ROZ IN ISOLATION Roz Purcell opens up about lockdown loneliness and hair loss battle
The former Miss Universe Ireland talks about becoming an aunt for the first time, partying with the family, losing patches of her hair to alopecia areata and how joining 'Team Green' will help us all
Green queen Roz Purcell is just one of the famous faces to join Repak's pandemic-era war on waste.
And it doesn't get much greener - or pandemicy - than moving back in with her parents in Tipperary.
Influencer Roz has decamped to the countryside for a few weeks while the wonky wiring in her Dublin pad is repaired.
But it's also given her a second chance to unplug and get her own spark back after the shock of 2020, she tells Magazine+.
"I had to move out of my house because there was an electrical fault," explains Roz down the phone from Killurney in Co Tipperary.
"There was lots of live wires, so we have to rewire the whole house.
"It wasn't a great time to have to pack my whole house up, but at the same time, it's lovely to be in Tipperary and not have to worry about going anywhere. I'd never get to do this otherwise.
"There's a new baby at home, so I'm just spending all my time with Finn, and it is actually a great distraction," she adds. "Aside from entertaining the baby, you kind of just forget about everything else that's going on in the world."
It's just over a decade since the first-time aunt burst onto the world stage in a spray tan and two-piece as Miss Universe Ireland.
Today, the former beauty queen says she's more likely to be found in wellies than wedges, and, after turning 30 last month, that's exactly how she likes it.
"Everyone was like, 'What are you going to do for your 30th?'" continues Roz, who shared snaps of the low-key milestone with her 441k followers on Instagram. "'We could have a social distanced thing with all of our friends?'
"I was like, 'You know what? I just want to go home and spend it with my family'.
"I think 2020 has really taught me that is my priority.
"Before this year, I didn't prioritise coming home enough, and I know that might sound really soppy.
"When I'm at home, I don't really go anywhere and it's quite nice."
Outgoing Roz revealed how she spends most of the year cut off from friends in a bid to protect big sister Rachel from Covid-19.
The PR executive is more vulnerable to the deadly virus after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia five years ago.
"I've been really careful just with Rachel being sick and everything," shares the food blogger.
"I kind of just decided that I'm going to see my family, so I won't see anyone else.
"It's definitely been a little bit lonely especially because I decided not to see my friends and be really careful.
"I always thought I was an introvert," she adds. "I probably didn't really realise until Covid hit that I'm actually quite an extrovert.
"I love engaging with people more so face-to-face than online."
Nonetheless, her online presence and message of self-love has proven a lifeline for her followers during lockdown - and vice versa.
Roz revealed how she's been inundated with messages of support since sharing shocking images of her recent hair loss.
"Social media can get a bit of flack, and I do see why sometimes," says the model, who was found to have alopecia areata, "but in terms of normalising something, not feeling alone going through something, it is actually quite positive.
"Obviously I'm not comparing my situation with someone who has full-blown alopecia, or who has lost all their eyelashes and eyebrows, but I was overwhelmed by the response and people giving me so much advice.
"I suppose a lot of people don't share it online, so I didn't realise how common and normal it is.
"I definitely feel a little bit less stressed that it is such a normal thing, and there's so many different things you can do for it that I wasn't aware of."
Now the Instagram star is using her reach to try and encourage others to recycle more too as part of the 'Team Green' campaign.
Sporting legends Paul McGrath, Anna Geary, the O'Donovan brothers and businessman Bobby Kerr are just some of the other celebrities who've signed up to separate their glass from their plastic.
Encouraging others to join the gang at Repak.ie/teamgreen, No Fuss Vegan author Roz insisted it's easier than people think to go green.
"Anyone who's been to my house, they come in and it's like a recycling centre," jokes the food blogger. "My boyfriend and I are very good at separating our recycling and knowing what goes into each bin.
"I know it might not be the sexiest subject of what goes into your recycling bin, and what goes into your brown bin and your black bin, but it is actually quite simple.
"I really like being part of Team Green because once people join, the information is very easy to absorb, and it just ensures that while we're all at home during Covid we can actually learn something new that's going to better Ireland."
One thing she won't be binning, however, is boyfriend of four years, Zach Desmond.
"The first few weeks was a big challenge," she laughs of being cooped up together during lockdown. "We actually created this invisible person called 'Linda'.
"So like every time someone did something annoying, I was like, 'Oh my God, Linda left the dishwasher down again and I hit my ankle!'
"Then he ended up whacking his ankle so bad that he had to go and get it seen, and I was like, 'You see?'
"But, you know, it actually made us better. It's actually made me realise that we are great living together."