SHE is known for her confidence and poise but Limerick’s Celia Holman Lee has admitted to being “sick with nerves” prior to her first appearances on television.
The model agent, who is urging young ladies to put their name forward for the upcoming Miss Limerick World competition, says she can relate to the nervousness felt by young women as they put themselves on a public platform for the first time.
However, she says, unless they face their fears, they will never know or reach their true potential.
“There is one way of getting over your nerves and that is to push yourself and give yourself challenges,” Celia said this week.
“If you challenge yourself, you can achieve anything. It’s as simple as that.”
The style icon who has more than 40 years experience in the fashion and entertainment business says she wasn’t always the confident Celia we see in photographs and on the television.
“When I started on TV first, I used to actually nearly get physically sick before I sat down, whereas now, if there are 100 cameras around me, it doesn’t bother me. That all comes down to experience,” she said.
For the young ladies who are considering taking part in the Miss Limerick World competition on May 1 in The Parlour in the city, Celia offers this advice: “Use the experience and make the most of it. Everyone likes to win but it’s important to also see it as a stepping stone and as an opportunity to get a look inside the whole industry.”
Already, she says, there has been great interest in the competition which sees the Limerick winner go on to compete in the national Miss Ireland World. A previous winner of this title, Rosanna Davison, went on to be crowned Miss World in 2003.
“We have done very well in these competitions over the years and it has always been a great platform for us, as an agency, to find fabulous girls to model as well – we have never, ever been disappointed,” said Celia.
“I have to ask myself year after year, ‘Where do all these beauties come out of?’ We are still inviting girls to come forward. They will be tutored by the Holman Lee Agency and put through their paces.”
In terms of their appearance, Celia is urging the girls to “tone it down”.
“Definitely pull back,” she advised. “They feel they need all this make-up and tan – they don’t. They don’t realise how beautiful they are. I think with a lot of these girls it is insecurity, as well as being influenced by all the tv programmes and magazines.”
And finally, what will the judging panel be looking for when it comes to choosing a winner?
“We are looking for someone who will win Miss World for us,” she said.
“It is based very much on the girl’s ability to hold the title – she should be well able to meet and greet, hold herself well, be well able to converse and relate to people, and to wear the Miss Limerick World crown with pride.”