The Letterkenny graduate talks to DW about beauty, sport and unexpected opportunities.
Letterkenny Gaels stalwart Anna Gallagher has never done anything like a pageant before, but she’s starting to enjoy this way of life.
As Miss Letterkenny, Anna will be representing her hometown in the Miss Ireland competition on 14th September. She was runner-up in the Miss Donegal final in June and went on to succeed as a Wild Card in the national semi-finals.
And she hasn’t stopped since! A keen footballer, she has worked at the GAA Cúl Camps every day for the past six weeks, while keeping up with her part-time work in a local convenience store.
Anna completed her Arts degree in Maynooth this year and will graduate on the same week as the Miss Ireland final.
“I’m big into promoting health and wellbeing in children. I coach the minors in Letterkenny Gaels, even though I’m not playing myself because we don’t have a senior team. I like to make the most of it,” Anna tells DW.
“I think it’s important for children to enjoy sport, it doesn’t have to be Gaelic, any sport at all. And I think it’s harder for girls to get into sport. It’s important that they know they can like sport and still like the beauty side of things.”
Between football kits and ball gowns, Anna feels she can set an example:
“You can be a beauty queen and sporty at the same time and enjoy getting dressed up,” she says.
Anna didn’t actually apply to be a Miss Donegal finalist this year. It was her mum Marian who put her forward, but Anna has come to see how enjoyable the role can be.
Being Miss Letterkenny has already brought Anna some modelling opportunities and she is getting recognised around town.
“This is out of character for me, but I’m growing with it as it comes. I find my confidence is growing from this,” she says.
Anna will also be using her platform to raise money for charity, as part of Miss Ireland’s Beauty with a Purpose partnership with Variety Ireland.
She is hosting a Mr & Mrs night in Arena 7 Letterkenny on Thursday 22nd August. Starting at 7.30pm, the event will see some brave couples taking to the stage for the ultimate test. It promises to be a great fundraiser, all in aid of children who are disadvantaged, have special needs or are sick.
“It’s going to be great craic and everyone is welcome,” Anna says.
Anna won’t be the only Donegal woman on the Helix stage at the Miss Ireland 2019 final. She’ll be in good company alongside her fellow competitors Miss Donegal winner Holly Mc Crea and Miss Kildare Naomi Molloy, who is from Glenties.