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‘I think the fashion in Limerick is gorgeous’: Model agency boss Hilary Thompson

Hilary Thompson - dress by In-Vogue Picture: Michael Cowhey

Hilary Thompson - dress by In-Vogue Picture: Michael Cowhey

MODELLING for Hilary Thompson is something she has always known and loved.

“I love fashion and I love meeting people, having met some very special people down through the years,” the Limerick woman tells the Leader. 

The prominent modelling agent started her career when she was just 13 years old.

“My mother made me go to classes to straighten my back,” she says with a smile. 

She caught her first break at the age of 16, when she was cast in a television advert for Schweppes.

“I did some modelling in Dublin with Nan Morgan. I was too small for the ramps so it was mostly photographic, television ads and magazine work, for things like Knorr Soup, Butcher Boy Sausages and Harp Lager.” 

Photographed here on the left in 1981, modelling the designs of one of Ireland’s great fashion designers Vonnie Reynolds, it was around this time Hilary decided to go it alone and set up her own agency.

“It was Gretta Coughlan, who has since passed away, of Gretta Gibbs who gave me my very first show 35 years ago. Only for her and Jerry Relihan, they offered me my first show and that kick started it all.

“It’s hard work but I really enjoy it. I’m learning all the time. I have a very good team behind me and a very good team of models.

“I love fashion and I love clothes but I try to support local. That’s very important because these people are the people who are keeping me in business. I think the fashion in Limerick is gorgeous. There is great variety,” she adds.

“I’m in a different mindset now. I think I look at things a lot more objectively. At the beginning of the agency, it was tough. There was a lot of competition and I had to fight to keep what I had.”

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