By Chelsea Tyler McNeill
Kelly Donegan is now an author, fitness guru and ambassador for the Irish Cancer Society which is a very different road from the one she began on. Kelly got her start in 2011 when she starred in the TV3 reality show, Tallafornia. The show was strongly criticized and Kelly struggled to break away from that.
She said: “Being on TV and being in the media isn’t all it is cracked up to be, it doesn’t always end up the way you wanted it to go and sometimes it can close a lot of doors for you.
“People got this impression that I was stuck up or thought I was better than everyone because I was on TV and that couldn’t be further from the truth.It’s hard to shift that label but when people meet me, they see that I am just a normal girl from Tallaght.”
Kelly found herself in a career hole when the show ended but maintaining a healthy lifestyle gave her stability and made her happier. “Fitness really helped me channel a lot of bad energy that I had in my life into something positive.”
She wrote a book ‘Build Your Own Body’ in May which is now in bookshops nationwide. “That opened a lot of doors. I have been on TV and radio as a panellist talking about all things fitness quite a lot recently so that inspired me to go back to study with the Fitness Institute and improve my knowledge of the fitness industry,” Kelly told us.
The fitness guru is a strong advocate for a healthy lifestyle and believes Ireland needs to come to terms with its obesity problem.
“I think the problem is a lack of information and a lack of support, there isn’t that much emphasis on health and fitness here in Ireland.
“Young people don’t really have the support in school to make better choices and they are not really aware of the dangers and health risks of eating badly. The fitness and healthy eating phenomena seems to be growing at a rapid rate but so does obesity so I think there is a disconnect between the two of them,” she stated.
When Kelly was approached by the Irish Cancer society in January 2015 to become the brand ambassador of their Trek for life campaign, they made her aware of the significance a healthy
lifestyle has when fighting cancer. “You are almost 50% less likely to get cancer if you have a healthy lifestyle, which is a huge number.”
She teamed up with the society and trekked up Machu Picchu. It was a life changing experience for Kelly, so this year she decided to do it again and hike Kilimanjaro.
“I have almost raised €10,000 for the charity and I have seen two new continents so it is an unbelievable opportunity. Working with the Irish Cancer Society has been amazing. Cancer affects so many people and now that I am in the fitness industry, I know how detrimental being inactive and unhealthy is to your health.”
Kelly has begun her second Trek4life campaign, she is currently in Tanzania and has just begun her trek up Kilimanjaro. You can follow Kelly’s journey through her Instagram or watch her daily updates on Snapchat, both usernames are ‘itskellydonegan’. You can also get involved in the Trek4life campaign yourself, through donation or even becoming one of the trekkers next year, all of the details can be found on the Irish Cancer society’s website.