'Bikini photocalls aren't my thing, I felt strange standing there with cars driving by,' says Holly Carpenter
Posing in a bikini with a gaggle of Miss Ireland contestants put model Holly Carpenter off skimpy swimsuit photocalls for life.
The Dublin model had to pose with plates of food in a swimsuit when she competed in the pageant. She said the experience left her feeling "exposed".
Her comments come after the organisers of Miss Ireland decided to scrap the bikini round this year for the first time in the pageant's history.
"I remember we did one of those massive group photocalls and we were all in our bikinis walking down the street," she told the Herald.
"I just felt really strange with cars driving by and everything. That's the only time I've done a bikini photo call in my life.
"After that, I was like 'I'm never doing this again'. I don't think that kind of thing is necessary," she added.
The 23-year-old won the title in 2011 and is happy women no longer have to strut their stuff in a bikini on a catwalk.
"It's a lot of pressure, especially for young girls. Although we were eating pizza the night before," she laughed.
"I suppose I was 19 so I could eat and be grand.
"I think the change is nice, there will always be people who'll speak badly of the whole competition, so if there's one less thing for people to target then great.
"All the girls talk about the courses they're doing in college, their families - all of the things you want to know about them.
"Then there's a picture of them standing in the street in a bikini and it doesn't even have anything to do with it," she added.
It had been rumoured a new talent section could be introduced.
Holly said it would be a great advantage for girls who were good singers.
"A talent section would be good practice for Miss World," she said. "I'm a grand singer, so I got a few singing lessons beforehand - I think I sang The Corrs.
"Some of the girls were reciting poems and one girl even did a puppet show.
"If you were a good singer, it would probably a great advantage, especially for Miss Ireland," she added.
Holly advised the girls to "be themselves" at the final on Friday night.
"I think you have to be consistent.
"I know the whole 'Be yourself' thing is so cliched, but if you're yourself the whole way through that's how you'll build a career," she said.
"I'm the same person I was then, but if you're trying to be one way in your interviews and then acting another way behind the scenes it doesn't work.
"There's always people watching you at that, whether you're getting your hair done backstage or chatting to someone. It's not just when you're standing on the stage, so you do have to be aware of that," she added.
Holly recently changed model agencies from Assets to Andrea Roche and said she's "working almost every day" now.
"I wouldn't like to play the agencies off each other, but I'm really busy with Andrea," she said. "For the kind of model I am and that I blog as well - she's good at representing personalities."
Holly was speaking at the launch of the #GlamTram event as part of the Dublin Fashion Festival. The festival has teamed up with Luas for a glamorous event on September 11 from 1-3pm.
There will be a stationary tram at the Stephen's Green Luas stop where you can treat yourself to a hair and beauty make-over.
"We'll have make-up artists and hair dressers working in the tram," Clyde Carroll, director of marketing for DublinTown said.
"The idea being you come in one end, go through the Luas and get off all beautified."