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Angela Scanlon opens up about embracing imperfection, being ‘moany’ and Christmas chaos

“I think it is an Irish thing: our version of a good day is ‘not bad’, we are never emphatically happy about anything,” Angela says

Angela Scanlon© Andres Poveda

Angela Scanlon claims she’s ‘moany’, but viewers love her bubbly persona© Andres Poveda

Angela Scanlon with her two children

Angela Scanlon all smiles with husband Roy

Sunday World

Angela Scanlon is cajoling her driver into having a cup of tea while we consider how the TV presenter — who is perpetual light and sweetness — could ever refer to herself as a ‘moany old cow.’

Making a coffee pitstop whilst en-route to film the final episode of her RTÉ show, Ask Me Anything, the presenter and podcaster is locked in a battle of wills in the most quintessential Irish way, as she turns to her driver once more, ‘Ah go on, go on, you’ll have one, Martin?’

The idea that a person would not be immediately disarmed by the outrageously candid and effervescent presenter is preposterous, even more so when she cackles good-humouredly: “I am naturally a moany old bitch.”

“I actually veer quite naturally to the downside and I’m quite cynical and would look for the thing that can go wrong first. I don’t think I was always like that and maybe we aren’t born like that but that is definitely how I’ve become.

Angela Scanlon claims she’s ‘moany’, but viewers love her bubbly persona© Andres Poveda

“I think it is an Irish thing: our version of a good day is ‘not bad’, we are never emphatically happy about anything.

“If you asked someone how are they doing and they said, ‘Actually, brilliant,’ you’d be thinking, ‘Cocky bitch’.

“But you look at Vicky Phelan and a life so tragically cut short — we think we have all the days but we don’t. Gratitude has helped me shift focus and it’s a habit I come back to, to remind me not to take things for granted.”

Her chart-topping podcast, Thanks A Million,encapsulates this sentiment, and it’s a daily practice that has sharpened since becoming a mother to Ruby (4) and 9-month-old Marnie.

It is that same sense of hope and optimism that made the astoundingly successful 37-year-old the only cover choice for our glittering gift guide magazine.

“I see them (the kids) living in the moment and I thrive for that.

" We think it’s all about yoga and these beige fantastical Instagram-worthy moments, but most times it’s about being able to enjoy a snotty-little hug or a dinner together.

“This is really hard to do, but getting up in the middle of the night, when you want to scream, and saying, ‘I am so lucky to have a little baby that is healthy, that I can comfort during the night’ — even if I am deranged with tiredness — is a real discipline. And it is still the hardest thing for me to do.”

Unprepared to serve up a high-gloss version of motherhood, when quizzed about the constant, relentless juggle, Angela, who now calls London home admits: “Ah yeah, it’s intense and if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry. And most days I do. You caught me on a good day. Ah listen, it is an absolute car crash.”

Magazine+gets the distinct impression that while the flame-haired presenter, podcaster and jewellery designer has gratitude locked down, she’s not so au fait with acknowledging her own successes.

Angela Scanlon with her two children

“I used to be desperate at it and still my instinct is next, next... Now I am on my way to RTÉ to do the final show of the series and I feel really emotional.

“I’ve ordered a surprise cake for the team because you just don’t know what next year will bring. We had so much fun making the show and it is gone down really well and often that is not the case in this industry,” she admits.

“You put your heart and soul into something and for whatever reason, it doesn’t land. It hasn’t been easy and I have been leaving my family every week and a young baby, but I am very proud of it.”

Having interrogated everyone from Jedward to Mary Berry, she says: “I would come on the show in a heartbeat, it’s just the craic. I am not getting (guests) to admit to things under oath. People are very open and it weeds out the ones that aren’t.”

Looking forward to an utterly chaotic, and unruly festive season, the Christmas-lover gushes excitedly: “I have ordered a tree and I love a sentimental decoration, so everywhere we go we pick up decorations and Ruby is really into it.

“I am allergic to the whole beige Instagram aesthetic — you can’t get it wrong, but it’s boring. I remember with real fondness our slightly bedraggled, dusty Christmas tree that my mam would take down every Christmas. And it wasn’t this big fantastical moment, but it was all so sentimental.

“At home, it’s an absolute free-for-all. We put paper chains on it, and Ruby is putting biscuits on there but I am absolutely fine with it.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas if the star, from Ratoath in Meath, didn’t come home to Irish shores.

“Santa comes to Ireland for the kids so we are between Meath and Cork and we come with a heavy load. There is a suggestion from Ruby that Marnie might like a ball pit from Santa this year, which is brilliant if you weren’t getting a Ryanair flight home on the 28th.

“I said, ‘Maybe we could pop him a letter to leave that in London? But she said no because she thinks he might leave all her presents there.

“I told her, ‘We can be really explicit.’ At some point they will want vouchers, won’t they?” she laughs pleadingly.

One thing is for sure though, she won’t be turning to her parents for gifting advice.

Angela Scanlon all smiles with husband Roy

“My parents used to get giddy on Christmas Eve and fill our stockings. As the years went on they’d have a couple of drinks on Christmas Eve, and I remember my sister opening her stocking and they had cut an onion in half and stuck 5p into the middle of it and they obviously thought that this was a hilarious thing to do to a teenager. It is pretty hilarious.”

Angela isn’t much interested in presents at Christmas, but she can recall when gift giving was done oh-so-right, and so utterly wrong.

“The worst Christmas present was a letter opener, it was from an ex-boyfriend,” she laughs conspiratorially. “But it was in our Romeo and Juliet phase and we had aspirations to write each other love letters and it felt very grown-up in my late teens, it felt really chic. I probably suggested it, in fairness.”

But it’s her husband, eco-entrepreneur Roy Horgan, who she wed in 2014, who wins the accolade of ‘best gift giver’.

“The best Christmas present I ever received was a custom-made ring from my now husband,” she tells.

“I had this cheapo ring, which I really loved, and he got it made into a real ring that would last forever. Unfortunately, it fell out of the boot of his car before he got a chance to give it to me!”

  • Angela Scanlon’s Ask Me Anything continues Saturday at 9.30pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player

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