Last December, Shauna Lindsay was named GOSH Girl 2015 and the prize was well earned. Young, smart and driven, this lady has something special about her. A ball of energy bursts into the room when Shauna arrives at the Fusion Studio. She is chilled out and relaxed, her laid-back charm is most intriguing. It is refreshing to meet a girl with no makeup on and who can take thepiss out of themselves – funny faces and accents included. In a very short period of time her career has taken off:she has won Miss Limerick, competed in Miss Ireland, has a huge following on social media and is signed to Assets Modelling agency, this 19-year-old beauty has a very bright future ahead of her, indeed. Mairéad Collins sat down with the fun, energetic and down-to-earth beauty who tells us her secret on how to succeed, the modelling industry and they discuss the pros and cons of social media for young people today.
You are quite the fashionista, were you always that way inclined growing up?
Oh no, I was an absolute little boy growing up. I wore hats, I wore my brother’s clothes. I would rip the heads off Barbie dolls. On my Communion day, I ripped the dress off me. I swear, I wouldn’t wear it. I just hated anything girly. When did it change? I don’t even know, must have been about 12 and I became obsessed with make-up. I would rummage in my mom’s drawers and find bits of foundation and started playing with it and then it took off from there. I started curling my hair and I started actually looking like a girl.
So how did you get involved in modelling, where did it all begin?
My mom’s friends kept telling me to do it, so I went to a casting (that) Celia Holman Lee did in Castletroy and I remember there was a room of girls and she made you walk and it was terrifying. (Laughs) But that’s where it all started and they gave me a call and I started doing shows. At the casting, you had to give your details and they seemed impressed with me which was a major confidence boost. Then, when I actually started doing the shows, even though I was terrified,I experienced such an adrenaline rush. The people around me were all so nice as well…and you get to get really dressedup!
Who would be your inspirations?
Roz Purcell, I’m in love with her. I actually met her at my GOSH shoot and she had no makeup on and she is a goddess. Amazing.
Miss Limerick was the start of things for you in a lot of ways, tell me about that.
When I was with Celia, she obviously knew that I wasn’t very confident. So she said: “You are entering Miss Limerick.” and I was like: “No I am not.” I was booted into it, I had to and I was saying to my Mom that I can’t do it:“I’m going to cry if I’m asked questions in front of all these people, I can’t do it.” It’s my worst nightmare, but I did it. Celia said: “Do it for the experience, for the confidence boost. It will help so much.” And I did it and I won. (Giggles) I was so surprised, I had no idea. I really did it for the confidence.
Then you went onto Miss Ireland, tell us about that?
People think that at these competitions girls are being mean and nasty to each other and in my experience it isn’t like that at all. Before the competition, we went to Westport to an adventure centre. I had the time of my life. There was water trampolining, kayaking –everything you could think of; climbing up ropes 50ft high – crazy! So we all bonded there and then when the Miss Ireland competition came along, everyone were so friendly and everyone got along; it was unreal. When the winner was announced, it was all good vibes. Everyone were delighted, there was no one annoyed or any of those stereotypical portrayals out there.
Your most recent success was being named the face of GOSH Cosmetics 2015. How did that come about?
It started through online voting and luckily I got the most votes because I’ve such supportive people in my life. My Mom, hands down,is the most supportive person in the world. Although she was probably driving everyone crazy sharing the online link every day on Facebook saying: ‘Please, please vote.’ But thank God she did because I got to number one in the votes and went on to win it. There were over 2,000 girls who entered online and they narrowed it down to twenty three. We then went to the Morgen Hotel. It was just another one of those things…my heart was nearly falling out of my mouth. Glenda Gilson, Sarah Morrissey, Courtney O’Hara from Assets and Evan Doherty, the photographer, were judges. The whole thing was filmed which didn’t help the nerves. There was no thought in my head that I could win it…Then I found out there was a second and third place, so I thought maybe third… and when my name wasn’t called I thought I was done…then they called the winner and it was me and I nearly had a heart attack; I was smiling from ear to ear!
Is social media very important for models in today’s world when it comes to promoting themselves?
Oh yeah, Instagram is the way to do it. If you look at America at the moment, the amount of models that are found on Instagram alone. Girls, now modelling for Guess, were found on Instagram. Fingers crossed, please let that happen me. (Laughs) Definitely though, to promote yourself; and brands are using girls and bloggers to promote themselves as well.
Any plans to take your social media presence a step further?
Yes, I’m starting a website. From the whole life experience of Miss Limerick and Miss Ireland, I was putting up pictures on Instagram – I could spend my a whole day on Instagram looking at things, I love it! Mom was always telling me I should blog and I was like, “Oh I don’t know,” because you are putting yourself out totally there. On an Instagram account, it’s your own little personal thing but when you start a blog, you are letting people in to see everything about you. I was a bitiffy about it. But I have such a huge following on Instagram and I thought,“You know what, these girls genuinely want to see how I’m doing my make-up and things,” so I decided I was going to set up a website. It’s not up yet, it will be up and it’s so much work. I never thought it would be such hard work, eyebrow tutorial on the go, so everyone can have those eyebrows! (Laughs)
Just when you mention putting yourself out there, have you ever had any bad experiences with how public everything is on the Internet?
My pictures were robbed from my Facebook page along with other girls from school and put on adult’s sites. It was really disturbing;all the comments men and women were leaving were just vile. They have all been taken down now, but that was possibly one of the most disturbing experiences of my life.
What would you say to anyone who experiences negative comments online?
Brush it off completely. I mean, these people don’t matter. You have got to believe in yourself and if you believe you can do something, I am telling you now, that you most certainly can. I’m proof. (Laughs) Seriously though, I never thought from people saying nice things to me that I would get confidence and start believing it and things just took off. So it’s all about what you think yourself, people’s comments don’t mean anything. I mean, obviously for every 100 good comments you are going to get, you will also get a bad comment. There is always going to be a hater, to be fair. Not everyone is going to like you. I’m ok with that, you don’t have to like me.
Do you feel the need to keep up an appearance outside of work hours or can you switch off?
Have you seen me right now? (Laughs) I switch off 100%. I don’t know about other models but I always go out to Adare or Dromoland for long walks and if you think I’m putting on make-up to go out there, it’s not happening. If it’s my day off and I want to put in an effort I will, but if I’m not in the mood to wear make-up or want to wear sweat pants, it’s going to happen.
Have you any advice for aspiring models?
I mean, I would just get out there. Get your face out there. Go to events, even if you aren’t invited. (Laughs) Just go, get your face and name out there, it starts picking up from there. And enjoy every minute of it.
Interview – Mairéad Collins
Photography – TarmoTulit