocket in recent months. It all began when she started putting uncannily accurate and witty impressions of social media stars such as Pippa O'Connor, Suzanne Jackson and James Kavanagh on her Snapchat story.

"I uploaded them on Facebook and they went viral," she says. "My timing was good because it was the day that Trump became president. A lot of people were depressed about that, so they needed some relief and I gave it."

The awards and accolades have come rolling in since, including 'Most Stylish Influencer' at the VIP Style Awards and 'Rising Star' at U magazine's 30 under 30 Awards. Doireann has also begun work on a comedy pilot show with RTE Player, where she will be doing impressions of people such as Katie Taylor, Sharon Ni Bheolain, Amy Huberman and Una Healy.

Now a sought-after 'influencer,' Doireann is part of the Visa #TapIntoIreland road trip across Ireland, with four other influencers, James Kavanagh, Pat Divilly, Rob Kenny and Anouska Proetta Brandon. Departing on Thursday, they want to showcase and document the best experiences available in Ireland as recommended by their huge followings. Everything they do will cost under €30, allowing them to pay by simply tapping their Visa contactless card.

Being so in demand doesn't leave Doireann much time for a personal life, but she doesn't mind because it's all going so well.

"I'm single but I'm not mingling," she laughs. "I don't have time, but I'm really very content. If someone had told me a year ago where I would be now, I wouldn't have believed them."

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