Fionnuala Moran - The Shona project

This week, we got to meet the lovely Fionnuala Moran.

Fionnuala is an entertainment reporter at EVOKE.ie and also an RTE Pulse Radio DJ. Not only that, she is a sustainable fashion queen who has just started a Masters in Climate Change: Policy, Media & Society. When she’s not spilling the tea on all the latest celeb goss, you’ll find her cooking us a vegan storm or tasting all the vegan grub Ireland and the world has to offer.

Anyways, do you want to get to know her better? Of course, you do! Check our chat below…

Could you tell us a little about your job at RTE Pulse? What’s it like (we are so jealous of your job!), what’s your favourite part?

I adore interviewing emerging Irish artists and showcasing new music in my weekly two-hour slot. Seeing their passion and drive, doing something they love gives me such a buzz. RTÉ PULSE is where a lot of the artists have their first experience of on-air interviews so it’s really special to get to share that with them. Blaring deadly, mainly Irish, music each Saturday gives me so much energy too. It’s like a lil rave in the studio, such a buzz.

The freedom we have on RTÉ PULSE as a DAB station is fantastic in that we’re able to mould the kind of show we want away from some of the restrictions of FM. I’ll be forever grateful to the late Alan McQuillan for training me in on the station and helping me find my voice again. He helped me shake off the generic jock presenting I thought I should be doing and aided me in getting back to my authentic self on-air. That was invaluable. He’s a legend.

What advice would you give a young girl who feels that a career in radio might be for her? Where does she even start?

Figure out what you want to say. My career mission statement is to educate and entertain. If I’m doing either of those, happy days. If I’m doing both, the dream! Finding out whether you want to celebrate new music, dissect current affairs, etc. will really help you in seeing what path you should take to get there.

Make sure you’re thinking of the listener when you speak. Self-centered presenting makes me switch the dial immediately.  So, make sure there’s value for the listeners in what you’re saying.

Starting a podcast is a fantastic way to begin to build your own profile. It gives you a chance to showcase your own personality and the buzz you’d bring to a station. So, get recording.

Pre-COVID I would have advised networking with presenters you love on social media and seeing if you can get into the studio to shadow them. The majority of people who work in radio are lovely so it’s no harm reaching out and asking for advice from people you admire.

Send your demos out to programme directors of stations you love. Ask for feedback from them, implement the feedback, and send them an updated one. This will keep you on their radar and show them how you’re improving. You’ll be in their noggin when jobs become available then. I need to take my own advice on this front.

98FM’s Andy Clarke told me that the listeners can hear you smiling. It’s great advice. You might look demented beaming by yourself in the studio but if you’re smiling before you start speaking, it translates into your voice. Obviously, don’t employ this tactic if you’re presenting something sombre.

RTE Pluse - The Shona project

After a little bit of Insta stalking (please don’t be scared of us!), we noticed that you are a sustainability Queen! Many of our ambassadors and followers love sustainable fashion. Could you give us your sustainable fashion top tips?

Try to purchase from the circular economy when you need something. Charity shops, Depop, vintage shops, and swap shops with your friends are fun ways to do this.

Buy less. The less we consume the better for the planet. Mindful consumption will save you a fortune and a heap of space reducing clothes clutter at home.

Upcycle your old bits that need a new lease of life. That can involve dyeing them or reusing the fabric to make a totally new piece.

Could you tell us a little bit about why you chose to go vegan?

For me, it’s the easiest way I can reduce my carbon footprint day in and day out. That brings me a lot of solace. That’s my main reason for it. Many animal products are an inefficient use of land, grain, and water for the amount of nutrition they yield when compared to using the same space and resources for crops.

Animals were definitely a big issue for me when I started. I’ve always loved them and now that my brain has made the connection that the flesh in the supermarket is a dead one, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to revert. Personally, I don’t see the point of killing any animals when I don’t need to eat them to live a healthy life. A plant-based diet suits me but it mightn’t work for someone else.

I’ve loved the health perks too, like my skin clearing up, having more energy, quicker recovery in times in the gym, and finding it easier to stay lean. That’s obviously based on eating more of a whole foods plant-based diet and not loads of the delicious new vegan processed food that’s hit the shelves — I love all of that too though. The vegan Magnums and Ben and Jerry’s are better than the dairy versions, swear.

Also, much like only buying sustainable fashion, going vegan really simplified my life. People frame it as a sacrifice a lot but I’ve found so much solace in the limiting of options I go in for.

Fionnuala Moran - Vegan

Could you give any tips to our followers who are vegans too or are considering going vegan? (Meal tips, restaurant suggestions, anything you wish you knew?)

Take it slow and figure out new things you like as you go. Don’t try to do it overnight by swapping to eating a heap of plant-based meat substitutes or you’ll end up having a lot of processed food in your diet which will mug you of a lot of the perks of the lifestyle, like more energy. Roz Purcell’s recipes are really accessible and delicious so even trying a new one of those each week until you’ve built up a solid repertoire would be a deadly way to go about it.

I used My Fitness Pal a bit at the start to make sure I wasn’t undereating. If you’re eating mainly whole foods, you’ll be delighted with the amount you get to eat every day. That took some adjusting at the start, it’s a lot of food.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you make a mistake. There are lots of sneaky animal products in things we don’t realise. Googling “Is ___ vegan” helps me a lot.

What is the one piece of advice that someone gave you that has always stuck with you? 

I remember having a wonderfully sarcastic manager in my first job in The Martello in Bray, called Stephen Kavanagh. I don’t remember what he said specifically but I remember he’d make you feel stupid, not in a bad way though, for asking a thousand questions before you’d tried to figure something out yourself. It really got me using my own initiative and asking for help when I needed it instead of needing to be spoonfed instructions and I think that’s served me really well in my media career. People have no problem giving a hand when it’s needed but it gets frustrating when someone never tries to figure something out themselves.

Fionnuala Moran - Vibe Tribe

Photo Credit: Sean Leslie. You can check out his Instagram here.

Could you give the 3 top tips that you wish you could have given your younger self?

You don’t need to be given the golden ticket to start. I think I came into the media at a weird time. I’d just finished my training in presenting, producing, and directing when social media stars started getting opportunities (and fair play to them!) but I’ve wasted a bit of time waiting to land my own show instead of starting podcasts, etc. The goalposts in the media are moving faster than ever before so try to go with the flow of them or get ahead of them.

Use your social media as a professional space in which you build your brand. I’ve made a mistake or two over the years with this, one that almost cost me a cherished gig. So just be mindful about what you’re posting and whether it serves you. You can still have fun with it of course, but just make sure it’s tasteful.

Your vulnerabilities are your power. I wrote about my Trichotillomania this summer for EVOKE and brought the piece on a national radio tour. My younger self was acutely terrified of people realising I’ve no eyelashes and eyebrows but I’ve seen time and time again that when people accept and own their perceived flaws, they turn them into strengths. Own yours.

What advice would you like to give the Shona Readers?

Set up a Vibe Tribe! This is a group of your friends with which you speak your ambitions into existence and hold each other accountable for chasing them. It’s invaluable.

Who inspires you? Who/what makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and take on the day?

My family inspires me massively but my vibe tribe is another major source of inspiration, support, and drive. I set it up with two of my friends about three years ago and now there are five of us chasing our dreams. Eve Kerton has since set up her own charity (@certifiedproud) and raised hundreds of thousands for the LGBTQI+ youth of Ireland as well as homeless services. James MacInerney (@JMac_MUA) has since completed his makeup qualification and only gone on to reach the final of BBC’s Glow Up! Jen Morris (@jen.morris) is sitting pretty on the Dermalogica website at the moment and Shaylyn Gilheaney (@shaylyngilheaney) is styling up a storm across editorial and commercial shoots.  A positive space like that, devoid of naysayers, is a powerful thing to have.

Fionnuala Moran - The Shona project 2

Tell us about your teenage years? (Was it easy? Did you fit in? What were the challenges you faced?)

I was very lucky in so many ways that I found school very easy with minimal work. I was extremely athletic and was out of class at matches and races as much as I was present.

I’ve had the same base group of friends since then, and some from primary school. I’m blessed with them.

Those years weren’t without their hardship between figuring out what Trichotillomania was and a sexual assault but for the most part, they were really happy times. That said, I’ve no desire to return to my school days. I put a lot of my pressure on myself about picking life paths then and while I’m happy with where I’m at and where I’m heading, life feels a little less complicated now at 28. There’s less pressure to figure it all out the way there was back then. I have a lot of empathy for how stressful that can be for young people.

Quick Fire Round:

What’s your fav song to have a right bop to?

At the moment Chaila by Denise Chaila. She’s a queen and as a Fionnuala, I can very much relate to name-related hassle.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

I’m a happy gal when I’m sat down with a sharing bag of red Doritos and a bucket of hummus but as soon as we can travel again I’ll be back to S’MAC in New York for their vegan mac and cheese, it’s the stuff of dreams!

What would your superhero power be and why?

Teleportation. It would save me so much time sprinting around between gigs. As an added bonus, I imagine it’d be an exceptionally sustainable way to travel too.

Fav quote?

You do you. That’s the motto baby. I think everyone’s power lies in their most authentic self and living whatever that is, provided it’s of no detriment to anyone else.

We just wanted to say a big thank you to Fionnuala. We loved having you, and keep on being you! ❤ If you want to keep up with Fionnuala, you can follow along on her Instagram below.


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A post shared by FIONNUALA MORAN (@fionnualamoran)

Who should we meet next? Let us know at info@shona.ie

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