Tuesday 21 November 2017

Life lessons with Amy Huberman

Amy Huberman: Sometimes I have a million and one things to do, and I'm trying to organise work around the kids. Photo: Tony Gavin
Amy Huberman: Sometimes I have a million and one things to do, and I'm trying to organise work around the kids. Photo: Tony Gavin
Support: Amy with husband Brian O'Driscoll at the launch of her book 'Hello Heartbreak'
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll with wife Amy Huberman and daughter Sadie after his final home international at the RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium
Amy Huberman with baby Sadie in March 2013
Amy Huberman at the Irish Premiere of Trainwreck at the Savoy in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

In conversation with Erin McCafferty

She first came to our attention in TV drama The Clinic in 2003, but Amy Huberman has since become a household name in Ireland.

The IFTA-winning actress made her first television appearance in GAA drama On Home Ground. She received rave reviews for her role in British sitcom Threesome in 2011, and most recently starred in the hit comedy The Stag, alongside Andrew Scott and Hugh O'Conor last year.

As well as a string of successful film and TV roles, Huberman is the author of two best-selling novels, and has even turned her hand to writing screenplays - she is currently adapting her second book, I Wished For You, into a feature film with the producer of The Stag.

The 36-year-old launched her own shoe line in 2013 in collaboration with Bourbon Footwear, and has designed a number of hugely popular collections for the brand.

Support: Amy with husband Brian O'Driscoll at the launch of her book 'Hello Heartbreak'
Support: Amy with husband Brian O'Driscoll at the launch of her book 'Hello Heartbreak'

Fans of the star have been hot on her heels - thanks to the "Amy effect", pieces she wears often sell out within hours.

Married to former Ireland rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll, the couple have two children, Sadie (2) and Billy (10 months). Huberman is also an ambassador for the children's charity Barnardos.

Getting involved in a children's charity was something I've always wanted to do. When I was asked by Barnardos a couple of years ago to be an ambassador I said yes, absolutely. Something like this puts everything into perspective. What Barnardos is doing is amazing because they give children who are in vulnerable situations a part of their childhood back.

When I left school I thought I wanted a career that involved helping people. I considered studying medicine or occupational therapy. In the end, I did social science in university. It was the precursor to social work. But as much as I loved my course, I realised that social work was a vocation and it was definitely not for me. You need to be able to walk away at the end of the day and have your own life. I knew I wasn't going to be able to avoid getting too emotionally involved in each situation.

Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll with wife Amy Huberman and daughter Sadie after his final home international at the RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll with wife Amy Huberman and daughter Sadie after his final home international at the RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium

I've ended up in a career that is massively self-focused. But I love what I do - both acting and writing. I've been doing a lot of writing recently. The two books that I wrote were a learning process for me, but I've been saying over the last two years that I won't write another one.

Screenwriting has been a big revelation for me. I've found that I've loved it. There is finesse and skill to writing a novel but there is a real technical structure to writing a film. I did a screen writing course last summer with Screen Training Ireland and it was great. I especially like to write comedy.

I would love to write something with somebody else. It can encourage creativity and it's a good way to test out ideas. I talked about writing something with my friend Dawn O'Porter recently and I would be really open to that.

I procrastinate before I do anything. I find it really hard to work from home, even though it's a romantic notion. I'm thinking of getting an office in the garden as a result. I wrote a lot of my screenplay in a coffee shop called Cinnamon in Ranelagh. I used to hot desk there every day, wearing earphones.

Amy Huberman in Comedy Central's Threesom
Amy Huberman in Comedy Central's Threesom

It can be lonely writing on your own. Sometimes I think I've written something really funny and then the next day I'll look at it and think to myself that it's not funny after all. Good comedy really inspires me.

It was hard to get parts when I was pregnant. I love the fact that I am back acting again, but it's not easy learning lines with children. I've been known to put the baby on my hip and block out the noise. I've also parked down roads and sat in my car. I sometimes pass people on the street and they're talking to themselves - that's me, permanently talking to myself.

I struggle with rejection. Sometimes I get upset about not getting a part. You never get used to being knocked back and it's really hard when the knock-backs are accumulative. But I always give myself a few hours to wallow in it - and then I get over it. It's not because the rejection is personal, but maybe it's because I really wanted the part and I came really close to getting it.

I get stressed from time to time like everyone. At the moment it is usually when I haven't had enough sleep. I don't have a routine because of the nature of what I do. Sometimes I have a million and one things to do and I'm trying to organise work around the kids. I deal with stress by stopping. I just breathe, I eat a bit of chocolate and I have a cup of tea.

Amy and Brian at Wimbledon
Amy and Brian at Wimbledon

I'm really conscious of not promoting things too much on the internet. At the core of everything, I want to write and act - that's what is important to me and I need to protect my image.

My family has always been a massive support for me. I think we all need support and encouragement. It's important too to ask for help from friends. Most people have similar worries and troubles.

Brian and myself would be open to living abroad for a while. I love whenever I get parts that involve filming in another country. It is much more competitive. But it's exciting none the less.

If I was to advise young people from my own experience I would say realise that your goals in life are moveable. Also, you're not failing because life isn't working out as you thought it would.

Everything that I've done so far, I never thought I'd be able to do. It's all been a learning experience for me. I feel like my plate is full enough at the moment. If I could be better at what I do, then that would be enough.

For more information on Barnardos visit barnardos.ie

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