Saturday 24 March 2018

Ruth O’Neill (27) on modelling: That was about 100 years ago, I’m way too old for that now!

Ruth O Neill
Ruth O Neill
Keith Duffy and model, Ruth O'Neill, at the launch of the link-up between the Pavilions Shopping Centre and IAA ( Irish Autism Action).
Ruth O'Neill ( left) and Karena Graham launching the O2 Duck Quest to celebrate the new O2 Experience Plus price plan offering free calls and texts to everyone on the O2 network. O2 Ducks will be hidden all over Cork in secret locations next week and... Credit: Photo by Robbie Reynolds
Model Ruth O'Neill launches Auntie Anne's¨, the world's largest hand-rolled soft pretzel chain with over 1,000 outlets worldwide, which opened their firstRepublic of Ireland store last Saturday 13th March 2010. The store was opened with the companyÕs trademark pretzel pulling ceremony in The Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.Photo: Peter Houlihan/PH Photography
Head night porter, Paddy Hanlon with models Ruth O'Neill and Julie Kavanagh announce that the hotel is offering 1,000 rooms for €37 to mark the occasion of Paddy's years of service at the hotel.
Ruth O' Neill and Jenny Lee Masterson with Mr T lookalike Billy Kelly promoting Snickers on Grafton Street yesterday
Model Ruth O'Neill launches Garbage to Gorgeous, a recycling awareness initiative, in 2008
Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

After five years working relentlessly in Los Angeles, Ruth O’Neill has returned home to embark on a new chapter.

The South Dublin native was one of the most recognisable photo call models during the Celtic Tiger, but always harboured dreams of making it in television.

Model Ruth O'Neill in 2009
Model Ruth O'Neill in 2009

Read more: Top 10 Irish photocall models of the Celtic Tiger: Where are they now?

After competing in reality talent search Total Xposure in a bid to join the presenting team at TV3’s Xpose, Ruth decided to take a gamble and hot foot it to Los Angeles.

Ruth O'Neill wears: Top, American Apparel. Skirt, Topshop. Shoes, River Island. Photo: Kip Caroll.
Ruth O'Neill wears: Top, American Apparel. Skirt, Topshop. Shoes, River Island. Photo: Kip Caroll.

The former UCD student booked a one-way flight in 2010 with her two suitcases and landed in a city where she knew no one and had never been before.

Ambition and graft paid off for O’Neill, who first freelanced at VH1 before landing enviable roles at ABC News and E! News.

Ruth O Neill
Ruth O Neill

For five years, she “had a ball” in the “amazing” city, despite the intense workload and competitive environment.

“I learned so much working for two major networks in America,” Ruth told Dave Fanning on RTE Radio One.

“But America is a tough place too, it's so competitive, you get barely anytime off. LA is a bit strange, it’s like a never land - no one grows up, no one gets married, no one is in relationships,” she revealed.

The blond beauty insists that Irish people don’t know how good they have it.

“The lifestyle is great - except for the weather - and the people are so much nicer here,” she offered.

After five years of living and working in the “fast-paced” industry, working constantly and being “chronically tired” Ruth made the decision to return home.

“At E! you’re working 24/7. Everyone wants your job so you’re always watching behind your back. Every day, we had to have five new ideas to pitch. I was up at 5.45am every day, then covering an event until midnight or 1am, then back in a few hours later.”

“It became hard to separate your personal life and professional life. Dating in LA - it’s impossible,” she confessed.

Ruth O'Neill
Ruth O'Neill

“I was thinking about it [coming home] for the last year. Do I wait until I’m 35 and all my friends are married and have kids and I’d be the ‘weird single friend from LA,’” she laughed.

The rumour mill is currently in overdrive that the chirpy and bubbly 27-year-old to front ‘Bounce’, a new entertainment show commissioned by RTE One.

However, Ruth refused to comment on her “plans for the future”.

When pressed by host Fanning about whether she might return to modelling, she laughed off the idea.

“At the moment I’m chilling out with family and friends as I never got any time off.”

“Modelling? That was about 100 years ago, I’m way too old for that now!"

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