Thursday 14 December 2017

Society: Newer faces to prove acting chops

Sam Keely has clocked up several big roles including In the Heart of the Sea.
Sam Keely has clocked up several big roles including In the Heart of the Sea.
Paula Healy of Skinny Malinkys
Actress Seana Kerslake who is set to appear in Darren Thornton's A Date for Mad Mary.
Jamie Dornan and wife Amelia
Suzanne Jackson of So Sue Me has a busy year ahead with her new fashion lions. Photo: Brian McEvoy.
Pippa O'Connor-Ormond has also landed a book deal.
Paul Galvin, Brendan Courtney, Sonya Lennon, Carolyn Donnelly, Leigh Tucker, Helen James and Paul Costello who design different clothing and homeware ranges for Dunnes Stores.
Ruth Ni Loinsigh of Om Diva with daughters Willow (left) and Rosie.
Comedian Joanne McNally.
Blaithnaid Treacy
DJ Annie Mac has taken BBC Radio by storm and has increased listnership by 100,000.
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

We've come through a golden era of Irish acting with Michael Fassbender, Olivia Wilde, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Aidan Turner, Jamie Dornan and all the Love/Haters and Game of Throners doing us proud.

But now a new generation of actors is patiently waiting in the wings for the big break.

Offaly born Sam Keely first popped up on our screens in RTÉ's seemingly never-ending and oh-so-dull kitchen drama Raw.

But in the past 18 months the young star has clocked several impressive gigs.

Keely appears alongside Chris Hemsworth in Ron Howard's In The Heart of the Sea, has a role in Jamie Dornan's film Jadotville, and will play Josef Bublík in WWII drama Anthropoid opposite blue-eyed Corkman Cillian Murphy.

A pretty impressive CV for a young one by any reckoning.

And so to another new face.

His dad might have warned him against the fickle nature of 'The Industry', but it was no deterrent for Michael Neeson, who, after a fleeting career as a fashion art gallery curator (go figure) has decided to join the family business, and follow an acting career. Having previously appeared in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues he will now play Michael Collins in RTÉ's 1916 film The Rising.

In more ways than one - like father, like son.

Not only has theatre star Genevieve Hulme Beaman got some serious acting chops, but she can also write. And I mean really write.

Every actor in Ireland likes to think they've got a "play in them", however, Genevieve is one of the few who actually has something interesting to say.

Her self-penned one woman show, Pondling, was met with rave reviews when it toured Stateside.

By any standards, she's a tour de force, and very much on the up.

Finally there's actress Seana Kerslake, who starred in Kristen Sheridan's acclaimed film In the Dollhouse, is a Bow Street Academy alumnus, and will next appear in Darren Thornton's, the intriguingly titled A Date for Mad Mary.

Getting the skinny on green year revolution

By Bairbre Power

Mark my words, it's going to be a green year…. green for juice.

The international juice bar brand, The Juicery, is bringing its juices and smoothies to The Westbury and Doyle Collection hotels in mid January. Founded by New York based Cindy Palusamy, her Hollywood juice has carrot, orange, turmeric and mint leaves while Malted Milkshake is a combination of coconut water, almond butter, dates and vanilla protein.

"Skinny malink melodeon legs" was a children's catcall originating in the early 19th century Scottish nursery rhyme. Fast forward to 2016 and Paula Heaney from Co Donegal with her raw juice company, Skinny Malinkys.

Her mum, journalist Kate Heaney, came up with the name and since launching, Paula is taking the juice scene by storm. Paula (inset) knows food, drink and marketing so she was well placed to drive her own business after working for Jameson, Taste of Dublin and Argento jewellery. Her range has a shelf life of five weeks due to High Pressure Process technology. I witnessed the appeal of the brand when picking up a Lean Green Detoxifying Machine juice at Mortons in Dublin, when so many were embarking on New Year cleanses.

Bloggers destined for bigger things

By Bairbre Power

Three of Ireland's best known bloggers are destined for bigger and better things.

One blogger to watch in 2016 is Imen McDonnell whose life reads like a modern fairytale, with a compelling leap from cosmopolitan to country cooking.

Imen was working in broadcast media across the US when she met a dashing Irish farmer in Minneapolis and they fell madly in love.

She took the plunge, as you do and swapped her glamorous heels for wellies and moved to start life on a centuries-old family-owned dairy farm in Co Limerick where she started her blog which was originally called 'I Married an Irish Farmer' and later became 'Farmette'.

Well, Imen has finished a cookbook which will be published by American publishing house, Roost Books. After enjoying a sneak preview of it before its March publication, I can vouch for its gorgeousness and what I love most is the layout and lovely wide margins.

A must buy for spring Saturdays in the kitchen with plenty of ideas to get working on. For Pippa O'Connor-Ormond, 2015 was a memorable year. She won the 'Most Stylish' title at the VIP awards and she won 'Best Fashion Blog, 'Best Beauty Blog', 'Best Overall Blog' at the Irish Beauty Blog Awards - and finished the year happily pregnant with baby number two on the way.

There is another award about to land in February.

My lips are sealed but let's just say it has more of a domestic twist to it than high heels.

This year is also shaping up to bring Suzanne Jackson of So Sue Me fame to the next step of the fame ladder.

She's currently wrapped up in wedding talk after getting engaged to her boyfriend, Dylan O'Connor. He proposed during a holiday in the Maldives which started off as a celebration to mark his birthday but then he produced a rock from Rocks.

The couple have moved into a five bedroomed house and Suzanne is putting the finishing touches to launching not one but three new beauty lines coming out in the spring, paced between February and April and building on the success of her nail polish line.

To celebrate the good news, Suzanne's agent, Jules Fallon of 1st Option Model Agency, hosted a champagne reception for the couple at Residence during Christmas Week.

Style stakes upped as fashion family grows

By Bairbre Power

One of the most exciting fashion stories of 2015 which really caught people's attention has been the growth of the style offer at Dunnes Stores and the assembling of an extended fashion family at their fun-filled pre-Christmas get together.

To say that people coming home for Christmas were a smidgin surprised when they saw the new-look 'Ben's Boutiques' is an understatement and the most recent cap to the Dunnes lineout is former Kerry footballer, Paul Galvin. The year is destined to be a major year for one of the fold - Helen James - who has signed a book deal with Hachette and is due for publication in the autumn.

Not quite related but one degree of separation is Ruth Ní Loinsigh's decision to take over the Lennon Courtney 'Central Dairy' store on Dublin's Stephen Street after they moved to Dunnes. She opened 2nd Space in its place. Ruth is one of the firebrand retailers of Drury Street and her Om Diva store and 2nd Space are destinations for upcoming designers.

The jokers and artists in the pack

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Hip hop improv act Abandoman brought down the house when he performed at Al Porter's RTÉ2 Variety Show.

Devising musical numbers from bad anecdotes, or quips proffered by the audience, Abandoman's impromptu raps will make you laugh until your face hurts.

Alison Spittle from Westmeath has popped up on Republic of Telly and is making waves in the stand up scene. Her material is eclectic and wide ranging. "I mainly talk about funerals, my mam, the IRA's fashion choices and my gran drinking tea in a hot tub," she says. Her next show 'Alison Spittle Discovers Hawaii' will run in the First Fortnight Festival from January 14.

James Earley comes from a family of stain glass artists - which may explain his angular and swirling technicolour aesthetic. James is the fellow who painted Temple Bar's Bloom Hotel in a kaleidoscopic glory, selected all the artwork for The Dean Hotel, and painted all the bright yellow signage on the wall of the Aviva stadium.

Illustrator Aoife Dooley is best known for her caricatures of 'Dublin Huns', infamous for their love of pyjamas, spice bags and the Hun Bun. 

Get ready to  adjust your TV sets, girls...

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Taking over from Jennifer Zamparelli on Republic of Telly was no easy gig, but comedian Joanne McNally has more than held her own.

The Dubliner has undergone a radical career change, moving out of PR into telly land.

A round of applause please. Blathnaid Treacy has literally grown up in front of the camera, first playing Biddy and Miley's daughter Denise in Glenroe, and then working as a TV presenter on RTÉ Jr. Having built up a name for herself on Spin 103.8, she is taken over from Maniac 2000 hitmaker Mark McCabe on 2fm this year - slowly but surely moving out of the world of kids TV, and into the big league. So it looks like 2016 is shaping up to be her year. While we're talking all things radio - a shout out must be given to Irish woman Annie Mac, on BBC Radio 1. Since taking over from Zane Lowe, her listenership has increased by 100,000.

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