Monday 24 September 2018

Anna Geary: 'I have to walk the talk and embrace my muscled shape'

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Dancing with the Stars contestant Anna Geary who is hoping to lift the
Glitterball trophy tonight Photo: David Conachy
FINAL COUNTDOWN: Dancing with the Stars contestant Anna Geary who is hoping to lift the Glitterball trophy tonight Photo: David Conachy
Former Cork Camogie Player and Broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington , during the Final of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Pic: kobpix
Dancing With The Stars 2018 contestants arrive at the DWTS City Centre dance studios
Anna Geary at the Xpose Benefit Awards 2018
Anna Geary outside The Ray Darcy Show, RTE
Former Cork Camogie Player and Broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington , during the Final of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Pic: kobpix
Former Cork Camogie Player and Broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington , during the Fifth Live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Credit: kobpix
Former Cork Camogie Player and Broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington , during the Final of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Pic: kobpix
Former Cork Camogie Player and Broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington , during the Fifth Live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Credit: kobpix
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

This year has become the year that 'strong not skinny' is the body shape every woman is striving for.

But even the poster girl of that ideal, Anna Geary, has revealed that she has to overcome feelings of vulnerability when she pulls on short and skimpy costumes to appear on Dancing with the Stars.

With her toned abs and arms and muscular legs, the 30-year-old, who holds 20 All-Ireland medals, including seven senior All Ireland medals, says she is just like any woman when it comes to body confidence.

"I have a very different body shape to a lot of women because I have so much muscle from playing camogie for over two decades, so of course I am quite nervous about how my body looks in the costumes compared to other women in the show because they are much slighter and daintier than I am," she says.

"Being a performance coach and having to walk my own talk, I talk to younger people about embracing their bodies and personalities and skills they have, so I have essentially had to embrace my own."

Geary describes hearing other women in the competition saying: "I wish I had your toned back or I wish I had your toned arms or your core.

Former Cork Camogie Player and Broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington , during the Fifth Live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.
Credit: kobpix
Former Cork Camogie Player and Broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington , during the Fifth Live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Credit: kobpix

"Then I look at them and say 'God, I wish I had your long legs' but you have to get out there and be proud of what you have," she adds.

Geary says having muscles is "not a female body shape you would usually see in those kind of dresses which are quite revealing".

She adds: "They are very tight. They are very short and you would often see daintier girls wearing them. But one of the reasons I did this competition is to show younger girls that you can have an athletic frame and you can be a dancer and wear high heels and tan and get dressed up and one can complement the other.

"You don't have to choose between being a sportsperson and being into fashion - you can marry the two."

Geary says she wants to inspire young girls to view their bodies in a different way - not by how it looks, but as an engine that drives you.

"In order to perform really well in sport, I had to develop muscles to help my performance. I would never see it as a negative thing," she says.

Anna Geary at the Xpose Benefit Awards 2018
Anna Geary at the Xpose Benefit Awards 2018

"Rather than looking at your body for how it looks in clothes, I want to get young girls to understand that you should look at your body in relation to how it can perform. Only ask yourself: 'How can I develop it to help in a way that will help me perform at my best?'"

Thin is no longer considered the most attractive body shape for women, a study has found.

According to research from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, beauty ideals are changing, with increasing emphasis now being placed on bodies that are fit, toned, muscular and healthy.

The shift in attitudes coincides with an increasing number of women discovering the benefits of weight-training in the gym, 'fitspiration' Instagram accounts and #strongnotskinny trending on social media.

Geary won four All Stars in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2011.

She announced her retirement from inter-county camogie in May 2015 as she prepared for a career change by moving into performance coaching. She has also developed a successful career in media, as a sports pundit on RTE and eir Sport Live.

She says the hardest part of appearing on Dancing with the Stars is "putting yourself out there to be judged".

"Social media is out there now so you have an active step-by-step commentary, but for the most part, people have been fantastically supportive and parents have said to me that it's really important to see a female sportsperson in the public eye who is pushing herself and showing younger girls that sport can help you in life in a lot of different ways."

Geary lost out on the DWTS final last night to Jake Carter.

Sunday Independent

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Also in this section