Camogie star Anna Geary said she was nervous about sashaying onto our screens on Dancing With The Stars for fear how the public would perceive her body.
The GAA executive, from Cork, knew that her foray onto the small screen would mean extra scrutiny of her figure, which she says is “very different”, but was pleasantly surprised by the feedback she was receiving, mostly from grateful mothers to have a new healthy role model.
“I will be very honest, one of my fears before DWTS was how people would perceive my body shape. Mine is no better or worse than anyone else’s, but it is a very different shape,” she told STELLAR magazine.
“But thankfully I’ve had lots of parents getting in touch telling me that I’m a positive role model for my daughter, that it’s great to see an athletic physique like mine. Strong is the new skinny is a term that’s thrown around, and I guess I’m a living embodiment for that, because I could diet for a year and I wouldn’t be what’s perceived as ‘skinny’.
“I am strong. I have to embrace and own it!”
Strong she is – Geary has four All-Ireland titles to her name, four All-Star and three Munster camogie club medals to name a few; which might be part of the reason her competitive edge has made her a hit with both the judges and the voting public.
“I think playing camogie at a high level has definitely stood to me, there were weeks when I started back in rehearsals with bad feedback and scores, but I have to remember that in this case, I’m not meant to be a professional, it’s not meant to be perfect, and the public just want to see you being fearless and trying and improving,” she added.
“I have very high standards and put lots of pressure on myself. For me, the challenge for Kai has been to get me to relax.”
She is now based in Dublin with her boyfriend of three years, Kevin Sexton, and sought his blessing before putting on her dancing shoes because of the additional strain the gruelling rehearsals would put on their relationship.
“We had a big chat about it all at the start, because I had to make sure he was comfortable with [Dancing With The Stars] – mostly with the time commitment element, because we’re like ships in the night right now,” she says.
“He’s taken on responsibility for the house and keeping the fridge stocked because he knows that if I’m in something, I’m all in, 100%. Once I knew he was behind me and fully accepting, I knew no matter what happened we’d be fine. There have been times when I come home frustrated, and he’s there with dinner or a cup of tea and the fire lit, and it just means the world.”