Mum's the word: Miriam O'Callaghan, Louise Duffy and Georgie Crawford on what their mother's taught them

Mum's the word: Miriam O'Callaghan, Louise Duffy and Georgie Crawford on what their mother's taught them

Bairbre Power asks three broadcasters about the beauty lessons they learned from their mums, and the tips they’ll pass on to their own girls. Photographs by Anthony Woods

Miriam O’ Callaghan

Miriam O’Callaghan and her mum Miriam


The RTÉ TV and radio broadcaster, and independent documentary maker is pictured with her mother, Miriam, after whom she was named

Miriam O’Callaghan paid an early price for loving make-up. “I have an older sister, Margaret, and she was into lots of mascara and eyeshadow. I remember going to the nuns, the Sisters of Charity in Milltown, and I used to put on my brown eye make-up the night before I went into school. Sometimes the nuns would get annoyed with me and slap my legs, but I always put on the brown eyeshadow.”

Growing up with her sisters and brother in the family home in Cornelscourt, Miriam remembers how her mother, her beauty inspiration, “always had lovely lipsticks”.

“She wore nice bright lipsticks in pinks and reds. I remember myself and my sisters used to dress up and put on her pink lipstick, but she was a school head mistress so she was a practical person too,” says Miriam, who describes her mother’s attitude to beauty products as “very matter of fact”.

“My mother is a very beautiful woman, she remains a beautiful woman, but she was totally lacking in vanity, so she was never obsessed with beauty products or her image to be honest, and I think I have taken that myself into my own life. I like to look good, but I am not obsessed with beauty products.”

Miriam recalls how influential her godmother and aunt was. She was a beautician with Estée Lauder and gave out great advice “and when no one was talking about SPF, she always said ‘mind your skin, Miriam’.

“When I get home from Prime Time, I take off my make-up every night and cleanse my skin with a Micellar water and wet cotton wool. I do mind my skin – I buy a good face cream. And I always have make-up in my bag. I am a TV presenter, so sometimes you don’t know where you are going to go and if you are away, you don’t get a make-up artist, so I take everything with me,” said Miriam. Her favourite fragrance is Jo Malone London’s Lime Basil & Mandarin and she carries a small 50ml bottle in her handbag.

When asked what her mum taught her about inner and outer beauty, Miriam’s response is immediate: “It was to be kind to other people. I try to practice that and if you are good to people, it comes back to you in spades.” It’s a life lesson Miriam has passed on to her own four daughters who are aged between 25-32, while her four sons run in ages from 13-21.

Another piece of motherly advice Miriam lives by is “don’t sweat it, and if you smile, you will look better”. That’s why, in our quick fire questions, Miriam’s best beauty tip is “to smile” and her desert island product would be “a cream with an SPF”. As she ages into her mid-50s, Miriam says her beauty regime hasn’t changed all that much over the years. She reckons her best feature is her eyes so she always wears liner and she likes individual lashes which she can apply herself. “I still like the ol’ mascara and brown eyeshadow and I’m pretty loyal to the products I’ve liked, like Lancôme and Clarins. I would use MAC foundation myself for TV.”

She is very comfortable about going make-up free. “Because I have to wear make-up for TV and many shoots, when I get a down moment, I try not to wear it and I’ll wear an SPF with a bit of colour,” explains the busy broadcaster whose counterbalance to all that Brexit talk on the radio during her morning commute is “to blast music”. “I listen to Celine Dion but I always love listening to people like Van the Man, Paul Brady and people like that.”

What difference has motherhood made to Miriam?

“It’s everything. I feel very lucky to be a mum because I am conscious that some people in life want to be mums and it did not work out. At one stage, I couldn’t get pregnant, so I’m always conscious of that. I was lucky enough to have children and, for me, that’s everything.

“People talk about my career, but at the end of the day, I’d like my epitaph to be ‘she was a good mother’.”

And what has Miriam learned about herself being a mum to eight?

“That I haven’t really changed and I am the same mother with my youngest boy as I was with my eldest girl.”

For the shoot, Miriam wore Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter, Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder; Tom Ford the Ultimate Bronzer in Bronze Age; MAC Powder Blush in Pinch O’ Peach, Extra Dimension Skin Finish in Double Gleam; Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerise Eyeshadow in Bette; Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad in Cocoa Mirage; Chanel Mascara Le Volume; MAC Lip Liner in Dervish; Tom Ford Lip Colour in Spanish Pink, Tom Ford Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in Peach.

Louise Duffy

Louise Duffy and her mum Martina Duffy


Radio presenter at Today FM, Louise is pictured with her mother, Martina Duffy

Louise Duffy’s earliest beauty memory growing up in Mayo dates back to her early childhood: “I remember my mum letting me wear a little lipstick and blusher on my Communion day. It was barely noticeable, in fact she probably didn’t put any on at all, but the ritual of getting dressed up and made up delighted me.”

Turning back the clock in a welcome moment of nostalgia, Louise recalls how her mum always used Calvin Klein Eternity perfume when she was a girl. “I bought a bottle of it in a Duty Free recently just because it reminded me so much of my childhood. Now my mum wears Hermes’ Eau de Marvelleux, but it’s just as comforting a scent. Esmé always smells of it when she’s been with mum for a couple of hours.”

Baby Esmé was born last summer to Louise and her husband, Paul Galvin, the ex-Kerry GAA player turned creative director of his own fashion brand at Dunnes Stores. Before motherhood arrived, Louise admits: “I had a very blazé notion that Esmé would come along and fit neatly into our lives. But having a baby turns everything upside down. We’re living in her world now, and we wouldn’t change a thing.”

It is eight months since her daughter arrived and Louise says: “I worry about the pressure Esmé will face as she grows up. Right now, she is at that lovely age where she is utterly delighted with her own reflection. She has yet to meet a mirror that doesn’t make her laugh. I want to make sure she is always so happy with what she sees.

“My beauty inspiration is my gorgeous mum. She didn’t follow beauty bloggers on Instagram or have the time to get facials every other week – she just cleansed and moisturised twice a day and wore spf daily, and she looks amazing.” Turning the clocks forward then, what practical things does Louise plan to teach her daughter about cosmetics and make-up? “Exactly what my mum taught me – keep it as natural as possible. Accentuate what you have as opposed to creating something you don’t.”

Beauty regimes change as we age and Louise says she “definitely focuses more on skincare as opposed to make-up now. I try to keep it very simple with some good quality products. I’ve used Lancôme cleanser and Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair for about 15 years and, more recently, I’ve started using Creme De La Mer moisturiser. I find the better I look after my skin, the less make-up I need”.

Would she go make-up free or does she need to have her ‘face’ on? “I’m happy somewhere in the middle. I’m quite low maintenance; usually I just wear concealer, bronzer and some mascara day to day.”

What’s her best beauty tip? “Look after your skin from within. Eat well and drink lots of water. My desert island product would definitely be SPF50 and I develop really ridiculous pigmentation if I go without.”

Louise says mum Martina gave her sound beauty advice over the years: “Keep it as natural as possible, don’t colour your hair until you absolutely have to and leave your eyebrows alone. I wish I’d listened to that last one!”

Georgie Crawford

Georgie and her mum Siobhan Richardson


98FM’s Big Breakfast news anchor is pictured with her mum, Siobhan Richardson

Georgie Crawford’s earliest beauty memory of her mum, Siobhan, is of her doing her hair in the mornings. “I’d lie in bed and watch her and just feel so happy and content inside. My mum is stunningly beautiful and always has been. She always had a bottle of Wella Silvikrin hairspray in her bag and a lipstick. My mum was proper 1980s glam: big hair, loads of eyeliner and cool outfits. My mum always looks her best and puts me to shame half the time. I’m much more casual. When she’s going out, she looks a million dollars, but it’s her smile that is her best accessory. She brings so much joy to all of our lives.”

What did Siobhan teach Georgie about inner and outer beauty? “My mum is very kind and will go above and beyond for everyone she meets. I was taught good manners from a very young age, to have respect for people and to always be kind. I’m from a very sociable family and I would literally talk to anyone now, any place, anywhere. It’s been the greatest gift.

“I want to teach my little girl, Pia, that true beauty comes from the inside. I started a podcast called The Good Glow because, as I was recovering from cancer, people told me I was glowing. I’d been eating well and exercising for a year and was really feeling the benefits. But being content and happy shines through too. I want Pia to be happy in herself, to be grateful and kind. That’s what true beauty is about.

“My daughter is only two and is already experimenting with my make-up and wearing my shoes around the house. I’ll let her be herself and look how she wants to. She’s so beautiful, I feel like she won’t need make-up, but I suppose I’ll let her choose her path.”

Georgie acknowledges that her own beauty routine has changed as she has aged. “I take more time for me, especially since I was sick. During chemotherapy, I had a lot of spare time. I’d take time to apply moisturiser, masks and really looked after my skin. It’s amazing how much spare time you have when you don’t have any hair! Self care is a big part of my life. Drinking two litres of water a day is part of my beauty regime, as is eating raw vegetables. I suppose with age I’ve discovered that it’s just as important to look after your insides as it is to apply creams and make-up.

“Since my skin improved after cancer and I got my brows done with Kim O’Sullivan from the Dublin Make-up Academy (Kim is now also located in the BT Beauty Lounge), I have more confidence going make-up free, but I would rather have a little bit on. Even if it’s some concealer and mascara. It makes me feel like me.”

When it comes to beauty inspiration, Georgia points to Yolanda Hadid. “After she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, she went back to basics and just looks radiant.”

Georgie’s best beauty tip is sleep! “I look so much better after a good night’s sleep. Resting can be challenging for me as I like to be busy and have a million things on my ‘to do’ list. But I’m learning how to meditate and take me time, and some nights, I’m in bed before 9pm. I’m still recovering every day – I don’t want to take anything for granted. I value my life so much more now and resting is key. And beauty sleep works.”

On the eve of her second Mother’s Day, Georgie acknowledges: “Motherhood has been the making of me. I love children and felt so incredibly lucky when I gave birth to Pia. The bond was instant and it was hard to imagine what we ever did without her. She is the light of my life. I got very sick with cancer when she was seven months old, but she got me through the tough days. She was my guiding light. She gave me a purpose to get out of bed every day and face the cancer with positivity and hope in my heart. My own mum is my best friend and I wanted Pia to have all those amazing moments that I had growing up. I want to be there for her first day at school, her wedding day and especially those days when she may be feeling a little sad or lonely. I want to be there for her every step of the way, giving her all the love that my mum showed me.”

For the shoot, Georgie wore MAC Strobe Cream; NARS Sheer Glow Foundation; Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder; MAC Powder Blush in Peaches; Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, Legendary Brows Super Model; Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Taupe; Bobbi Brown Ulla Johnson Minou Eye Shadow Palette; MAC Eye Liner in Costa Rica; Dior Mascara Diorshow; Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Hot Gossip; Tom Ford Lip Colour in Bare Peach.

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