A YOUNG East Clare native whose photogenic potential was first spotted by The Clare Champion has since appeared in leading magazines including Italian Vogue and Irish Tatler.
Dion Mahoney was snapped, as a young boy, by Champion photographer John Kelly. He and his dad Paul were attending the Brian Ború reenactment at the East Clare Heritage Centre in Tuamgraney in 2005, when they were photographed for the paper.
When Dion recently reminded Paul of that picture, The Champion was fascinated to hear that Dion has been enjoying a high successful career in modelling. As a keen young sportsman, Dion enjoyed regularly playing rugby, soccer and hurling.
A student at Scarriff Community College, Dion was in Junior Cert year when sustained a debilitating and recurring injury while on loan to Young Munster Rugby Club from Scarriff Rugby Club. Despite regular physiotherapy and osteopathy sessions, the injury would return after a few matches, requiring yet another period of treatment and rest. It was during his Transition Year that Dion, then aged 17, secured a position as a fashion model with a respected Dublin Agency.
“The test shoots and photography sessions really gave me a positive focus, as I was missing regular sport so much,” Dion said. “Anyone who participates in a sport, especially a team sport, knows how special the friendships formed – together with the adrenaline of matches – are.”
During the two years of his Leaving Cert studies, Dion took some time out to take to the catwalks in Paris Fashion Week. He also appeared in Irish Tatler Magazine and Vogue Italia, as well as completing many other assignments.
“My school, Principal and teachers were always supportive and ensured that I kept up-to-date with school work,” Dion said. “The other students also encouraged me.”
Dion was also able to begin regular weight training, gym work and running. ”One minor issue was that an Italian and, a French agency told me that I was getting too big,” he said. “They seem to like their models skinny!”
Dion has the benefit of a supportive model agency and that’s something he values. “My agency – ‘Not Another Agency’ – have always looked after me,” he said. “It has been a great experience; meeting other models, designers, photographers, wardrobe and makeup artists – together with some travelling thrown in.”
Career highlights to-date including working with Irish clothing brand, Benetti; as well as with Irish designer and Kerry football legend, Paul Galvin, whose ranges are carried by Dunnes Stores.
“I did several sessions with Lifestyle Sports up in Dublin recently,” Dion added. “Early starts, long days, but farmers, labourers, plasterers and builders know what a real day’s work involves!”
Dion’s parents both worked in Clare and settled here. His mum, Lynette, passed away at a young age from an illness when Dion was just seven years old, and was brought up by his dad, Paul.
Dion has a large extended family in West Cork farming, with many relatives living in County Limerick.
In addition to his modelling work Dion is currently running a business project with several friends.