By Marisa Reidy
SHE’S funny, she’s beautiful and she has a blistering TV and radio career – but best of all, TV star Lucy Kennedy is genuinely one of the loveliest ladies in showbiz.
Always up for a laugh, she tells Connect about her crazy route to a career in front of the camera – which came about somewhat by accident while working in radio sales.
“When it came to my career, I honestly changed my mind on a daily basis in school. My poor careers guidance teacher must have been the most patient lady in Europe. I flitted between wanting to be a pilot and journalist for about four years and then ended up not pursuing either,” Lucy explained
“At the age of 22, I completed a television presenting and production course with Bill Keating and worked behind the scenes in production, happily, for seven years. Then when a dating show host opportunity came up, I said ‘why not’? And shockingly, I got the gig. My friend Maia Dunphy called me and said that she’d heard about a dating show host audition with Adare Productions. I was working with Spin 1038 at that time, doing radio sales and literally went to the audition after work, for the craic. No one was more shocked than me when I got the job. That show was called ‘The Ex-Files’ for RTE and I loved it.”
From there, Lucy went on to host the original Podge & Rodge Show – a project she thoroughly enjoyed and which still holds a special place in her heart.
“Myself and the boys auditioned together and within seconds I think it was obvious that we were meant to be,” Lucy tells CONNECT. “I worked on the show for nearly three years and then the decision came up to continue with them for another series or to go out on my own. I mulled over it for a few weeks and decided – having had a good cry – to go out on my own with ‘Living With Lucy’. I always have and always will adore the boys and I’m a viewer for life – they never fail to make me laugh.”
Although the decision to pursue ‘Living With Lucy’ was a hugely difficult one, Lucy says she has absolutely no regrets – describing the show as ‘her baby’. She said she is hugely invested in the show and loves the concept of living with celebrities and learning more about them.
“I love the show, I really do – it’s my baby and I’ve looked after it adoringly for nearly 10 years. I never get bored or tired of the format because there’s so much variety living with celebrities. That show is a part of me now and it’s as me as I’ll ever be. I think that ‘Living with Lucy’ can last forever,” she said.
The show, Lucy explained, sees her move in with a chosen celebrity for two nights and three days, which she jokes can either fly by or drag, depending on the guest. One person she could have lived with indefinitely, however, was our very own Michael Healy Rae.
“I have to say my favourite housemate was Micheal Healy Rae – and he knows it. I laughed solidly for three days and his family were so welcoming and great fun. Since then, we’ve become friends and I honestly just love him. He’s so hardworking, so kind and such fun. I really love being in his company,” Lucy explained.
“I didn’t know him prior to moving in so I didn’t know what to expect to be honest, but what I hadn’t expected was how much I’d genuinely like him. We just clicked. By the way, he gets up at about 3am which is not normal. I think he’s a vampire.”
Lucy also revealed that she is currently working on an idea that involves she and Micheal getting together again, joking that she thinks they could be the new Ant and Dec. So remember you heard it here first!!
When not living it up with famous celebrities in Ireland and the UK, Lucy is also the presenter of Ireland’s Got Talent on Virgin Media One – season two of which is due to begin filming soon. Lucy says she absolutely loves being at the forefront of such a great show and is always impressed by the talent on display.
“I really, really enjoy presenting ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’. It’s right up my street – family fun at its very best,” Lucy said. “And I’m so impressed with our talent. For a small island, we can certainly match other countries. I’d like to see more comedians this year though – comedians and bands.”
Of course Lucy’s talent is not confined to TV – she is also co-presenter of the Lucy and Colm Breakfast show on Radio Nova, which she presents with her close friend Colm Hayes.
“Colm and I met eight years ago when Gerry Ryan sadly passed away as we filled in on Gerry’s show on 2fm. I then went back to telly and he moved to another slot on 2fm. We obviously stayed in touch over the years and had many great boozy lunches,” Lucy joked. “Then, last November, he asked me to meet and asked me how I’d feel about hosting a breakfast show together – and I said yes. I’ve been offered lots of radio work over the last few years but the timing was never right. I absolute love it and I love Colm dearly. Nova has big plans so I’m delighted to be a part of such a successful, exciting company”
While currently living the dream with a highly successful media career, Lucy’s number one priority, and indeed her greatest achievement – is her family. She is mum to three small children, aged 9, 6 and 2 – so being there for them will always be top of her agenda, she says.
“The most rewarding thing about being a mum is when you see your child laughing. You know that they’re happy and secure. I am very protective of our children, we both are, and so I worry a lot about them, like all parents,” she said, “The most challenging thing has to be dividing myself between them. Because they are at different ages and stages, sometimes I feel like I’m being stretched in all directions. That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our three babies and our family are my favourite thing about my life. They really are my world.”
Asked if she finds it difficult to juggle family life and such a demanding career, Lucy says it’s all about planning.
“I am so organised that I can tell you what they’re having for dinner on the 3rd of December,” she jokes. “You have to be ten steps ahead. I’m a natural planner and I love making lists, so that helps. I’m also very lucky though. I work part time hours so I’m at the school gates every day to collect them all and I don’t work on a Friday, unless I’m filming. It’s taken me a long time to get it right but I’ve finally found the perfect balance for us. I’ve always made sure that I chose the job that worked around my family. Family first, always.”
And speaking of family, and Christmas just around the corner, Lucy says there is a huge buzz of excitement in her house this year. While she and her husband will be hosting Christmas dinner, she admits she will be getting a little help from her mum.
“I am obsessed with Christmas. I get excited as soon as Halloween ends – we all do, we’re a very festive house. It certainly adds that extra level of excitement when you have small children at home. Holly (6) has had her Santa wish-list ready since June,” Lucy told Connect.
“We take it in turns to host Christmas, so this year, myself and Richard are hosting Christmas Day. There will be twelve of us in total; seven adults and five children. It will be very loud and very good fun. We’re a very close family so there’ll be plenty of slagging and laughing. My mum is making the turkey and the gravy as I’m useless at both and then I’ll do all the veg, roasties, desserts, cheeseboard etc. Booze-wise, I stock up each month, so at the moment I could open up a small pub in our back garden.”
Asked, finally, if she would ever consider a TV role reversal, where she became the focus of a reality TV show like Dancing with The Stars or Big Brother-type series, Lucy was adamant that it’s never going to happen….
“Absolutely no way. I wouldn’t like it. I have a private side of me and our lives that’s only for me. But more importantly, no one – and I mean no one – ever needs to see me in Lycra.”