SHE’S known across the country as the face of TV3’s flagship entertainment show Exposé, but model and now successful jewellery designer, Glenda Gilson, is about to add a new and exciting role to her CV – that of devoted mum.
The stunning TV star recently announced that she is pregnant with her first child and says she and husband Robert McNaughton are absolutely over the moon with the news.
Chatting to Connect fresh from a Special Olympics photo-call, the mum-to-be says she is feeling great and cannot wait for her November arrival – but admits that she is naturally nervous about what lies ahead.
“We are so, so thrilled and so excited but I’m not going to lie, I’m dead nervous too just because it’s all new to me,” Glenda said. “I’ve always wanted to be a mom and I love kids, but I suppose there’s part of me that doubts myself, but I think that’s natural. Robert and I are so excited but it’s going to be a game-changer for both of us. I just hope I won’t be a complete disaster,” she joked.
Glenda rose to fame as a model, a career that began thanks to her mom, and saw her reach phenomenal heights in the Irish modelling circuit.
“As a child, one of my mom’s great friends owned a modelling agency so naturally she sent me to castings all the time and basically it went from there. I started off when I was only three years old, stopped for a bit while I was at school, but it was always something I loved and so got back into it again years later,” Glenda explained. “It gave me a great platform and I honestly met loads of friends along the way and it was because of modelling that I eventually got into TV.”
Now of course, modelling in Ireland is a lot different, Glenda explained, saying that when she was at the pinnacle of her career, it was a very tough slog.
“We literally traipsed around town to ‘go-sees’ with our portfolio, hoping to get booked, but nowadays you don’t even have to leave your own home to get noticed. Social media has become such a huge platform for aspiring models now, where they can create and edit their shots before posting. We weren’t afforded that opportunity in my time, we just had to pose and that was it.
“Young guys and girls are far more confident too in front of the camera now, which is a great thing and the modelling industry here in Ireland is very friendly, so that helps a lot,” she said
While Glenda loved her career as one of Ireland’s top models, and appreciated every opportunity it presented her, she admits that she always wanted to branch into TV. After working for a number of years on music channel Bubble Hits, Glenda moved on to TV3, where – 11 years later – she now fronts the hugely popular evening entertainment show Exposé.
Often seen chatting with some of Hollywood’s A-list celebs on red carpets across the globe, Glenda says that the job is not all glitz and glam and takes a lot of work and commitment to get it right.
“Obviously anyone in this kind of job has to be intelligent and composed and know what they’re doing,” Glenda says. “You can’t just walk into a room and start screaming in excitement or you’ll never again be allowed in. You have to be composed and have to have your questions ready and be professional, no matter who’s sitting in front of you.
“Sometimes, you can be completely at ease with someone but other times it’s not so easy, so you have to be able to go with it.”
In her time at TV3 Glenda has been blessed to meet and interview a host of celebs, her favourite being Robbie Williams, Meryl Streep, Amanda Holden and surprisingly Simon Cowell, who she says is one of the ‘kindest, sweetest men’ she’s met in her career.
But regular viewers of Expose will know that in her years as host and anchor, she has built up a great relationship with renowned crooner, Micheal Bublé. Their first encounter, however, was somewhat of an embarrassing one, Glenda admits.
“A friend of mine was outside the venue before I was about to go in and do the interview and he told me that Michael loved motor racing and to be sure to ask him about it,” Glenda begins. “So, of course I did, and straight away he looked at me really confused and said: ‘Ahh, motor racing, no – where did you hear that?’
“I was left with a right humdinger and my friend still says it to me and laughs about it. It wasn’t very funny at the time I can assure you. I suppose because I’ve interviewed Michael so many times we just seem to have a really good relationship. Plus, he’s such a sweet guy and loves a good chat so it makes my job easier.”
Anyone who knows Glenda Gilson knows that she takes very good care of herself, something that was instilled from her modelling days. But if you think her amazing physique comes from countless hours in the gym and an endless supply of carrot sticks, you’d be very wrong.
“Because I was modelling for years I suppose I was always trained to look after myself, so it’s beaten into me in a sense from a young age, but I’m really not one for going to the gym or rigidly watching what I eat. I’m lucky that I have a very high metabolism and am very active so I believe in everything in moderation, but since I’ve gotten pregnant I’ve an appetite like a horse,” she joked.
Glenda is also considered one of Ireland top style icons and admits that while she loves to mix high street fashion with a few choice designer pieces, the most important thing for her is to just go for what she likes.
Speaking of designers, we had to ask her thoughts on Kerry’s very own designer to the stars, Don O’Neill – and unsurprisingly, she’s a big fan.
“Ah I just love Don and (his husband) Pascal. They are the nicest guys around and I love everything Don does. I’m a huge fan, yea. Fair play to him for all he has done.”
Glenda’s most recent endeavour is designing her very own jewellery collection – G by Glenda Gilson – a project which she is extremely proud of. Her new summer collection is out now featuring a selection of beaded necklaces and bracelets. Previous collections also feature stunning silver pendants and bracelets, all which are available at
“I love jewellery, particularly necklaces and bracelets, and I found that people were admiring what I was wearing and what I liked so I thought, why not just bring out my own rage, so that’s what I did. I’m very proud of what I have come up with and I really enjoy when people wear and admire my pieces.”
Asked what lies ahead for her in the future and whether or not she would ever considered moving across the water to pursue a TV career in the UK or US, Glenda says she is quite happy where she is.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling to the UK or New York or LA for work, but for me there is no place like home. I’m a real home bird and I’m so lucky that I love what I’m doing here right now, so long may it last. Ireland is where my heart is.”