By Ellen Converey
Ciara Brennan is a multi-hyphenate. She has unmistakable confidence and poise, striking blue eyes, and defined facial features. These make her the perfect candidate to pursue a career in modelling. In this interview, Brennan discusses her experience walking in the DCU Style fashion show last year and discusses winning a modelling contract with First Options.
Brennan had always dreamed of becoming a model. Watching ‘America’s Next Top Model’ had been a top contributor to this dream. She decided to get involved in DCU Style’s reputable fashion show which took place in March 2023.
Brennan, who studies International Business with Spanish here at DCU ,decided to audition for the fashion show in November of 2022.“The actual audition was quite scary,” Brennan admits as she recalls the day of the audition. However, her nerves didn’t last too long, as the judging panel created a warm and inviting environment. After the first audition, Brennan was contacted for call backs, along with the other succeeding models. “Everyone was so encouraging as I walked, so it was really good for my confidence and getting out of my comfort zone.”
When the big day, March 14th, 2023, arrived, Brennan was ready to hit the runway. Weeks of
rehearsals and preparation had paid off. They were led by the wonderfully talented choreographers, Kate Leahy and Oonagh McGarry. “This was my first time doing something that I’ve always wanted to do so I was more excited than nervous because I just wanted to get on the stage.” This attitude proved Brennan well as she strutted her stuff in front of thousands of people from all over the country.
“The fact that a lot of people I knew came to see me, we had to put on a show, it wasn’t just walking up and down,” she did exactly that and put on a performance that earned her a modelling contract with ‘First Options’ modelling agency. “I thought I was dreaming,” Brennan’s initial reaction when she heard her name announced as winner of the modelling contract. “I kept my composure when I walked out onto the stage and when I got backstage I just bawled my eyes out for hours,” Brennan reflects.
After winning the modelling contract with ‘First Options’, there was no time wasted as she was contacted by the agency the very next day and a meeting was arranged for Ciara to familiarise herself with both the agency and the industry as a whole, “It’s not just a hobby, you’re getting paid to do these things, you have to be professional,” she added. Common misconceptions of the industry can lead to an unrealistic idea of a career in modelling and the amount of work it entails and the sacrifices made in order to succeed within the industry.
“I was told that if I wanted to change anything about my appearance—hair colour, haircut, tattoos, piercings—I had to let them know before doing that,” Ciara said. This came as a shock to her. She enjoys the freedom of changing her look, whether it’s through a change in hair style and colour or acquiring new tattoos and piercings. She admits to feeling quite restricted. However, the agency was very cooperative and ensured to organised photo shoots to boost Brennan’s portfolio.
The modelling industry is infamous for its toxicity and for setting unrealistic beauty standards, Brennan admits that she found it difficult being on shoots with other models and found herself comparing herself to them, “It’s difficult to keep up with the expectations that the industry have and to try not and let it get to you,” she discloses. However she kept a positive mindset and reminded herself that she was picked for a reason and won a contract which doesn’t happen to many people.
The show proved a huge success, thanks to former style chair Liam Leonov and vice chair Katie Kampff. They worked endlessly to curate a detailed and creative event, tending to each minute detail with love and care. The show was hosted by fashion journalist Verona Farrell (@secondhandhuns) , most well known for her “What People are Wearing’ TikTok series and her work with Vogue Scandinavia. Farrell, along with her colleague Sara Svalberg (@sarasvalberg) added to the entertainment of the night with grace, poise, and most importantly style!