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Darren Kennedy

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RTÉ star, entrepreneur and TV personality Darren Kennedy has had quite the year, after his brilliant stint on Dancing With The Stars and the growth of his men's skincare and grooming brand, Kennedy & Co.

He's a man with a full schedule, no doubt, but how does he unwind in his spare time? Audiobooks, reading, and spending time with the nation's sweetheart; Amy Huberman, of course.

Speaking at the launch of Diet Coke’s first ever Book Club at Iveagh Garden’s Hotel, Dublin on Thursday, he describes the style of the extra-special events and spoke to us about his favourite books, authors and celebrity inspirations.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Diet Coke Book Club definitely has some upgraded features. It’s a twist on the classic book club, there’s Instagram Live events too for everyone to take part in. 

“Book clubs, by their very nature, tend to be quite small groups of people. Even though we’re having events in Dublin, Belfast and Cork, and people can sign up for free and come and join us, not everyone is going to be able to make it for whatever reason. Having the digital aspect to it, the live book clubs, opens it up to a whole new audience. You don’t even have to be in Ireland to join, which is nice. It kind of marries technology with books, and for a while people were saying that technology was the death of the book but it’s actually not. I listen to so many books on Audible and apps like that, it just marries the pair.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Darren and Amy will be using social media to include as many people as possible into their world of literary joy, but do you need to put down the phone and pick up a book to really de-stress?

“I definitely want to read more. I find sometimes that life is so busy these days, I said this year that I wanted to remove the word ‘busy’ from my dictionary. I want to be balanced, having that time to switch off your device, pick up your book or even listen to it. I put on audiobooks in the car now and find it very soothing. My goal for the rest of this year is hopefully to read a little bit more.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What can you tell us about your three favourite summer reads for the Diet Coke Book Club?

“We have two Irish authors, which is really exciting. Each of the books were chosen by Amy Huberman, and Amy knows her books so I’m taking them as a good call. For July we have If Only by Melanie Murphy. The August book club, which is myself and Amy, is How To Fail by Elizabeth Day, based on the famous podcast. And we also have Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty.”

Do you have a favourite easy summer read that you bring on all your sunny holidays for light beach reading?

“That’s a difficult question because once I’ve read a book I very rarely go back to it, but there are a few exceptions. Anything by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, is incredible. I’ve read all of his books. I vary between And the Mountain Echoes or A Thousand Splendid Suns as my favourite. I read them over and over again. They’re such beautiful stories of humanity, you get a cultural insight and you feel like you’re being transported to this world and are learning something about the time, the place, the culture. That’s important to me for a book.”

Image: Carousell

If you were to write your own book, what would it be about? 

“It’s a book that I’ve had in the ether for a while now. For me, it would be about how to just live your authentic life and make the most of your life. It’s your life, it’s no one else’s and you’ve only got one shot at it. How do you go about doing that? It’s not rocket science. I think that would be the topic. Or maybe I’ll do a kids book based on my dog, Harry’s Adventures, or The Hair-Tale Adventures of Harry the Yorkshire.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What character from a famous novel do you relate to the most?

“I really struggled with this one. I used to love comics as a kid and used to think I was in X-Men. As a child I could definitely relate to them, but now I can’t answer that. If I’m based on being my true self, I might relate to my authentic self more now.”

Is there a book that sums up summer for you? 

Summer to me is all about change, it’s all about difference and relaxing. So when I think of books that I read during the summer, generally I’m on a beach or wishing I’m on a beach and that changes every year. It has to be something simple, quick and easy. Actually, I read a book called The Cat on my last holiday. It’s really short, only about 80 pages by a Japanese author. It was so simple and easy but such a joy to read. Light and frivolous, nothing too heavy.”

Do you have a favourite author, or someone who inspires you? (Matt Haig is our new favourite.)

“I’ve listened to Humans by Matt Haig, loved it. My favourite author is Khaled Hosseini, hands down. I’m dying for him to release a new book. He did release a very short one, which I bought in the airport but I felt I was robbed but the money went to charity. A person I look up to is Oprah, she’s amazing. What she’s doing with ‘Super Soul Sundays’ and the book which she’s released, which is a compilation of some really insightful quotes, is really nice to dip in and out of. I also have a book of quotes by Buddha, a bedside book, which is quite nice. I pick it up twice a week and randomly pick a page and see what Buddha says.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Have you read Amy Huberman’s books? We won’t tell her if you haven’t read them!

Heartbreak Hotel is absolutely hilarious. No, I haven’t read her books, sorry Amy. That woman is sharp as they come and super witty and funny so it’s on the list.”

What do books mean to you, have they ever gotten you through a trying time?

“Yes, books have absolutely gotten me through a trying time. Books for me are a form of escapism but also a great way to put perspective on our own reality. Sometimes we can get so stuck in our own heads and our own situations, and books are something that allow the cogs to stop moving and project into something else can be really vital. A book that I read that I loved and definitely recommend reading is called Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. Phenomenal book, but kind of intense. I just thought of another book that I loved as well was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I read that on a beach in Tarifa and just: Wow."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What famous people would you invite to your book club?

“That’s easy for me. I’d keep it a small, select group. First of all; Oprah Winfrey. I just think that woman is incredible. David Attenborough, because what a living legend. Tom Ford, because I think he’d put another slant on it. Even if he’d nothing to add in terms of the book, he’d just look amazing. Maybe just to keep it relevant and contemporary, maybe we’d let Leo Varadkar come to the party, just to see what he’d say.”

Darren and Amy are taking part in the Diet Coke Book Club at the Marlin Hotel in Dublin on August 30 in the Marlin Hotel in Dublin, with two other book events happening as part of the same series in Cork and Belfast. Tickets are free, so there's nothing stopping you going.

July Diet Coke Book Club, Cork

  • Hosted by: Stylists Courtney Smith and Ciara O’Doherty​​​​​​
  • Book: If Only by Melanie Murphy
  • Date: Wednesday, July 24
  • Location: The River Lee Hotel, Cork, 6-7.30pm

August Diet Coke Book Club, Dublin

  • Hosted by: Amy Huberman and Darren Kennedy
  • Book: How to Fail by Elizabeth Day
  • Date: Friday, August 30​​​
  • Location: The Marlin Hotel, Dublin, 6-7.30pm

September Diet Coke Book Club, Belfast

  • Hosted by: TV personality James Patrice and blogger Gemma Louise Bond
  • Book: Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty
  • Date: Wednesday, September 18
  • Location: The Loft, Belfast, 6-7.30pm

Buy your free tickets to each book club event here, don't miss out on the chance to open up a new world for yourself.

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Award-winning actor Clelia Murphy has been officially announced as the sixth star who will sashay her way onto our screens in the New Year on Dancing with the Stars on RTÉ One.Speaking about taking part in Dancing with the Stars Clelia said: 

"I can’t believe I’m doing Dancing with the Stars. I’m still in a bit of shock that I said yes! It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before and that’s exactly why it makes it so beautifully terrifying and thrilling all at the same time. 

"I’m sorry now that I didn’t stick with dance classes as a child. I’m normally dressed from head to toe in black and I’m finding myself in a glorious rainbow sea of glitter and sequins and Spanx! I’m so far out of my comfort zone but I kind of love it."

Clelia will join Mairead Ronan, Eilish O’Carroll, Darren Kennedy, Fred Cooke and Holly Carpenter on series three of the show.

Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne will join forces this year to present the new series of Dancing with the Stars. Airing on RTÉ One for 12 weeks from Sunday 6th January, a total of 11 celebrities will pair up with their professional dancing partners as they step out of their comfort zones and onto the dancefloor, each hoping to claim the much-coveted glitter ball trophy at the end of the series.

Each pairing will have a different dancing genre to master every week from the paso doble to the waltz and they’ll have just seven days to perfect their routine before performing live to the nation. 

Also returning this year is our expert panel of judges Brian Redmond, Loraine Barry and Julian Benson. Once again the celebrities and their dancers will be scored by the judges and the viewing public at home.

 

 

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Actor and comedian Eilish O’Carroll and style entrepreneur Darren Kennedy have been confirmed as the next two celebrities to compete on Dancing with the Stars on RTÉ One in the New Year.

After much speculation it was confirmed live on The Ryan Tubridy Show on Radio 1 this morning that Eilish and Darren are is set to hit the dance floor this coming January.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Speaking about taking part in Dancing with the Stars this year, Eilish said;“I’m so excited to be doing Dancing with the Stars. It’s like a dream come true. I feel like a kid and all my Christmas’s have come at one. I can’t wait to get started!”

Darren commented: “I’m excited, petrified, terrified– I don’t know what I’ve got myself in for. It’s completely out of my comfort zone but ultimately I’m looking forward to it. I’ve zero dance experience. If I could write a letter to my younger self I would say ‘Stick with Billie Barry someday you’re going to be thankful’ 

Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne will join forces this year to present the new series of Dancing with the Stars.

Airing on RTÉ One for 12 weeks from Sunday, January 6, a total of 11 celebrities will pair up with their professional dancing partners as they step out of their comfort zones and onto the dancefloor, each hoping to claim the much-coveted glitter ball trophy at the end of the series.

Each pairing will have a different dancing genre to master every week from the paso doble to the waltz and they’ll have just seven days to perfect their routine before performing live to the nation. 

Also returning this year is our expert panel of judges Brian Redmond, Loraine Barry and Julian Benson. Once again the celebrities and their dancers will be scored by the judges and the viewing public at home.

And if that’s not enough for dancing fans out there, Can’t Stop Dancing, the preview show for Dancing with the Stars hosted by Bláthnaid Treacy will be back on Friday, January 4 on RTÉ One.  Each week Can’t Stop Dancing will go behind the scenes to capture all the glitz, glamour and gossip back stage and get the low down from the judges, the professional dancers and the stars. 

 

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Still on the hnt for the perfect Christmas gift for that fashion fan in your life? 

Rummaging through the wardrobes of Roz Purcell and Darren Kennedy might be the answer, right?

Well this weekend, you could get the chance to do just that. 

The pair of Irish sartorialists are hosting a Christmas market in The Fat Fox this weekend. 

All proceeds from the sales are going directly to the Capuchin Day Centre, which provides over 700 meals per week to the homeless and impoverished. 

'Find the perfect gift for you or your loved one, with gorge clothes, beauty, grooming and makeup products on sale and help us raise funds for the homeless this Christmas,' reads Darren's post on Instagram.

There will be menswear, fashion, beauty bits and skincare on offer.

If you're interested, the market will kick off this Sunday from The Fat Fox's location on Camden Row. 

Starting at 12 noon and finishing at 3pm, it's the perfect way to spend the afternoon while contributing to a very worthy charity. 

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If our time in the Girl Guides taught us anything, it’s to be prepared.

And while we have it nailed when it comes to our supply of plasters on a night out and our collection of chocolate during certain times of the month, there are a few areas of our life which could do with a little work.

Take that oh-so-important Bucket List, for example.

While we may throw the word around with wild abandon, and discuss swimming with dolphins and sourcing cocktails that cost less than a fiver, how many of us consider what the term means in actuality?

Loathe and all as most of us are to contemplate it, there will come a time when we do kick the bucket, and dolphin swimming and cocktail swigging aren’t going to do much for the people we leave behind.

But, hold up! If your toes are already curling with the direction this piece is going, you’re not alone.

In fact, research conducted by My Legacy, a group of over 50 Irish charities, established that only 30 per cent of people living in Ireland have made a will, while just half have engaged with any of the practicalities around preparing for their own death.

On the other hand, more than two thirds of those surveyed have prioritised a visit to their dream destination. Standard, right?

How about making your mark by leaving a legacy gift in your will to a charity you care about?

Eager to remind the public of the importance of their legacy, Darren Kennedy, stylist and TV presenter, and George Hamilton, football pundit are supporting the campaign during My Legacy Week.

Both men have made a legacy donation to a cause they care about and explained why the campaign was important to them.

“I had never really thought about making my will and leaving a legacy – it just wasn’t on my radar,” Darren said. “But when I thought of my family, friends and the causes that are important to me I realised it’s an important thing to do. I left my legacy to the Dog’s Trust.”

“The Dog’s Trust is very important to me as I have had dogs all my life and in hard times they have always been a comfort to me. People at my age don’t really think about making a Will but it is so important as it makes things easier for your loved ones when you’re gone.”

“Leaving a legacy was never on my bucket list, I always wanted to go to Fashion Week like 4% of people surveyed, but it’s something I definitely recommend adding to your bucket list.”

OK so, it’s not something anyone of us like to think about, but whatever is on your bucket list, why not be sure to add a donation to your favourite charity?

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He's a TV presenter, a designer and a stylist, so it's safe to say that Darren Kennedy knows a thing or two about the world of fashion.

The Dublin native was named Galaxy Style Ambassador and the Face of Dublin Fashion Festival last night, and with a host of achievements under his belt, we thought he was the best person to ask about how to break into the fashion industry.

With the Leaving Cert results out, and the CAO results on its way, it can be a hectic time for the best of us. There's numerous questions swirling around your head about what college and what course you'll get into, but if we took anything from Darren yesterday, it's that experience is invaluable in the fashion industry.

"Knock on doors, say hello, let people know what you're interested in and that you're trying to get out there.

"I think there's no replacing experience. Teaming up with people in the field who you admire is a great learning experience – and you need it to make it."

Darren also comments that once you do get in the door, you need to keep going and don't get lazy or give up.

"Once you get those opportunities, don't let yourself down. Over-deliver."

However, in an industry that's more hands-on than books-on, the style guru promises that making the connections – even on social media – will get you in the door.

"Have your eyes and ears open and follow the people you admire and would like to work with. It could be as simple as answering a tweet, or engaging in a conversation with them. You just have to be confident and make yourself known."

These days there's a big push on blogging and doing it all by yourself. And even though that's a great accomplishment, Darren suggest you'll have a better understanding of the industry if you work with people.

"Working on your own might be a long-term objective but you need to figure out how things are run. Getting to know people in the industry is invaluable.

"If you work on your own, especially when you're starting out, can be quite isolating in this field. And don't make assumptions about people, everyone is just trying to do their best."

And once you're in, the designer promises that you'll have a lot to look forward to.

"I love the people I get to meet… I work with some amazing people who are really passionate about the things they do.

"I get great insight into peoples lives and it can be nice to see them transform.

"And I love how it all changes. I work on so many projects so there's something new everyday."

And if you want to stand out, take inspiration from everywhere.

"I travel a lot and I'm based in London so for what it's worth, be inspired by your own surroundings."

To end, Darren encourages that you should just be yourself, follow people in the industry who have similar ideas to you, and work hard.

"If you want it, you'll make it. Always stay true to you."

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S! TV presenter Niamh Geaney headed along to the launch of Special K's Live In Colour campaign where she caught up with Karen Koster in a fabulous red, custom-made design by Emma Manly and Darren Kennedy. 

As well as having a look at the beautiful and inspired dress, Niamh also sat down with Dr Eddie Murphy and discovered the colour that could help you nail that job interview – and it's one of our favourites! 

To find out more, watch the video above. 

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SHEmazing! TV got the chance to mingle with the stars and get all the gossip on the red carpet at Saturday nights IFTAs in Dublin

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