High-glam Mary spreads some magic
WHAT a difference a year makes.
Last year on St Stephen's Day, Mary Byrne was "nursing a hangover" at home in Ballyfermot, and getting ready to go back to work behind the tills at Tesco.
Yesterday, 'the X Factor' singing sensation did her first 'high viz' personal appearance in her hometown, officially opening the Arnotts sales in Henry Street, Dublin, at 10am.
And in keeping with her new celebrity status, Byrne (51) arrived in a Rolls Royce Phantom, identical to Simon Cowell's motor.
She then serenaded hundreds of bargain hunters with her signature song 'This a Man's World' and belted out Barry Manilow's 'Could it be Magic' -- "because I feel magic", she told the crowds.
The transformation in her life is not lost on the former Tesco worker, who has been tipped to make €150,000 on 'the X Factor' tour.
Byrne yesterday revealed how she was startled when she was "mobbed for the first time" when she went Christmas shopping.
"I came into town on Thursday not ever dreaming I would be mobbed. The security guy out of Penneys had to come out and take me out of the crowd, and it was then the realisation actually hit me of what had happened to me."
This year Byrne spent Christmas day quietly at home with her daughter and cooked a turkey. "I went up to my friends on Christmas Eve but I couldn't drink on Christmas day because I was singing on Stephen's Day so I had a nice quiet day, just sat by the television and ate until we were full."
Looking glamorous and dressed head to toe in Irish fashion yesterday, Byrne wore a leather trimmed black coat from the Michael H label Personal Choice and a matching red-and-black dress chosen for her by Arnotts' stylist Clara Halpin.
"I don't normally wear skirts to my knee but I like this," said Byrne, whose celebrity working day started with an 8am appointment to get her hair and make-up done.
As for Christmas shopping, Byrne confessed she hadn't got around to buying her 'X Factor' mentor Louis Walsh anything yet.
"I didn't get him anything but I will get him something in the new year -- not waiting for the sales or anything, Louis," she said with a broad smile.