A Woman Trans­formed


The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FRONT PAGE -

M ade­line Mulqueen is scoff­ing a bar of choco­late when we meet in the Mer­rion Ho­tel, Dublin. The dark­haired Lim­er­ick model, dressed ca­su­ally in jeans, stands up and re­veals a sl im and toned fig­ure. She’s launch­ing a Three mo­bile cam­paign to­day and h a pho­to­shoot.

Smaller in height than you’d ex­pect for a model she’s all well groomed hair and glow­ing skin. She holds her hand over her mouth be­fore ex­tend­ing it: ‘Oh I’m sorry, you’ve just caught me tuck­ing into a bar of choco­late and it’s not even lunchtime,’ she gig­gles apolo­get­i­cally, re­veal­ing one of those non­de­script mod­ern Ir­ish ac­cents that could be from al­most any­where in the coun­try, and a con­fi­dent man­ner far be­yond her 23 years.

In the quiet lounge of the Mer­rion, heads turn. Who is this über con­fi­dent chick with the ready laugh and the man­i­cured nails? You will prob­a­bly recog­nise her as the brides­maid in the Rub­ber­ban­dits video or from RTÉ com­edy show The Repub­lic of Telly. But most likely you’ve seen her in the news­pa­pers on the arm of her boyfriend, and now fi­ancé, Ir­ish-Amer­i­can ac­tor and up and com­ing Hol­ly­wood star Jack Reynor — of Transformers fame (see page eight) who lives in Dublin.

The cou­ple have been to­gether for al­most two years, first com­ing into con­tact on Twit­ter. ‘We were chat­ting back and forth ran­domly but there was no flir­ta­tion,’ ex­plains Made­line. ‘We even­tu­ally met up when he was home and it was like two friends meet­ing. It all went from there…’

Glam­orous and with a full-on sense of hu­mour, Made­line has made a name for her­self in the Ir­ish show­biz world with­out the help of Jack. But then that was al­ways her in­ten­tion.

Grow­ing up near Adare, Co. Lim­er­ick, she at­tended stage school ( Ex­pres­sive Arts Stage School) from an early age. ‘I lived next door to my cousin Holly who is the same age,’ she ex­plains. ‘We used to spend our time dancing and mak­ing up songs when we were younger.’

While her cousin took to the stage and is now liv­ing in Lon­don, Made­line be­came a model. It was a school fash­ion show which first gave her a taste of the cat­walk. ‘I was com­pletely bit­ten by the mod­el­ing bug af­ter that. I joined Fiona Doyle’s mod­el­ing agency in Lim­er­ick so I was work­ing as a model when I was still at school.’

It was the Rub­ber­ban­dits video, re­leased in 2010 for the song Horse Out­side, in which she played a sul­try brides­maid that re­ally got her no­ticed how­ever. And yet, she says, it came about by chance.

‘I’m friends with ev­ery­one in the video – we all hang out to­gether in Lim­er­ick. The lads [The Rub­ber­ban­dits, the hip hop duo who wear plas­tic bags over their heads and pre­fer to re­main anony­mous] are very funny and ex­tremely clever. I re­mem­ber one of them rang me a day or two be­fore the shoot. “We need a brides­maid for a day. Will you do it?” she says, im­i­tat­ing a thick Lim­er­ick ac­cent. ‘I didn’t know what it was about, but I agreed. When I got there and it was all cam­eras and lights and I was like, “Wait a sec­ond, what is all this?”’

Lit­tle did she know that the video and the song to ac­com­pany it would be the talk of the na­tion.

‘It was on the set too that she was first in­tro- duced to the di­rec­tor Peter Foot of Repub­lic of Telly. This later lead to a col­lab­o­ra­tion on the TV show with the pro­ducer James Cot­tor.

‘I re­mem­ber meet­ing James for the first time and he said, “I think you’re re­ally funny. Would you like to do stuff on the show?” she re­calls. ‘I jumped at the chance. It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and it re­ally helped my con­fi­dence, too. I mean when some­one says, “You’re a bit of craic and you don’t take yourself too se­ri­ously. It’s such a com­pli­ment.’ But surely she doesn’t lack con­fi­dence? ‘No, I don’t,’ she says mat­ter of factly. ‘I think be­cause my par­ents have been a great sup­port. My Dad’s an en­gi­neer and my mother a make- up artist who also works in re­tail. They have al­ways

My par­ents guided me, but let me be in­de­pen­dent, too

guided me and ad­vised me, but they’ve let me be in­de­pen­dent, too.’

How­ever she re­calls the first time she moved to Dublin and the lack of con­fi­dence she felt at the time. ‘When I first moved here three years ago I was a like a lost kid in Tesco — ev­ery­thing just seemed so big and ex­treme. Now I look back and re­alise that I’ve grown up. I’m a lot more com­fort­able in my­self than I used to be.’

Part of that con­fi­dence surely comes from her re­la­tion­ship with Jack Reynor.

‘He’s a great guy,’ says Made­line a lit­tle shyly for the first time. ‘He’s re­ally grounded, he treats ev­ery­one in the same way. He’s just so gen­uine,’ her voice trails off and she laughs. ‘I won’t say any more in case he gets a big head.’

She says it helps that they’re both in the same in­dus­try. We have in­de­pen­dent ca­reers, but we sup­port each other too and we un­der­stand that we need to be flex­i­ble about see­ing each other.’

It was be­cause of their re­la­tion­ship that Made­line spent much of this year tour­ing with the set of the fourth Transformers movie — Trans-

for­m­ers Age of Distinc­tion, in far flung des­ti­na­tions. She loved ev­ery mo­ment of it.

‘It was amaz­ing,’ she says ‘I got to visit so many places — LA, Hong Kong, Detroit. Detroit was mad,’ she grins. ‘ Can you be­lieve they trans­formed the cen­tre of Detroit into Hong Kong just for the film set? It was just amaz­ing and we were there for three whole months.’

She points out that the fur­thest she’d ever been be­fore that was Spain on a pack­age hol­i­day with her friends.

‘ Trav­el­ling was never some­thing I’d thought of do­ing unt il I met Jack, I sup­pose be­cause I’d moved to Dublin and was fo­cused on work­ing here,’ she ex­plains. ‘But he en­cour­aged me to do it and I thought, “why not?”.

‘I was only 21 at the time and people for­get that half my friends were just fin­ish­ing col­lege and go­ing on J1s for the sum­mer.’

But the ex­pe­ri­ence, she says, has changed her for the bet­ter. ‘I find that I ap­pre­ci­ate Ire­land much more now. I love com­ing back here de­spite the rain, and I never want to leave it again for more than a few months at a time.’

Al­though the model is re­turn­ing to LA in a cou­ple of weeks to ac­com­pany her fi­ancé on the Transformers pub­lic­ity tour, she says she and Jack have no plans to move there per­ma­nently. And they have no im­me­di­ate plans to marry ei­ther.

‘We don’t know what the fu­ture holds right now for both of us,’ says Made­line. ‘Be­sides we’re very laid back. I’d be happy to get mar­ried to­mor­row on a beach in Salthill in Galway or some­where ran­dom like that,’ she laughs.

And de­spite spend­ing months on film sets in the last year, she says she has no de­sire to act her­self. ‘I’ll leave it up to Jack,’ she smiles. ‘What he does it amaz­ing, but it’s very in­tense and it in­volves long hours.

‘If I was to do it, I would have to be 100 per cent com­mit­ted to it. I would never take on a role sim­ply for the chance to be in a movie.’

She’s the first to ad­mit that her life has changed dras­ti­cally in the last three years, so how does she han­dle all this trans­for­ma­tion?

‘I think you just have to dive into things and even­tu­ally find your feet,’ she says. ‘And be aware too that if things go wrong, there’s al­ways some­thing else you can do. I al­ways say, it doesn’t hap­pen to you, it hap­pens for you and that’s be­come my motto.’

Plau­dits: Made­line with Jack at

the IF­TAs af­ter party

this year

Chicago: The cou­ple with Frasier’s Kelsey Gram­mer

Wild child: Made­line par­ties with Bono and the Edge and, far right, Made­line as the wild brides­maid in Horse Out­side with The Rub­ber­ban­dits

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