#AskHerMore: We Find Out What Makes Blogger And Author Kelly Donegan Tick

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Name: Kelly Donegan

Age: 26

What I do: Fitness blogger, model and author

Kelly Donegan’s come a long way since popping up on our screens in TV3’s Tallafornia back in 2011. After finding herself in something of a professional limbo when the show ended, Kelly turned to blogging as a space to “vent and share.”

Fast-forward three years and Kelly is one of Ireland’s best-known fitness bloggers, who is just a week away from the publication of her first book, Build Your Own Body (€18.99, Gill Books).

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The 26-year-old has never shied away from speaking her mind, and even took over the @ireland Twitter account  for a week last year to speak about two of her passions – animal rights and mental health. We caught up with Kelly as part of our new #AskHerMore series to find out what makes her tick, what issues she thinks need to get more media attention, and what advice she’d give her former self.

What do you consider the most pressing issue facing Irish society at the moment?

Firstly for me would be animal rights. I guess you could say that I typically like animals more than people and my soul can’t help but care for the welfare of them. Animal neglect is penalised here by a slap on the wrist, even though official legislation rules that the punishment can be anything up to five years in prison and a fine of €250,000 (Animal Health and Welfare Act, 2013). I have zero tolerance for animal cruelty and believe the courts should feel the same.

Another issue that is extremely important to me is mental health. When I was at my lowest, I was lucky enough to find fitness, which helped me lot. But some people are not as fortunate. As a nation we need to speak out and help those who are struggling and our government needs to make it a priority.

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If you could introduce or repeal one law tomorrow morning, what would it be?

This country will truly not be equal until the Eighth Amendment is repealed. Every person should have freedom and rights over their own body, which includes the right to choose to have an abortion.

Which person, alive or dead, has inspired you?

There are many. Joan Jett, Billie Jean King, Oprah, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sophia Amoruso, Will Ferrell and Sara Blakely would be just a few.

I’m particularly inspired by rags-to-success type stories. I don’t like saying “rags-to-riches”, because getting rich should not be the focus or driver of your life. I’m also so inpired by those who follow their dream, live passionately and don’t conform.

Is there a book or album that has changed your life?

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso is a book that every past rebel needs to read. It’s a feel-good book that inspired me to find my entrepreneurial spirit, and helped me when I needed a boost.

As for music, I credit the band Best Coast for getting me through a difficult time in my life with their albums Crazy For You and The Only Place.

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What has been the most significant moment of your life to date?

I think letting go of the past and deciding to just be myself has been the most powerful decision I’ve made for myself.

Hiking Machu Pichu for The Irish Cancer Society last year was one challenge that changed me spiritually, as did writing my first book.

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What is your life’s philosophy?

Take risks in the pursuit of greatness.Be wild in the pursuit of being free. Be passionate in the pursuit of self preservation.

Is there any piece of advice you wish someone had given you?

Believe in yourself even when nobody else does. Life is going to test you, there are going to be moments you want to give up, times you feel like a failure, but don’t give up because amazing things can happen.

It’s the people who take risks and who are not afraid of being told no that find the most unique and wonderful opportunities.

When do you feel most brave?

When I have nothing to lose.

Build Your Own Body (€18.99, Gill Books) is published on May 13th and is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

Pssst! Get the lowdown on Kelly’s clean-eating, clean-living tips in the May issue of STELLAR, on shelves now!