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Happily single, the 30-year-old Clare native only has one holiday romance this Christmas, and it’s with her new gig on Dancing with the Stars alongside Jennifer Zamparelli
Between spurts of hairspray and painstakingly applied eyeliner on the set of our exclusive Magazine+ shoot, Jennifer Zamparelli has one salient piece of advice for Doireann Garrihy ahead of her Dancing with the Starsdebut: ‘Don’t fall on your arse.’
A match made in TV heaven, there is no denying the chemistry that is emitting from the dynamic duo as they prepare to helm the RTÉ juggernaut, in what will be the series’ first all-female presenting team.
Sashaying between shoot locations in the plush surrounds of Dublin’s Clarence Hotel, it’s clear the girls are back in town.
“Doireann is very excited about working with me, she is going to learn so much. I am going to teach her how to walk down those stairs like a f**king pro,” laughs Jennifer, who has co-hosted the hit show alongside Nicky Byrne since 2019.
“Four series and I haven’t fallen once. Well, actually, I did fall once on my arse but nobody saw. I tripped over a prop and I went flying and only the audience saw — one misstep and you are a goner.”
It’s a word of warning for Doireann, who will join the sixth series of the ratings topper after the Westlife star’s departure earlier this year. And as the 2FM broadcaster knows, first impressions matter.
Jennifer continues: “You would be working your arse off and going through scripts and then the first 400 tweets are about what you are wearing.
“You just think, ‘What is the point?’, but that is all synonymous with the show. It’s the only Irish full-on glitz and glamour affair that is left, and to be part of that is really special. I don’t mind those comments — the good, bad, and ugly.”
Recalling some of her fashion fails, the Dubliner laughs: “I wore this black dress with a big bow on the front of it and I just loved it. But people are funny about bows.
“I had comments like, ‘You look like you are wearing a sack, it does nothing for you’ and ‘sack the stylist.’ You do get a good bit of a laugh from that.”
But Doireann will bring extra style and substance to the much-anticipated series.
“She is going to bring something different to the show, and that’s what it needs. We are all very excited to have her because she has worked hard to get to where she is and is such good fun. This is her in her natural habitat, I think.
“She’ll be buzzing with the contestants off to the side, while still being able to read an autocue.”
When quizzed about their obvious similarities, the 42-year-old rebukes: “We were just saying our hair is very similar.
“We are both from a radio background and comedy background and we both just want to enjoy it. We don’t know how many series are left with this, so I really just want to enjoy every minute of it.
“They say it will be the last series every year and then it comes on and does phenomenal numbers unlike anything else.
“We love live telly and it is one of the few things people will turn on their terrestrial telly to watch.
The star-studded line-up may already boast Ireland’s most beloved drag queen, Panti Bliss, footballer Paul Brogan and influencer Suzanne Jackson but this series, the girls are really bringing it home.
“Apart from Adam Byrne, the whole production is run by women,” Jennifer reminds us. “When you look at this tiny island, we are not short of female talent. OK, so the presenter of The Late Late Show has been a man for the last 85 years but I wouldn’t do it if you offered me millions.
“I have done some amount of shite telly in my time, and I’ve done some great telly too, but now I just want to do a shiny floor dating show.”
At which point, Doireann interjects: ‘Sign me up!’
Happily single, the 30-year-old Clare native only has one holiday romance this Christmas, and it’s with her new gig.
“My romance really is Dancing with the Stars. This whole year I have just been focused on friends and enjoying myself and because of that I have struck a better balance of working hard but also enjoying myself,” she says.
“I think my 30s inspired that. Naturally, I love being on my own and I wouldn’t have any qualms about going for lunch on my own or spending a whole Sunday alone.
“It is so much more normal and accepted to be single when you are 30 and to not panic. Luckily, I have never been someone who has been dead-set like, ‘If I am not engaged by 28 what will my life be?’ I have never been like that.
“I have never even envisioned a wedding — if it happens, it happens. I love being busy and I love work.”
Landing the dream job is still something of a pinch-me moment for the 2FM breakfast presenter.
“It is definitely surreal. I got a call in August asking did I want to screen test and I know it sounds cringe but as soon as I got that call I just said, ‘I have to get this’.
“A lot of people talk about imposter syndrome but I just didn’t have that feeling. I just said, ‘I know I can do this and let’s give it hell,’ admits the beloved social media star.
“I was called back to do a chemistry test with Jen and although we work in 2FM we are like passing ships because I am on air 6am to 9am and she is on 9am to 12pm — we are in different studios and we don’t see a lot of each other.”
As the live shows loom, there is just one thing keeping Doireann up at night.
“The one thing I keep thinking about, and it’s quite trivial, is the walking down the stairs,” she circles back.
“I also want to make sure my personality is coming across and that people feel like they are getting to know me.
“Nicky did a phenomenal job but I am not Nicky and I don’t want people to feel like I am filling Nicky’s shoes.”
Hoping to garner some more tips from her co-host, she adds: “Jen has been in this game for so long.”
“Watch it now,” chides her sidekick, jokingly.
“No, but honestly, as far as Irish women in comedy and TV, Jen has just been there and gets it and I know I am going to learn so much from Jen.
“The way I started out was Snapchat, so people saw the progression — people know it hasn’t been handed to me.
“I do feel like I have worked hard from AA Roadwatch right up to now, but at the same time I do appreciate that I only turned 30 this year. I don’t think I anticipated getting a job like this at this stage.”
Christmas will be a family affair in Clare with her nearest and dearest but Doireann doesn’t place much value on material things.
“I like giving funny presents that have sentiment behind them.”
Reflecting on some not-so-stellar gifts, she adds: “I once received gin glasses from one boyfriend with our names carved on them — and then we broke up on New Year’s Day.”
For Jennifer, she has just one Christmas wish: that her husband Lau, with whom she shares two children — Florence and Enzo — takes the hint and buys her a designer bag.
“I said to Lau, ‘Let’s not buy Christmas presents this year because I don’t like your stocking fillers. I don’t need gadgets, just buy me something big and expensive!’”
Dancing with the Stars returns to RTÉ One on Sunday, January 8 at 6.30pm