I was born on a cold Friday morning, on the 5th of March 1982. I came into this world under ill health and I was rushed to the hospital in Ennis where I underwent care for several weeks supported by an incubator. Tiny, and barely able to fit into the palm of a hand, I was a far cry from the 6ft 3′ broad frame I hold today, on my 36th year of living on this planet. I was so small that the nurses nicknamed me “Tiny Tim” and the name stuck, so my parents named me Timmy. They claimed St Padre Pio brought me through my illness to good health and left a Padre Pio medal by my side.

The also gave me the middle name of Patrick Pio, Patrick after my father and Pio the very saint who was by my side the entire time. I recovered quickly and grew into a small boy who played on the roads and built bonfires and even kissed a girl or two, just like every other kid in the 80s. Sickness was never an issue again. My mother told me this story growing up. I had always felt protected, watched and under healing eyes.

   

Growing up, I never forgot to pray. It was my comfort. A prayer every night and sometimes in the morning. It was something close to my heart. I felt replenished after praying. I felt like someone, God perhaps had listened to me, and my dreams and requests were slowing coming true. It was my quiet time. Blissfully unaware that much of my prayers were aimed at asking for things, mostly material but other times my requests were to keep my grandparents alive when their health was failing. As I watched them slowly leave the earth I knew my prayers had not been answered. I always had an interest in the higher ground and what was above us or even below us or who was listening to us.

I had a spiritual awakening at the age of 28 when I heard my guardian angel speak to me. He didn’t say much, just his name. I knew nothing about angels. All I knew about was St.Padre Pio who was with me when I was a baby but I had always sensed someone next to me. One night, I asked for the name of my angel, I felt in tune, I felt like I knew an answer was coming and that answer would be correct and rightly so. I heard a mans voice, extremely powerful commanding voice simply said “Michael”. When I opened my eyes I saw a bright flash of light in front of me in the dark room. I wasn’t scared, I just knew this was my guardian angel.

 

I spent years reading about angels and Michael himself. He is one of the highest Archangels. He is a strong, powerful commanding angel who guards a lot of men. I never heard him speak again but always felt him around me. As I became successful in my career and became a true leader of some sorts, it was him who was pushing me way out into the foreground. At times, when I would feel weak or scared, I would call on him to be next to me and I would feel an overpowering sense of confidence and self-esteem. Prayers soon turned to gratitude as life went by and slowly I began to thank God and Michael for what I had in my life rather than the things I needed.

  

I have never practised reiki or mindfulness and I rarely meditate, but what I always do, still to this day, is visit the church and have my own time with my angels. I now believe I have three angels around me, Michael, Apollo and Sarah. They are my guides. Along with them and family members who have passed on, I have a wealth of people to call upon during times of fear. Regardless of society’s relationship with the church, it will always be my safe haven.

My favourite church to visit is St.Pauls Cathedral in London. It touches my soul like nowhere else. I instantly feel refreshed and renewed everytime I visit there. Down through the years, I have drawn a lot of healers into my life, all of which I believe have been sent to me for a purpose. Sometimes I smile when I meet someone who I know has healing abilities as I know that this is my angel’s way of telling me that this person is here with me for a reason.

Although angels are all around us, I believe we see them in the physical form too. I believe some public figures have angelic qualities and talents given to them from above as a message to us that they exist. Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe are all huge icons of mine. I believe they all possess something angelic within them. Michael Jackson had a talent in him so great that it became almost unhuman and even at the age of 6, he had commanded the attention of the world. Whitney Houston had a voice never heard of before. She had a talent so heavenly, the world watched as she too, became almost unhuman with her voice that it would send people into another world. Princess Diana, I believe touched the heart of the world with her kindness and angelic ways. David Bowie, a master of transformation and art, gripped the world with his at times almost unhuman-like physical appearance, including his transfixing eyes, one blue and one brown, and finally, Marilyn Monroe.

I was 15 when I first saw Marilyn in “Some like it hot”. I was transfixed. She was so unique, so original yet so vulnerable behind her smile and platinum blonde hair. All of these Icons have had tragic lives and untold unhappiness yet the world followed their every move. With the exception of Bowie, all have died young and all have died tragically. They are a reminder that good exists and that their time on earth was never meant to be long, but effective, and we will never see the likes of them all again. Marilyn Monroe’s last ever photo shoot entitled “The last sitting” by Bert stern stands today as being one of the mosy striking, powerful and angelic collection of pictures the world has ever seen, and she will go down in history as a reminder that the world can be a cruel place to good people.

  

My motto in life is “I don’t lose, I either win or I learn”. At the moment, I am winning. I have learned many many times! I believe the angels can protect us but they can’t tell us what to do, that’s our power. It saddens me when people tell me they don’t believe in an afterlife or the power of angels as they are missing out on so much. With angels, you are never alone.

The point I’m trying to make is that we are all born with an angel to watch over us. Mine was in the hospital that cold Friday morning in 1982 and he still stands beside me even as I write this, I can feel him smiling down on me. No matter how alone or sad you might feel, just close your eyes and ask your angel for help. You never know what can happen. Your dreams might even one day come true!

 

T  x

 

 

 

“When you love what you have, you have everything you need”

A well know quote from a well-known Pinterest page! Don’t ask me the author or even when it was written however it’s a quote that’s stuck into my mind the past year or so. I used to say this to myself religiously every morning as I would wake up and every evening before going to sleep but I’m not sure who I was trying to fool. I had conditioned myself into believing that what I had in my life was good, healthy and successful. Love what you have Timmie, there are so many out there who would give anything for a fraction of what I have in my life! Of course, that’s true, but did I REALLY love what I had?

Like everyone, I glided my way through my twenties full of hope and promise and ambition but with very little maturity. One minute I wanted to be a television presenter, the next minute I wanted to become an actor, then it was a dream to get married then I just simply wanted to be famous. All these ideas of myself I tried to create into who I was without actually knowing who I was myself. I guess that’s youth. I went from job to job and although putting a great deal of energy into each career, I was never truly 100% focused. I always thought..What if! What if I stay here in this place for more than one year, will I be missing out? What if I stay with this person any longer, will I miss my place with someone else? What if what if what if! The what ifs were killing me when I should have just faced to myself and asked, what if you find out who you really are? What if you find something that brings a passion out in you instead of just going from pillar to post and with no end objective?

I had come out as gay to a very welcoming and open family so there was never an issue with acceptance. I never had the bad story to tell. I was never bullied. I was never picked on. I was never made feel different, I was always quite popular. I was one of the lucky ones. I had even gone public and came out to a local newspaper by doing an interview in a bid to help others and I went onto compete in Mr Gay Ireland. Coming out was never an issue for me. Where the issue lied, was where I was going in life and who was I going to spend my life with.

The sad thing about society is that we are made believe that unless you find a partner, buy a house and have children, you have never really made it, despite how successful you are. I began to realise this in my thirties and more so the past two years. I desperately looked for someone, I tried everything, I even tried going on TV on a dating show to disastrous results! I needed someone to tell me who I was, I desperately sought out validation from men. I watched my close friends walk up the aisle and have children and although happy for them, I was hurting inside. I was hurting because they had what I always wanted. They now had peace, acceptance and a happy ending. My happy ending seemed so far off. I was paying high rent, no savings, still going out every weekend and knocking the door down on every opportunity that would come my way to give me some sort of validation, even though I hadn’t a clue what that was. It was all just one big show and I was the main star. I always knew my friends loved me at parties and on nights out as I was always the centre of attention, the funny one, the one everyone loved but deep down I just wanted what they wanted. I always had a natural style about myself, however, dressing over the top or as little possible around men for attention seemed to be the route I was rapidly going down.

Men came and went through my life but many didn’t stick around for long. I was beginning to feel that whenever I met a friend, the focus of the conversation was my love life. One man did break my heart in two as I had felt that this was possibly my happy ending but it was not meant to be and looking back, I was selfish putting that pressure on someone. That’s when it all clicked! I needed to make my OWN happiness. I was working in an excellent job that I loved and modelling was really beginning to take off for me. My married friends had their own focus now and everyone around me was settling down. It was my responsibility to find my own happiness and stop following other people’s paths. It was time to drop the bravado and be a real man.

At this stage, I was drinking heavily. I was living alone and although completely refusing to believe that I was lonely and in the middle of a toxic environment, I drank my thoughts away. When I was drunk, I didn’t have to think about all those around me who had found their happy endings. I had scared myself briefly in my twenties with alcohol drinking excessively and sought help but never fully followed through as I put this down to just being young and stupid, I also didn’t want to give up drink as I didn’t want to take myself out of my social circle, heaven forbid that I was going to be alone in my thoughts for once! My life had gotten somewhat out of control in the last year as my modelling work began to flood through. I said yes to everything. This I don’t regret, it got me to where I am today. I needed to break my back to get in the door and it had worked. I was signed with an agency in Dublin and in Cork within 6 months of really focussing on my modelling career, I had produced work that some models would take years to make. It was all just flying for me. There was also great success in my day job and I was running one of the top beauty stores on Grafton Street that was achieving regular awards and recognition. I seemed to have it all. Everything except what I wanted! Happiness.

It didn’t take long to realise that I was surrounded by fake people. As my senses grew, so did my art for seeing through people. Finally, my clouded vision through life was becoming clear. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to move home. I needed to break away from all the madness that was swirling around me. When we had the big snow in March, I felt incredibly alone. I was back single and trapped in my apartment but completely cut off from the outside world or so I told myself, I just didn’t have anyone to share the silence with. Things had to change. I injured myself badly around this time when I was drunk and I then went to work in London for a few months. This period was all just a haze as I worked and struggled to heal my body and also took on regular modelling work. I was completely and utterly exhausted through every bone of my body.

I moved out of Dublin in September and returned to Clare. It has been the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I finally found happiness with a circle of genuine people around me. I was terrified when I moved. I hadn’t lived at home in over 15 years but my experiences living away and trying to make something of myself have all opened my eyes to what truly matters and that’s being with family and being happy inside. None of us need someone else to validate us or to give us a happy ending, you are your own happy ending! I’m not working at the minute as I needed time to heal and be with my own thoughts and figure out where I’m going. I will return to the workplace very soon. I honestly feel like I’ve started my life over again. I’m back living with my mother, something I would have never been able to do when I was younger as I was still searching and creating myself. I feel I have come full circle and being around places and people I grew up with is incredibly refreshing. I smile every day at the people of Clare when I see their warmth and friendliness towards one another and towards me. It feels almost like everyone here has found what they’re looking for.

Never ever be afraid of going back to where you once started, your wealth of knowledge and life experiences will allow you to view the once small places into a huge door that’s opening in a new direction (and no I did not get that one of Pinterest!)

There is a direction for everyone once you see the path in front of you

T

So it’s been a great and productive summer but most of all I’ve been able to relax and work on projects at the same time. Early summer, I shot with photographer Gavin Coughlan in my native County Clare. A wedding shoot with the very beautiful Co Clare model Kate Mc Glennon. Of course one of the best menswear in the county, Patrick Bourkes supplied my suit on the day. I was actually suffering from a very bad and painful broken ankle and had been out of work on rest period but once I commit to a job, I’ll be there broken bones or not! Gavin was such a great photographer that he was so understanding, it just meant throwing the crutch aside and getting the shot done! I also couldn’t lift Kate in the traditional husband and wife shot but hey, it’s make-believe.  In the end, no one could tell and the shots looked amazing, it’s always such a treat to shoot in my home county…..

Two days later, I was down to Cork to model at the Douglas fashion event with Brendan Courtney for Lockdown models. I was completely ignoring the pain in my ankle and just soldiering on through. The buzz and atmosphere of modelling live can oversee anything and even with the early start in the hair salon, Leonards in Douglas, I took the opportunity to relax. I modelled that day for TXmax, Haywards menswear and Tesco clothing all in three separate quick fashion shows in the shopping centre presented by Brendan and fellow lockdown model, Shiv Hayes. It was a busy Saturday afternoon in the Douglas Shopping Centre with plenty of onlookers and audience adding to the atmosphere and buzz of it all. Some pictures for the local press and then it was home time!

The following week, I went to London for almost a month with the day job but I had been booked for the advertising video for the Imperial Hotel in Cork halfway through my work trip, so I made a quick dash home for the two-day shoot. I loved working on this, mostly because my fellow model and on-screen wife, Cork model Paula Price was such a joy to work with. We were playing a couple staying in the beautiful city centre hotel, arriving in a flashy BMW, champagne in the bar, dinner in the restaurant and relaxing in the Imperial penthouse suite. Modelling for the camera is a totally different game, to me, it’s more acting than modelling even though you need to be that character and show the brand to its best potential. Takes are long and days are drawn out but it was so much fun and I had a great crew to work with. We must have retaken the dinner scene in the restaurant about 50 times and my cheeks were sore from smiling! In the end, the video looked amazing!

A quick dash back to London to see out my work trip but there was no rest for the wicked and the day I flew back, I was off to Ardgillan Castle to shoot for Irish designer, Carina Cunningham for Cherie Styling Studio. This shoot was manic! I had modelled twice before for Carina so I was familiar with her quirky designs with a gothic spin. The castle was taken over with models, photographers, make-up artists and hairdressers. Many of the models, I had worked with before during Top Model Ireland and it was lovely to see them go on with their careers after the contest, which was way back in January. Many of the photographers there I had also worked with in the past, some lovely familiar faces like Grant Mc Donald and Des O Neill, both, always a pleasure to shoot with. The day was hot and clammy and with almost 30+ photographers all trying to get the shot, it was massively busy but all this just adds to the buzz of the modelling world.

In August, I had the pleasure to work with a team of American photographers who came to Ireland to shoot Irish models in various locations around the country. Kelly Scheinder, the chief director had contacted me via online, a year previous enquiring if I would shoot with them, I loved the idea. I get contacted by a lot by photographers to shoot with them however, I’m incredibly picky. I know where there are gaps in my portfolio and if a photographer has an idea that excites me or fills this gap, I’ll work with them and Kelly’s images looked amazing. He shoots fine conceptual art images, nothing I had done before and he was bringing with him a team of photographers so this was a unique opportunity to shoot with some photographers I had never met before. Different styles and ways of shooting excites me. Anyone can model, it’s the craft of a good photographer that makes them a good model! These guys were fantastic and a pleasure to work with. We shot two full days, day one in Hore Abbey in Cashel and day two in St Stephens Green until we were removed by the park police for creating the hype! It was a real “pinch me” moment as a full crew of photographers armed with the best equipment shot me in various spots and positions, it was also great to shoot with fellow top model Ireland models, Noel Gannon and Alan Gorman.

As summer closed, I teamed up with Top Model Ireland boss, Audrey O Neill and headed down to Cork to film Cork Live. A Facebook TV channel that goes live to its audience every Monday. Audrey was on to talk about Top Model Ireland plans for next year. I’m honoured to announce that I am the male model coach and trainer this year for aspiring models. It’s all kept very under wraps at the minute, however, an announcement is coming soon so keep tuned!

I’ve just finished a shoot with the talented Rob Laird, who, I’ve wanted to shoot with for months. His work is fantastic and has always interested me. He shoots in Gels which adds beautiful light to the picture, I’ve had some pictures back and they are on a whole different level. It’s so important as a model, to keep going up that level and keeping it fresh and cool and interesting. I feel Rob certainly did that. Of course, it’s not always work with me and on that day I was on the way to Cork to celebrate Cork Pride with my buddies and switch off model mode, which I certainly did! It was a short shoot done in under an hour and one of my favourite shoots this whole year.

This week, I did a quick advertising shoot for Jameson Whiskey which will be aired in Germany. It was shot at the Big Grill Festival in Dublin. It was a lot of fun but drinking whiskey at 10 am was a hard call believe me! When I left the shoot at lunchtime, the extras were getting louder with the free drink all morning! A lot of fun was had and will air in Germany over the coming months