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Why you should know about: Ciara O'Doherty


She's the owner of a pair of pins that are officially the best in the country. The 22-year-old from Galway was selected by a panel of judges -- one of whom was fashion designer Henry Holland, who designs for Pretty Polly -- as the winner of the Pretty Polly Legs Eleven competition in the autumn.

Her prize included a modelling contract with a London agency, and she's now the face, legs and personality of the hoisery brand. Ciara, an avid blogger, was also signed by Assets Model Agency in Dublin.

She's becoming a bit of a big deal at home in Galway. "I think there is a bit of interest when an Irish girl wins a competition in the UK," says Ciara of the wave of press attention that has followed her win. "I work in Eason's in Galway and my manager thinks it's the funniest thing ever. He's always asking me, 'Which magazine are you in today, Ciara?'"

She's happy modelling for now, but she doesn't plan to trade on her exceptional limbs for ever. "I really enjoy it, especially the creative side, but there are so many prettier girls out there," Ciara says. "I don't see myself taking over the modelling world anytime soon. I have the greatest respect for models who do well professionally; they must have nerves of steel. In my experience, one minute you can feel so confident and strong and then it can take you, in a instant, to feeling quite vulnerable and fragile. It's a wonderful and beautiful job, but it's not for the faint-hearted."

Her career plan to be a teacher is currently on ice. Ciara comes from a long line of teachers. Her dad is one, as are all three of her older sisters. "My sisters are so strong and confident; they are the best role models I could ever ask for," she says. "I have no assumptions about myself, but I know that those three would knock any notions clean out of my head if I did."

Though her new job regularly brings her to London, right now, she's happiest in Galway. She loves the creative energy there and is busy writing for Galway Now magazine, blogging about her new life in the bright lights, and hanging out with her boyfriend, who is a musician. If it all ends tomorrow, she'll still be delighted with the experience. "I have this vision of myself as a 50-year-old, clutching a scrapbook of clippings, rambling on to anyone who'll listen about my glory days as a tights ambassador," she laughs. "I think my grandchildren are going to be so confused."


Follow Ciara's life as the legs of Pretty Polly on wildchildstoriesblog.blogspot.com