MODEL teacher Tia Duffy has made a startling admission: she failed her Leaving Cert the first time around.
Curvy Tia Duffy (24) revealed to the Herald that she felt driven to inspire her pupils after hitting rock bottom at school as a teen.
The Finglas beauty returned to repeat the exams and passed with flying colours, which meant that she could follow her teaching dream.
Tia says that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of the teachers who had taught her: "A few of my teachers really inspired me and I thought that I could make a difference," she said.
She knows from her own experience that "being a teenager is a difficult time".
"I hit rock bottom in my teens and I really didn't want to turn up for school. I think it's something that every teenager goes through, just not wanting to be there.
"I thought that I had it all figured out when I failed. I told my Mam that I was going to get a full-time job, so I got one in a sports shop. I was only there two weeks and I couldn't do it. I knew in my head that I had potential and I had just wasted all of the years of school to come out with no Leaving Cert, so I decided to go back and do it."
The size 14 Assets model has recently signed to D&A model management in Cape Town and has been busy on the Irish circuit; however, teaching is her first love.
The bright brunette says finding work as a newly qualified teacher has been difficult, but she has enjoyed the work she has done so far. "I love teaching. I love having an influence over children."
She decided to be honest with them about her own exam results. "As a teacher I was apprehensive about telling my students that I failed my Leaving Cert, but then I realised that it might push them even more.
"Sometimes it's only through failures that you learn."
Tia is happy with her two very different careers. "At the start I was worried about mixing the modelling career with teaching, but if I stay true to who I am, I can come across in a positive way.'
Tia says that her curvy figure sets a good example to female students who may feel under pressure to be a certain shape and size. In her last job, she says, "some of my students knew that I was a model and they can look at me and see that I'm curvy. It's setting a good example that you don't have to be really thin to model".