Maura Higgins: ‘I’m Just A Girl From Rural Ireland, Young Maura Never Thought That Any Of This Could Come True’

"I think the older you get, the less you care."

Maura Higgins is mad as a brush. She won’t mind me saying that because she loves a good slagging. She’s living proof that you can take the girl out of Ireland, but you can’t take the Ireland out of the girl.

During our chat, she’s far from her hometown of Longford, currently taking up residence on an island in Fiji as she films for Love Island USA. She’s taken on the role of their social ambassador for the season, delving further into the world of presenting. But no matter how accomplished and worldly she continues to become, there will always be someone in Ballymahon to keep her grounded,

“One thing I absolutely love about Ireland is the fact that our friendships are based on literal abuse. If I was to go home and get a compliment from anyone in my family, I’m immediately like ‘What’s going on? Something’s wrong.’ I’ll go home and the first thing someone will say to me is ‘Maura, you look like f*cking shit’ and I love it,” she tells me, laughing.

We both agree that slagging a person is a very Irish love language and one she doesn’t intend on watering down, no matter where on the map she is. “If I’m really mean to someone it means I really like them. I love getting absolutely ripped apart by someone too, that’s my banter, and I don’t think it’ll ever change.”

Maura teamed up with Rockshore to celebrate all things refreshingly Irish, and that she is! However, It looks like Maura will be on the other side of the Atlantic for the foreseeable, as she’s planning more work in the US.

“There are lots of exciting conversations happening in the States at the moment but nothing I can really discuss yet. But for now, I’m here for a while.” Pursuing her presenting career is what Maura is laser-focused on right now. After dipping her toe into that world in 2021 as the host of Glow Up Ireland, she says she fell in love with it.

“When Glow Up Ireland came about, I realised I really enjoy the presenting side of things. At first, I was a little nervous and thought ‘Oh, this is different’, but I love a challenge and I love to learn and grow, so I wanted to pursue it more. It feels natural to me. I don’t really get shy around cameras, as you probably know from my first days on Love Island, so I’m really happy doing what I’m doing.” 

Her current role on Love Island USA is no accident, however, as she tells me had her sights set since the beginning of this year. “I’m a huge believer in manifesting and believing that if you want something enough you can do whatever you put your mind to. I actually made a vision board at the start of this year, and would you believe Love Island USA was on it. A month later I had a call from them, it was a real pinch-me moment.

“To be the only [UK] Love Islander to come to the US is the icing on the cake too. I’m just a girl from rural Ireland, the young Maura never thought that any of this could come true, so it’s a dream.”

As much as Maura says that manifesting played a part in her success, I can’t help but think that her character has done a lot of the groundwork. During our chat, Maura is humble and warm, we laugh over Irish-isms, agreeing that you can always point out an Irish person abroad, because of the ‘big Irish head on them’. I hang up feeling lighter, and that has to be the Maura effect, it’s no wonder all of these opportunities have come her way.

“There are moments when I sit back and think ‘Jesus, how has all this happened to me?’”, she says. “But the one thing I always make sure of is that I stay grounded and humble, and I think that’s because of where I grew up. I don’t take anything for granted. I don’t care about materialistic things, I could buy an expensive handbag and a normal person would think ‘Oh my god, I have to look after this’ but mine gets thrown around and beaten up because they’re not the things that matter in life.”

What is important to Maura, aside from friends and family, is not getting caught up in worrying about what others will think. “You would expect a woman like me who is getting older to calm down a bit, but I’m definitely getting crazier. I think the older you get, the less you care.

“You don’t care about people’s opinions, you just do you and what makes you happy and for me, that’s the way to live life. You only get one life and it could all be taken away tomorrow so you need to live it and be happy in everything that you do.”  

This article originally appeared in the September 2023 issue of STELLAR magazine.