We caught up with Anna to talk all things motherhood, why she’d love to be best friends with Kate Winslet and the Coco Chanel style advice that she swears by.
How do you deal with the highs and lows of being in the limelight?
Doing a job that means I’m in the limelight is something I don’t give a huge amount of thought to. My job gives me the opportunity to meet the most incredible people. It brings me to the most interesting places and situations and I quite like that my kids are still young enough to not have a clue why people might recognise their Mummy! As far as they know, I do ‘something in the telly’ but that’s the extent of their knowledge and that suits me just fine!
Would you do anything differently?
I could say that I’d have started thinking about a presenting career earlier, but then I wouldn’t have had the business and marketing experience before my on-air career began. TV presenting wasn’t my dream; I wasn’t one of those performing children for my parents and their friends and I didn’t chase a role in the limelight. It happened very organically to be honest. Had I not been the marketing manager at a TV network, I definitely wouldn’t have ever ended up on the telly!
How has your career changed from the early days to now?
See above! Yes, I studied International Marketing in college after I left school. I always enjoyed business studies and the brand creation process even going right back to a mini company we set up in transition year (4th year in school) when I was about 15. So I went on to graduate with an International Marketing Degree and took it from there….little did I know that my career path would alter and the excitement that was ahead!
“Finding that balance between family life and work is just as important as the ambition.”
Has motherhood changed you as a working woman?
Yes, definitely. I think it’s made me more efficient with my time and it’s made me more ambitious too. Your career isn’t just about you when you have a family, it’s about you and your family. You’re doing it for them and not just yourself. Finding that balance between family life and work is just as important as the ambition. We won’t get the balance perfect every week but acknowledging that is important for your sanity and to avoid overdosing on mummy guilt!
What’s the best thing about being a mum?
Where do I start? The hugs, the laughter, the natural aerobics class you get on a daily basis running around after three little men! Being responsible for these wonderful little people can be a little overwhelming at times and they definitely test you on a daily basis, but the rewards are greater than I could ever have imagined. My heart could literally burst sometimes when I look at them fast asleep after a long day.
What is the most empowering thing about your job?
Being able to have an input and suggest ideas for editorial items on the show is lovely. It means different presenters can bring their own individual passions to the content and running order of the show. Looking at the wider picture, earning my own money and being financially independent is important to me and very empowering. I don’t think it’s a must for every woman by the way, it’s just what works for me and my family.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The harder you work the luckier you get! I like that one. My parents have always driven home the importance of being nice to everyone and showing kindness and good manners. There’s no doubt they go a long way.
What is empowerment to you?
It’s about feeling able, able for whatever your life involves. Feeling strong. It’s about being assertive without being a pain in the backside!
What’s great about being a woman?
All of the above. Women create, nurture, inspire, craft and love. We laugh a lot too. Hopefully those of you reading this do too. What’s not to love?! Women are deadly! Although I do still think of myself as a girl! I’m not alone there, right?!
What’s your biggest career achievement?
There’s a couple of highs with more to come hopefully. Being honoured with the ‘Celebrity Mum of the Year’ award from Woman’s Way magazine was a lovely honour. I say ‘celebrity’ because the other ‘Mum of the Year’ nominees and winners are people who have done incredible things in their lives; from fostering countless children to establishing schools in third world countries. I wasn’t worthy at all, but felt very privileged to spend a day in their company (and reminding my hubby from time to time of my award gives me endless laughter!)
Getting to launch the weekend version (Saturday AM and Sunday AM) of the weekday show (Ireland AM), a show that I had worked on for five years, was a joy too. Seeing it all come to fruition, being part of the development of a new show and getting it established as well as seeing it meet and exceed all ratings targets makes me feel very proud of what the whole team have achieved.
“Although I do still think of myself as a girl… I’m not alone there, right?!”
Who is your role model?
I have a few. My own mother is incredible. Her work ethic and dedication to whatever she’s doing is very inspiring. She’s tender and soft yet surprisingly strong when under pressure. She appreciates quality and fine craft and will always put her own stamp on things, making them a little different and individual.
After interviewing the likes of Kate Winslet it’s hard not to feel inspired. Grounded, gorgeous and so warm and easy to chat to. I honestly think we should be best friends!! After chatting to Helen Mirren I decided I wanted to be Helen when I grow up! I’ll stop dropping names now, apologies!
What’s your style staple?
A Mint Velvet soft black biker jacket. It goes with everything.
Is there a particular item or outfit that makes you feel like you can take on the world?
I wore a black cape dress from Mint Velvet recently and I was literally floating around in it for the day! Never have I worn such a comfortable dress, I’m looking forward to giving it another outing after all the compliments I received. It just shows, when you’re comfy in something you wear it better.
What do you love about spending time at home as opposed to going out?
I have the right company, comfy lounge wear and cosy slippers, glass of nice wine in hand (without having to queue at a packed bar!) and Netflix in motion! Heaven!!
I think there was never a truer line than Coco Chanel’s ‘take one thing off’. We can be very guilty of over thinking and over styling our outfits and sometimes (always!) simple is so much more effective. Killer heels are always good though, just make sure you’re going from car to bar!