22-year-old Boyle woman, Hollie Funke Hersey, is the current Miss Universe Connacht and she will go forward to represent the province at the final of Miss Universe Ireland on August 1st at the Mansion House in Dublin.
Hollie recently finished her studies in Fashion Design and Buying at the Dublin Institute of Design. She has also signed as a model with the Andrea Roche Modelling Agency. She is delighted to be among 30 contestants in this year’s Miss Universe Ireland final.
“I had heard of it (Miss Universe Ireland) last year through a friend but I had been living in Canada at the time and so I couldn’t take part. I was reminded about it this year again and I applied. I was one of over 200 applicants and had to take part in a personal interview and create a biography about myself. It was then narrowed down to 30 contestants and at the Mansion House they’ll choose a Top 10, a Top 5 and then the outright winner,” she said.
Hollie, a former Abbey Community College student, is the daughter of Tina Funke and stepdaughter of German national, Bodo Funke. She has two sisters, Chloe and Ellie and one brother, Danny. She said she was extremely grateful to her many sponsors from Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim and to her family, friends and local people for their support.
The Miss Universe pageant attracts contestants from over 100 countries and Hollie says it’s the perfect platform for sharing one of her passions.
“People think it’s just a pageant but it’s a lot more than that. The motto of Miss Universe Ireland is ‘Confidently Beautiful’.
“One of my passions is working with Jigsaw, an organisation which helps young people with mental health issues. I also work voluntarily as a music therapist. It’s something that I’m very passionate about because I suffered with anxiety and panic attacks when I was younger. I never thought that I could be part of something so big or get up on stage and represent my town or county and talk about these things,” she said.
The model and aspiring fashion designer believes that whoever is chosen to represent Ireland at this year’s Miss Universe pageant will be expected to add to recent good results.
“The director of Miss Universe Ireland is Brittany Mason and since she took over in 2017 Miss Universe Ireland has placed in the Top 20,” she said.
Following August’s final Miss Universe Ireland show in the Round Room at the Mansion House, Boyle’s Miss Universe Connacht will discover if she is the one chosen to carry the flag later this year at the Miss Universe Pageant in South Korea.