‘When I was studying for my Leaving, I left things until the last minute’
Alice Marr, waitress at The Gibson Hotel and star of First Dates Ireland
Alice Marr: ‘What advice for young people picking up the results? Try to have some trust that what was meant to be, will be.’
“When I was studying for my Leaving, I left things until the last minute. I ended up doing all-nighters of cramming before the exams, fuelled by tea and biscuits and taking gambles on which areas to focus on.
I had planned to do a practical course with relatively low points but, two weeks before the exams, I learned I had been accepted to study drama at Trinity – provided that I got 515 points. This surprised me as I hadn’t got into DIT from my audition.
On the day of the results, I swung from confident to nervous over the same morning. I had managed to disassociate myself from the impending results in the lead-up, but then I spent the morning refreshing the page and waiting for the results. My relaxed attitude vanished – mild panic had taken its place.
I had pinned all my hopes on Trinity and would have been really thrown if I didn’t get in. I’d done drama classes since childhood and I loved performing in plays, particularly when I won the role of Elsa Schraeder, the rich glamorous widow from The Sound of Music, in our transition year musical.
‘I was lucky’
I did make it in. I got my first choice. I was lucky because the points had dropped down enough for me.
I’m not a planner. My late teens and early 20s were about surviving the present moment, rather than planning for the future. I was approached at the cocktail bar I was working in and asked to go for an interview to work as a waitress on First Dates. Reality TV can be touch-and-go but I was pleasantly surprised at how thoughtful and considerate First Dates is in its depiction of Irish singletons. The hilarity and cringe moments don’t come at the expense of the participants.
I’m currently travelling through south-east Asia and India, studying yoga and drinking chai in the mountains of Dharamshala. Back in Ireland, I’ll do area coordination at a spiritual festival in Tipperary, then film season five of First Dates. I hope to combine yoga teaching with performing.
What advice for young people picking up the results? Try to have some trust that what was meant to be, will be. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted but, with the gift of hindsight, I’d probably take a year out before college, and may not have chosen the course I did.”