Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm Alannah, a 23 year old from the lovely parish of Eadestown, Kildare in Ireland. I'm a DIT graduate with a degree in Visual Merchandising and Display and have a massive love for all things fashion, fitness and beauty! I have recently moved over to London to pursue a modelling career.
You were a finalist on Britain’s Next Top Model, the recent series. Can you tell us about your experiences on the show?
This competition is about looks to a point - that got me the interview. The six weeks were an endurance test, physically, mentally and emotionally. It was extremely challenging at times - for instance the girls and I weren’t allowed to communicate with each other (called “on ice”) when we met for the first time. It was only when the cameras were rolling that you were allowed to engage with each other. The life of a model is not easy and some very tough scenarios were created for the girls and I. It was a roller coaster of emotion. I had a brilliant first week and then in week 2 it all went pear shaped with a photo shoot in a dungeon where 40 people were crowded into a very small space with no air-conditioning. My shoot was the last one of the day and I was sweating for Ireland!! They asked me to wear a silk dress which was sopping wet after a few minutes and then I upended a milk shake all down my front - while the cameras were rolling!! I needed to be able to deal with all of this - the highs, the lows, missing your family, sleepless nights and be professional, friendly and enthusiastic whatever was thrown at you.
Did you always want to be a model? If not, what made you want to apply for the show?
Throughout the four years I spent at college, I never stopped dreaming of becoming a successful model, even more so when I completed the course and was left thinking what was next for me. Then came the perfect opportunity - Britain's Next Top Model. I auditioned during the summer last year. I applied 5 times online, each application took hours - between uploading photos and everything else. The upload seemed to fail - hence the five attempts and eventually after the fifth attempt I decided to give up. Then I was notified that I had made the next stage - so it would appear they received all 5 applications!
You were super successful on the show, and made it to the final three. How has this affected your body confidence?
I went onto Britain’s next Top Model full of confidence, I was comfortable in my own skin which made it easier for me going on set and pulling off any look. It’s one of the judges favourite thing about me, my body confidence. It’s so important to feel good and love your own body, the saying is true “your body is your temple”.
Do you think that programmes like this give a realistic insight into the modelling industry? And does it give the girls a platform?
Yes absolutely. In fact its was probably a busier schedule than most top models around the world. Early mornings to around 11pm at night or later. It was mentally exhausting but I loved the fact we were kept going every minute of every day. Mind you there was a lot of sitting around waiting then all of a sudden high energy in front of the cameras.
You have recently moved from Ireland to London. How does the modelling/fashion industry differ between the two countries?
The Irish fashion industry has incredible and inspirational people involved, it’s a smaller industry so it’s a lot easier to make it. You become part of a family that share the same interest, its more enjoyable and relaxed. Whereas the London modelling and fashion industry is tougher to break into, its cut throat here and more competitive.
What are your highlights of your career so far?
I have been on three magazine covers. Making the move to London. I met Sim on the show, she lives down the road from me, our friendship has grown so much.
What would you change about the modelling industry? Have you had any negative experiences since becoming a model?
I love Sports Illustrated models because they are all so diverse, they come in all different shapes and sizes, different ethnic backgrounds and ages. It’s a celebration of how beautiful the female body is. We need more of body acceptance in the fashion industry. I see so many unhealthy girls starving themselves to stay a certain weight to model.
Some would say that modelling is a woman’s world. Is this true? What stigmas from modelling would you like to break?
No not anymore. Men have drastically started to care about their appearance therefore mens fashion is becoming more and more popular and so are male models.
I would break the weight and age restrictions.
What’s next for Alannah Beirne?
There has been talks about collaborating with Louis Vuitton and I will be heading back to Ireland in December for Dancing with the Stars - super excited!