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Unwanted question Anna Geary plagued by rumours after removing wedding ring temporarily

An All-Ireland winner, Ireland's Fittest Family coach, and now an Instagram influencer, Anna Geary talks about her new documentary, her happy marriage and the baby question you should not ask

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Anna Geary looks stunning at our photoshoot.

Anna Geary looks stunning at our photoshoot.

Anna's pretty in pink during our photoshoot.

Anna's pretty in pink during our photoshoot.

Anna Geary relaxes during our photoshoot.

Anna Geary relaxes during our photoshoot.

Anna Geary in her new two-part documentary, Why Girls Quit Sport

Anna Geary in her new two-part documentary, Why Girls Quit Sport

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Anna Geary looks stunning at our photoshoot.

Not even a road closure and an errant tractor will keep Anna Geary from turning up and getting the job done.

The 33-year-old hit obstacle after obstacle before landing on the set of our exclusive shoot on the opulent grounds of Cliff at Lyons.

Ever the professional, the All-Ireland winner is accustomed to working under pressure and with just an hour to shoot three looks, it's pretty obvious how the Ireland's Fittest Family coach always kept her nerve on the pitch.

"We'll get it done lads, don't worry," sings the former camogie ace in her familiar Cork lilt.

Vibrant, charismatic and completely effervescent, Anna is chatting animatedly about her new passion project, Why Girls Quit Sport. The two-part documentary sees the sports star set out to determine why the majority of teenage girls give up on sport and exercise.

Working with Ringsend College in one of Dublin's most vibrant communities, Anna sets herself a challenge to try and convince a reluctant group of teenage girls to form a GAA team.

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Anna's pretty in pink during our photoshoot.

Anna's pretty in pink during our photoshoot.

Anna's pretty in pink during our photoshoot.

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Anna Geary in her new two-part documentary, Why Girls Quit Sport

Anna Geary in her new two-part documentary, Why Girls Quit Sport

Anna Geary in her new two-part documentary, Why Girls Quit Sport

She says: "I didn't just want it to be a frivolous topic, I wanted it to really reflect and look at what it's like to be a teenage girl and the challenges that they face now, and the kind of distractions that they might have that are possibly taking them away from sports.

"I think people often think sport is a game, but it is so much more than that from a social point of view, from a mental health point of view and then there is the physical aspect of it. It's taught me to cope with setbacks, it's taught me how to fail but to come back stronger. It has given me so many life skills.

"The girls are excellent and their personalities really shine through, they were so honest and so giving of their opinions, they are the real stars of the show.

"I am nervous because parts of the documentary are quite raw and quite emotional for me, because I'm on the journey with them and I'm re-evaluating how I see sport and at one point asking the question - am I part of the problem? Because, for me, sport has always been so competitive and winning was the bottom line."

It's clear that the Dancing With The Stars finalist is on a mission to draw women back to sport, but with her ever-growing profile there's no denying the influence the broadcaster holds on and off the pitch.

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Anna Geary relaxes during our photoshoot.

Anna Geary relaxes during our photoshoot.

Anna Geary relaxes during our photoshoot.

Anna adds: "I'm very mindful of social media and to be myself. Some people will like that and some people won't.

"I have to be authentic and be me, otherwise I end up living this facade and sooner or later it will come out, you would be exhausted otherwise. So if I can come on to social media even back in lockdown with roots down to my ears, with no make-up on and having had a bad night's sleep with my eyes hanging out of my head or a break out, it's because that's how I look.

"It does remind people this is normal. I do love the Paris filter because it makes me look a little bit more alive.

"But it's when it gets a little bit more drastic and when Photoshop comes into play. I don't know why filters even exist. I mean, it's a hard thing to say because I do like the Paris filter.

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Anna Geary relaxes during our photoshoot.

Anna Geary relaxes during our photoshoot.

Anna Geary relaxes during our photoshoot.

"What would happen if all these filters disappeared in the morning? What would we do? Would people come on social media and just get on with it?"

With her growing fan base, it's Anna's straight-talking, no-nonsense approach to social media that has garnered her a 120,000-strong following.

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Anna Geary in her new two-part documentary, Why Girls Quit Sport

Anna Geary in her new two-part documentary, Why Girls Quit Sport

Anna Geary in her new two-part documentary, Why Girls Quit Sport

With such celebrity comes the public's appetite for more personal details of the broadcaster's life, some of which can be an unwelcome intrusion.

"I remember last December when my rings weren't on, it was only because I was wearing leather gloves and they are a really snug fit. Whatever way I took off my gloves I forgot to put my rings back on after the ad break.

"Two of my friends said their WhatsApp group was lit, 'Oh my God, Anna Geary has separated', we were only married at that point for a year.

"We tell stories based on one picture and we all know that one picture doesn't tell a story at all - you see what you want to see when you look at a picture."

Laughing off the debacle, she speaks lovingly of her husband, GAA executive Kevin Sexton, who she married in 2019, just before lockdown.

She laughs: "Lucky we like each other. We've spent more time together in our first year of marriage than we did in the previous six years of our relationship.

"We're also really lucky and privileged that we had managed to move into our house beforehand, because had we not, trying to look for a house and maybe possibly, the mortgage could have fallen through.

"We had two dates in mind when we got engaged for our wedding and that was October or the end of March. If we had went with March, it would have been cancelled."

Anna may be happy to wax lyrical about her life as a newlywed, but her wedding ring does not make her reproductive system public fodder.

"When people ask me are you going to have kids I say, 'I don't know'. It is so much more than whether me and Kev want kids, there is the small matter of my body and whether or not I will be able to have them.

"At the time of the wedding, a journalist who is female asked me about having kids and I said, 'I don't mind you asking me this question but I don't know who else you have asked this question to?'

"For all you know, not that I had, I could have been trying and not been able, I could have had a miscarriage six months ago, I could be in the middle of fertility treatment or I may have decided that we are not having them financially, economically.

"You can't presume that is an OK question to ask someone. You wouldn't turn around to someone in an interview asking them are they gay or straight.

"Why is it of any relevance if I have kids or not? My sole relevance as a woman on this earth is not my reproductive system.

"Please God it will be straightforward and fine, but there seems to be this underground hidden society of women who experience miscarriages and fertility problems and we don't talk about it, but people are well able to tell you what the right age it is for women to have kids.

"Hopefully that's a question people will think twice of now."

Having given up her 9-5 marketing role in 2015, Anna is now on a mission to help Irish women sever their relationship with their jeans size.

"I got a few messages from people who are giving themselves a hard time lately about their size or their fitness and it just got me thinking. I was on a production call for Ireland's Fittest Family and I was asked what size I am because they were ordering new gear. It depends, I was like, if it is leggings, I could be an 8. But depending on the materials, I might need a 12.

"For jackets, I am an extra small but it depends on the shoulders. Brands are different in their sizing but we have such a deep-rooted connection to our jeans size. There are women who'd rather pour themselves into a pair of jeans than go up a size.

"I bought a pair of jeans in M&S and went down a size because they slid down, and I bought a pair of jeans in Zara and I had to size up but when I got the size up, they didn't go above my knee. If you could have seen me grunting to get them past my knees! We really aren't defined by our size.

"When people think back on lockdown, are they going to think about the six pounds they put on? No. They will be thinking about missing their family or being able to spend more time with their kids or having more time to read, cook or do whatever they enjoy."

  • Anna Geary: Why Girls Quit Sport airs on Thursday, 15 and 22 July on RTÉ2 at 9.30pm

INTERVIEW: Denise Smith

PHOTOGRAPHY: Gerry Monney

HAIR: Hannah Smith, Pelo Hairdressing pelohairdressing.ie

MAKEUP: Michelle Field @michelle_field_makeup michellefield.mua@gmail.com

CLOTHES: Coral dress, Yellow dress, Pink Tulle Dress, With thanks to Pinko, Kildare Village

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