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NI Apprentice hopeful Grainne: Nerves kept me quiet in the first episode, but you'll soon hear me roar

By Ann W Schmidt

Published 08/10/2016

Apprentice candidate Grainne McCoy
Apprentice candidate Grainne McCoy
Grainne (right) with other contestants in The Apprentice
Apprentice candidate Grainne McCoy

She may have been quiet on the first episode of The Apprentice, but Northern Ireland's Grainne McCoy has said her true, more talkative self will be seen on television in future episodes.

"This very open-minded, opinionated woman will be coming out very soon," the 31-year-old from Newry told the Belfast Telegraph.

Grainne owns a make-up studio and specialises in film and television jobs.

She travels back and forth between Northern Ireland and London for work and has worked on five feature films to date.

Her latest big thing is starring on the 12th series of the BBC reality television show The Apprentice, the first episode of which aired on Thursday.

The instalment saw Grainne keep a low profile, which she attributed to nerves.

"I do believe that me being quiet in week one was just me being terrified," she said.

"It wasn't strategy at all, it was just human nerves. I know after that I got comfortable around everyone and then you'll start seeing the real me."

Grainne, who is familiar with working off-camera on production sets, took some time getting used to being on-camera.

"It was a bit surreal because I had somebody looking at my make-up or somebody holding my bag," she said. "It was strange having someone do something for me."

Grainne was not sure if she would be able to adapt, but she eventually did.

"I actually really enjoy being on the other side of the camera now - I could get used to it," she said.

Her pursuit of a career in the make-up industry has not been all plain sailing. As a single mother with a 15-year-old son, she has had to make sacrifices.

"It was difficult, but thank God for Facetime," she explained.

Grainne's son, Ryan, stays with her mother when she is away in London.

"I'm blessed with him for understanding why I was doing what I was doing," Grainne said. "It would have been different if Ryan was more difficult to handle, but he's a good child - he's a good kid."

So good is Ryan that he has never once complained, even when his mum started on The Apprentice. "He knew why I was doing it and when I told him I was going into it, he said, 'I hope I have the same ambition as you'," Grainne explained.

Even though she had to leave Northern Ireland and work away from her son, the make-up artist "believed that it was going to be worth it and it has paid off".

Grainne has loved make-up from a young age. After she finished school, she took a beauty class, only enjoying the make-up part of the course.

After the class, she realised that if she was going to make it in the film and television industry like she wanted, she was going to have to go to London, where many of the jobs are.

"I could've stayed at home here years ago and not taken a chance, (but) I knew I had to do it if I wanted a career," she said.

Four years ago, Grainne made the move to London, and now that she is in the industry, she loves it.

"Production is an amazing industry to work in... I love it. I actually do love my job," she said.

In the future, Grainne hopes to continue what she enjoys.

"I want to carry on in the make-up industry and potentially, have my own big brand somewhere," she explained.

Grainne is proud to be Northern Ireland's only contestant in this series of The Apprentice.

"I feel really privileged to have a lot of backing behind me in Northern Ireland," she said.

And for future episodes, viewers can look forward to "seeing her speak".

"It is an interesting group of people and I don't think you're going to get bored. Definitely not," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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