Model Thalia Heffernan: ‘Rugs and I don’t get on. I tend to fall over them’

The 22-year-old, one of Ireland’s top models, on calming colours and her love of John Rocha

Thalia Heffernan at home in Stoneybatter with her dog Leonard. Photograph: Alan Betson

Thalia Heffernan at home in Stoneybatter with her dog Leonard. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Dubliner Thalia Heffernan (22), one of Ireland’s top models, was discovered by Morgan the Agency at the age of 15 and quickly established a thriving career. She has modelled for, among others, Simone Rocha, Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Avoca, Forever 21 and Louise Kennedy in campaigns, shoots and shows and internationally in the UK, Australia, New York and Germany.

She is a regular on the covers of leading Irish magazines and has a growing social-media following, with more than 40,000 followers on Instagram and more than 4,000 on Twitter. In January she took part in the TV show Dancing with the Stars and is combining her modelling career this year with occasional work as a freelance reporter for Xposé. She lives in Stoneybatter.

Describe your interiors style

It’s quite casual, as I have come from a bigger house to a smaller space, so I have to compartmentalise more. You could describe it as bohemian, perhaps. I love shades of blue and grey, because they are so calming. My bedroom is painted in shades of blue and grey, and I like to have pictures of my family around me.

A porcelain skull of a ram’s head, which Heffernan hand-painted. Photograph: Alan Betson
A porcelain skull of a ram’s head, which Heffernan hand-painted. Photograph: Alan Betson

What is your favourite room?

I would have to say my bedroom, because I have lived in so many places and because you spend so much of your time there, it becomes your personal space and safe haven. But as I love to cook, my kitchen is also a favourite space, and I love my mum’s kitchen; it’s the main meeting place for family and friends, and I think the best conversations are with food, so I am carrying on her tradition.

What items do you love most?

I have a few little things that I love. One is a beautiful vintage brass plate that I bought in Melbourne, and another a porcelain skull of a ram’s head, which I hand-painted. I like to keep things that are authentic and one of a kind. Pictures are so important to me, and I have one of me and my dad when I was young that I treasure and others with some of my best friends. I don’t have any work photographs in my bedroom – we don’t take work home. They are all collected in boxes somewhere.

Who is your favourite designer?

It would have to be John Rocha. I have grown up with John, who is a friend of my parents, so he became a great part of my life and I did work experience in fourth year with him and walked in London Fashion Week for him. His pieces are not only meaningful in that way but because he is such a spectacular designer with a good knowledge of the female form. I have a few pieces of his – he made me a silk scarf when I was born, which is so special that my mum has now locked it away, and it will make an appearance at my wedding whenever. I also have a hand appliquéd white dress that he gave me after a show in London.

The vintage brass plate Heffernan bought in Melbourne. Photograph: Alan Betson
The vintage brass plate Heffernan bought in Melbourne. Photograph: Alan Betson

Which artists do you admire?

I quite like dark gothic art and the work of Tim Burton who is an artist, film director, photographer, poet and illustrator. I grew up with Louis le Brocquy because my parents have a few pieces of his work and I adore his work.

Biggest interior turn-off?

I don’t like rugs on top of carpets, maybe because the two textures often clash. Rugs and I don’t get on generally, because I am quite clumsy and I tend to fall over the edges of carpets and even more frequently when there is a rug on top of the carpet. Old wood is beautiful and I hate when it is covered.

Photograph: Alan Betson
Photograph: Alan Betson

Travel destination that stands out?

It is forever Morocco, where I first went when I was about four and will always remember the colours and smells. I take a bit of Morocco into my own interior with a tapestry from there with a mandala print, which travels around with me and lives in different places.

If you had €100,000 to spend on anything for the house, what would that be?

I would love a good garden, and to extend the kitchen into the garden with quite a lot of glass so that I could see out of the kitchen into the garden no matter the weather.

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