Monday 16 December 2019

Work hard, play hard: our recipes for success

As Victoria Beckham lays bare her unlikely role model, seven success stories reveal their everyday inspirations. By Gillian Fitzpatrick

Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham
Catherine Fulvio
Mary Berry
Roy Keane
Keith Walsh
Samantha Mumba
Steve Jobs
Virginia Macari
Katie Jane Goldin
Noel Coward
Naomi Campbell and model Tyson Beckford posing for the launch of the Pirelli fashion collection

A multimillionaire former pop star turned fashion designer, who is married to a multimillionaire former footballer turned underwear model: life must be good for Victoria Beckham. And those looking to achieve a little slice of VB's world should get to know Rose Uniacke - a little-known London-based interior designer whom Ms Beckham last week dubbed her ultimate style inspiration. Here, some of Ireland's most successful names from the worlds of modelling, broadcasting, entrepreneurship and show business reveal what and who they admire...

Samantha Mumba (31) is an LA-based actress and singer from Dublin. She is married to Torray Scales and the pair are currently expecting their first child, a daughter, next spring.

"Especially being pregnant, I'm trying to focus all my energy on being the best version of myself - which is always a work in progress. I have to admit, there isn't a specific person who inspires me, but I definitely find inspiration in just about everything around me. Fashion-wise, I absolutely love to people-watch and I find Pinterest amazing for style ideas.

"At the moment, of course, I'm crazy about anything baby-related. And with all the changes going on in my body, I'm in awe at all of the women I see on Instagram showing off their pre- and post- natal progress."


Discovered online by Tyson Beckford, Gary Talbot (24) has walked the runway in London Fashion Week and has a string of editorials and campaigns to his name.

"Without Tyson Beckford, I know I probably wouldn't be where I am today. Of course, I admire all his acting, modelling and TV success, but his normality and modesty is also inspiring in itself.

"He comes from a working class background too, which shows that where you're from doesn't determine your journey in life - how you live and work does. I get messages all the time from young guys asking for me for advice.

"On a bad day, there's nothing like getting an email from a teenager telling me he really wants to do what I do."


Catherine Fulvio (43) runs the Ballyknocken Cookery School ( Her latest book, 'Bake Like An Italian', is on sale now.

"I remember Mary Berry's books being at home in Ballyknocken when I was a child - everything she did and how she presented herself was always so immaculate. "These days I love how she's reinvented herself. It's so important to dream big, and my mother taught me to work hard. She was always doing something at Ballyknocken. She set it up as a farmhouse B&B, but then she'd also rear hens and get turkeys before Christmas for extra income. The business has grown and evolved to where it is today - complete with the Ballyknocken Cookery School. "It's her drive that I hope I'll pass on to my own children too."


Keith Walsh (40) is one third of 'Breakfast Republic' on RTÉ 2fm, which airs on weekday mornings from 6am.

"I like people who trust their own instincts and stand up for what they believe in. Bands such as the Pixies and The Violent Femmes didn't conform, but they made the music they wanted to make; the fame and adulation that came with that wasn't important. Roy Keane is great for the same reasons; he sticks to his own principles. And those people at ESA who landed a probe on the comet 67P are incredible. Whenever my children tell me they can't do something, I tell them about the men and women who landed a fridge-sized robot on a comet travelling through space at 35,000 miles per hour!"


Katie Jane Goldin (30) operates the Paul Goldin clinic (, and is the owner of Gold Fever hair extensions. Last year, she was awarded IMAGE Young Business Woman Of The Year.

"Steve Jobs created Apple from scratch, an idea that spawned a company that very quickly defined an industry. He reminds me of my brother David too. People like them have the passion, vision and drive to continuously innovate and improve.

"Day-to-day, I am very lucky that I am in a position to work for myself in an environment that both interests me and allows me to help people.

"Making a positive impact on people's lives is very rewarding and is and will always remain a constant source of motivation to me."

Rick O'Shea (41) presents 'Rick O'Shea In The Afternoon' every weekday at 2pm on RTÉ 2fm.

"Professionally, the biggest influence in my life is probably Larry Gogan. He is someone who has maintained himself at the highest level of our business from the time he was a slip of a lad, right up to today.

"Then there's also Noel Coward. I know that seems strange, but I started reading his diaries a few years back. He was someone from quite a poor background who made himself famous as a playwright, writer, cabaret performer, singer, diarist, TV star, and actor. I suppose I just like to think that don't have to box yourself off."

Virginia Macari (38) is a successful entrepreneur as well as fashion editor at

"The list is endless! I admire Aung San Suu Kyi and have always loved Victoria Beckham. I respect JK Rowling and also admire Net-a-Porter's Natalie Massenet for turning one simple idea into a multimillion- pound business. I adore Beyoncé's strength, and think Vivienne Westwood is fantastic - not least because she's married to a guy 20 years her junior!

"Finally, not enough credit is given to Angelina Jolie for her charity work, which she juggles with her movie career, six children and gorgeous husband, all while still looking breathtakingly beautiful on the red carpet."

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in this section