IT may not be a walk-on part but Celia Holman Lee got to taste a little of the Downton Abbey lifestyle when she shot a promotional video for the brand new series which will air on TV3 later this month.
Along with four models from her agency, Celia and Limerick actor Nigel Mercier will appear in the specially created ‘stings’ sponsored by home shopping fashion brand Oxendales.
“It was incredible to get the gig. I love the series and I couldn’t believe it when they said they were thinking about using me. Obviously, they had to meet me and talk to me. Then I got a call that they were going to work with me,” Celia explained.
As part of her contract, Celia shot four different promotional videos in Adare Manor last June, with a final ‘sting’ to be shot for Christmas.
The model agent plays the part of a lady of the manor while Nigel plays the butler.
“I have about four different lines but my favourite one is when I am sitting down playing chess and Nigel is looking at me trying to manoeuvre a move to beat me in chess and I turn to him to say: ‘Don’t be defeatist dear, it doesn’t suit you’.”
Celia said she delighted that Oxendales chose a woman of her vintage for the videos.
“I mean this, I am a certain age and it isn’t often that companies in Ireland go after women of my age for campaigns,” she commented.
“They go after us if we are using a product for our eyes or grey hair so I was honoured and really thrilled that they approached me for this. We have to fight our corner. In hindsight, maybe the age I am now is good because the competition isn’t too fierce. When you are younger, the competition is vast. It’s a pity that a lot more companies don’t think outside the box.”
While she says she garners a lot of attention because she is in the media, many of her friends who live their lives out of the spotlight are just as glamorous.
“People say to me ‘you are sixty plus, you look good’, but I have lots of friends who look fantastic. I have friends in Limerick who look better than me and are a year for two older than me. It’s just that I am out there – but they are there too, looking sensational. This company took a risk with me and I hope people like the stings.”
And her favourite characters from the series? “I love Maggie Smith and I actually love Lady Mary!”
Models from the Holman Lee Agency who star in the promotional videos which air before each episode include Becky Costello from Kilmallock, Hillary Lenihan from Limerick, Grace Walsh from Rhebogue and Annalee O’Donovan from Ennis.
The new series of Downton Abbey premieres Wednesday, September 24 at 9pm on TV3.