Our SHINE Festival in March 2021 was a roaring success, smashing all of our targets with 40,000 girls attending. Over 80 incredible, authentic and badass women joined us to celebrate being a girl for 3 whole days!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be catching up with some of the speakers to share why we love them so much and why you should love them too. These women are joyful, smart, positive and hugely inspiring…
For today’s “Shona Meets”, here’s the incredibly talented Judith Mullally.
Judith, we know you inside out and back to front, but for those that don’t, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Heyyyyy everyone – I’m Judith, and I’m from the sunny southeast (questionable??) of Ireland, Waterford. I’ve spent the past 14 years as a lead vocalist/dancer and performer, mainly on cruise ships that have travelled around the world. For the past decade, I was based out of Miami for one of the world’s biggest cruise companies, Carnival Cruise Lines. I am a performer through, and through – I’m a big energy type of gal; I’m lively, very passionate and expressive (possibly part Italian from how much I use my hands when I talk…lol) I love people, music, travelling, clothes, food and wine andddddd did I mention clothes…..!!!! Let’s say – I MAY OR MAY NOT have eight full wardrobes and counting filled with gems that I’ve collected over the years – please don’t judge me, sustainability advocates!!
What made you realise that you wanted to sing for a living? Were there any setbacks that you faced trying to achieve this dream?
The earliest memory of me singing is when I was three – it’s more, my mum’s memory recounted to me. We were at mass, and the choir was blasting out a good old tune of ‘joy to the world’ and off out into the aisle I shimmied and fake sang/mouthed along and continued to bop along, much to the dismay/entertainment of the priest and congregation. And that was it; I was part of every choir/local play/nativity/feis/stage school in the area. I loved how I felt when I sang/danced/acted/performed – it was such escapism for me even though I didn’t even understand that, I just felt good at the time, and that’s all I needed to understand!!! And Yes, I had many setbacks along the way; I can’t speak for all the performers out there. Still, I would like to say that the consensus is that we’ve all faced rejection on our journey to becoming professional performers. I’ve always been a highly sensitive and emotional extrovert – which have been great attributes to pull from when telling the story of a song or emoting in a show to tell a story but not great when you’re getting rejection after rejection in the big bad world of auditioning. I had been fortunate with many opportunities in college – I studied performing arts at Bodywork Company dance studios in Cambridge, and when I graduated, I wasn’t as lucky. I would get so far and then not book the gig. That was hard, and I won’t lie, I lost my way for a bit of time – got a ‘normal job’, and then I realised I’m working to live and not living to work – and I reminded myself that I hadn’t worked this hard at my passion to give up so easily!! So I dusted myself off and got back to auditioning – I got two jobs on the same day and didn’t look back!
You’ve travelled all over the world, living the dream while doing something that you love. Did you ever feel homesick? How did you cope with that?
You know, being a performer, being part of a team/cast/troupe etc., has this magical way of almost instantaneously making you feel part of a family. Don’t get me wrong most times, a highly dysfunctional family….hahaha……but we all know what we’ve done to get where we are, we all understand the sacrifices, and we all support one another. People take on roles within the said family, and it becomes natural. I think a big part of being a performer is cultivating the art of adaptability. You learn and grow and earn a resilience that you probably thought wasn’t possible if you thought about it for too long. Still, when you get the gig, you are so exhilarated at the thought of performing and getting paid for what you love – that you don’t give too much thought to the sacrifices that come along with it – the rewards always seemed to outweigh any sacrifices, that was if I even stopped to give those thoughts much space to fester. Although I must say the older I got, the longing not to be so much of a nomad become louder.
What is the best advice that you have ever been given?
Follow that dream, don’t listen to the doubts – even if they currently reside in your own head. Do what it is that you love – but always embody a great work ethic, show up on time, be a team player, have fun and enjoy it – work hard and play hard and you’ll never work a day in your life.
Much like us at Shona, we know that you’re extremely passionate about women embracing themselves and having confidence. What are the top tips that you use when you need to give yourself a confidence boost?
I am fortunate to have been blessed to be surrounded by strong-willed, brave and powerful women my whole life that inspires me daily. These ladies were always unapologetically themselves and always saw my light even at times when I couldn’t see it in myself. Being authentically who you are is not only brave, but it’s empowering. Remember, you are unique, you are enough, and you are valued possibly more than you could ever even imagine. Also, it’s an excellent tip to remember that the only thing constant is change – and that, for me, is a great thing to remember when I’m having a bad day!! This too shall pass, and tomorrow is another day. Give yourself a high five in the mirror and remember we all have bad days but mainly remember who you are, and you are a badass!!
Whacking on my favourite playlist on full blast and singing on the top of my lungs and trying on my favourite clothes and putting together some new looks ( I’m all set for “out-out” when restrictions lift!!)
How do I pick just one, I’m a lover of words and quotes and the power they can conjure. Here’s a few – my fabulous grandmother would always say “ whatever is meant for you won’t pass you” and also in the beautiful inspiring words of Maya Angelou “And still I rise”.
This is an oldie but a real goodie in my opinion ‘Desperado’ by The Eagles.
Favourite Person Ever?
Me – and it’s taken me 38 years to even fathom an answer like that – it’s been a journey for me for sure. Be kind to yourself, you’re the only one of you EVER!!! In the great words of Ru Paul “ if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else….can I get an AMEN up in here”.
We were also very lucky to have Judith perform a piece from tammy’s new book – You’ve Got This! – for our SHINE Festival in March. Check it out below!
We don’t know about you, but we are so glad to have Judith in our SHONA Community! It’s mad to think of how many phenomenal women are on this little Island of ours! Stay tuned to see who else we got chatting to!
P.S. If you have a suggestion of who you would like us to chat to next and have some burning questions, why not let us know on any of our socials ( @shonadotie ) or pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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