Evanne Ní Chuilinn is one of the best-known faces on RTÉ. Here, she discusses how keeping an open mind and thinking broadly informed her choices and led her to the inspirational position she is in today.
Evanne Ní Chuilinn struggles to put people on pedestals. To the RTÉ sports broadcaster, it doesn't matter how famous you are; you are still 'just a person'. It's a refreshing - and believable - attitude from arguably the most recognisable woman in Irish sports journalism. She loves what she does, but she's not looking for fame; she's certainly not looking to sell people makeup.
Look at Kim Kardashian. She's just a person. But if she wears a lipstick we all buy it. And that's obviously marketing and social media and it's this influencer thing that's taking the world by storm. But, like, in her private moments, she's just Kim.
Evanne was adopted when she was six months old and raised in Kilkenny by her teacher parents. Extremely ambitious, she ultimately started her journalism career before college, when she would accompany her dad to his side hustle, working in local radio. A course in Communications was always on the cards; she specialised in radio journalism. As she realised that a career in media was her calling, she continued expanding her education and experience. A fluent Irish speaker, she went to Galway for a post-grad in journalism through Irish, assuming that's the form her media career would take. But her interest in sport led her to a junior position working for The Sunday Game.
It was really quite late when I realised that that is what I wanted to do... I played music for as long as I could remember. I danced, I had a lot of hobbies, and I didn't know which one of them I would choose to broadcast about. But sport was the one that really pulled me in.
From there, she got a coveted gig covering the Olympics; now she is a constant presence on the Six One News. Last year, she joined Des Cahill as co-host of Ireland's Greatest Moment. An eponymous sports-based talk show is surely next?
The breaks Evanne got weren't lucky; she obviously earned them, and her path was by no means easy. (Although her drilled-in fierce work ethic makes it seem so.) However, she realises that the game has changed, especially in the age of social media dominance.
Pretty much anyone can broadcast themselves, that's just the way it's going. And I think if you are really old-school, you're going to have to wrap your head around that.
Still, Evanne thinks that learning your craft the 'old-fashioned' way is essential.
I actually think education is more important. Even in terms of discipline, and deadlines. You can't get good at something unless you do it a lot.
Evanne's advice to anyone is to keep an open mind. She could have done a lot of things with the points she got in the Leaving Cert, but she chose a course that was broad. And look where she is now.
Watch the full video above for Evanne's practical words of wisdom, essential for any potential broadcaster or anyone who needs to realise that trusting your own gut is the best advice for career confidence.
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