The 27-year-old was crowned Miss Ireland at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar, Mayo this weekend and she still can’t make sense of it.
VIP Magazine was able to nab her for a quick chat in between celebrations as she reveled in her first week as Miss Ireland 2022!
Congratulations on your win, Ivanna. How does it feel to be Miss Ireland?
It was absolutely amazing. It was definitely surreal, I couldn’t believe it. It took me a second to process it was me that was chosen! But I am absolutely so chuffed. I have been smiling ever since winning!
What was life like before Miss Ireland?
I went to college at UCC to study medicine and I graduated in 2020, we actually graduated a little bit early. Our exams were pushed forward so we could start working during the COVID pandemic. I had a pretty busy two years working during that time! Everyone who worked during that period was absolutely amazing. I think everyone inside the healthcare system and outside of it was absolutely brilliant. Everyone came together across the country but I suppose working during that time frame showed me how important it was to not have any regrets. Do what you want to do. I didn’t want to wake up in 10 years time and look back saying: “I wish I had pushed myself or gone for that or done that.” Miss Ireland was definitely something I always considered doing even when I was younger, I always had a big interest in beauty and fashion. I have followed the competition. I’m really glad I went to go for it this and that the results were so good!
Starting work in the middle of a global pandemic is not ideal. How did you handle that?
It was definitely a bit daunting. Our exams were brought forward last minute. It was all very unexpected, it was quite challenging. We were lucky that everyone who was already working before we had started were really supportive and understanding. We were thrown into the deep end. They were so incredibly helpful when we were working!
Now, you’re in a very different, very glamorous world. How are you going to spend the next year as Miss Ireland?
I’m going to take some time out from my medical career at the moment. I’m going to be pretty busy with all the bits from Miss Ireland. I’ll be going forward towards Miss World, so I’m incredibly excited I’ll be able to represent Ireland. That usually happens at the end of this year, typically in December.
I plan to make the most of the next year. I will absolutely keep fundraising, Beauty with a Purpose is a large part of Miss Ireland. This year all the contestants were raising funds for Variety Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, as well as our own chosen charity. Mine was the Irish Red Cross. We had various events in our own community to raise funds and awareness, we managed to raise over €50,000 between us for all the different charities, I think that’s incredible. I want to keep that going, I want to bring more awareness and more funds to charities in Ireland and further afield. Of course, I’ll be competing in Miss World, so I’ll be preparing for that. We’ll be doing similar challenges to Miss Ireland, there’s a sports challenge, there’s debating, and there’s a social media aspect. There’s a lot of preparation! Some people don’t even realise what’s involved. But I’m really looking forward to it.
Wow, that’s a lot of prep work! Do you think we’ve moved past the notion that Miss Ireland is just a beauty pageant?
It’s so much more than a beauty pageant. If you just look at all the young women who took part this year, they’re so accomplished. They’re all stunningly beautiful but equally as intelligent, friendly and kind. All the charity fundraising that we’ve been doing and bringing communities together. This year there has been a focus on the environment, Our World, Our Future is the theme for Miss Ireland. We did a beach clean-up and waterway clean, we have a large emphasis on looking after the environment and global citizenship. It’s not just the photoshoots and fashion shows, that’s a part of it, but it’s so much more than that.
There have been so many incredible Miss Irelands, Rosanna Davison, Pamela Uba, Aoife Walsh, to name a few! What is it like to be among those women?
I’m absolutely shocked that I can put myself in the mix with all those incredible women. All the previous Miss Irelands are incredibly accomplished, intelligent, wonderful people. The support I received from all of the previous winners, especially last year’s winner Pamela Uba, has been amazing. Everyone has been so supportive. All the other county winners from all around the country have been incredibly supportive. The well-wishes I’ve received from my fellow contestants have been unbelievable.
Before I let you go, what has been your highlight so far?
I have to say Saturday night when I won! I don’t think I can pick anything else!