Reena Moloney – Interview for Ondine

AN INTERVIEW WITH REENA MOLONEY

Time to change a formulaic role of Irish airports. Is fashion beginning to get a place there too?

Reena Moloney talks about family, friends and work as well as the important role that charities play in her life.

reena moloney
Reena Moloney

I am really interested in fashion and could not resist attending the very first Fashion Show Extravaganza, which took place at the terminal in Cork Airport on Thursday 11th February, 2016. This amazing event in aid of Cork City Hospital’s Children’s Club was organized and put together by Reena Moloney who currently works at Cork Airport. In her ‘spare’ time, Reena gets involved with community affairs promoting the needs of numerous charities and clubs; this allows her to combine her altruism with her love of fashion and gives her the opportunity to work with other amazing people like Pat Walker, the famous Vintage Vogue model in Ireland. I was fortunate enough to meet these wonderful women after the fashion show and was grateful when Reena agreed to allow me to interview her.

magda kwinta
Magda Kwinta

Hi Reena, I just have a few questions for you. I know our readers would love to know about

your interests and how you got involved in the Fashion Extravaganza. I know organizing events for charities isn’t your main occupation, so how did you become involved in the Fashion Extravaganza and why did you choose Cork Airport?
I was looking for ways to raise vital funds for the Cork City Hospital’s Children’s Club who are Cork Airport’s chosen charity of the year ; I had organized a fashion show before and felt it would be something very different and exciting for the airport, something we had never done before.

Is fashion one of your passions?
I love fashion, but I’m by no means an expert on it! I do love sophisticated, good quality clothes which are individually designed, and particularly, a good bargain!

Can you tell me more about the work you do in Cork Airport, particularly in the Airport Search Unit?
I work at Cork Airport in the Airport Search Unit. An important part of my role is to protect and prevent any acts of unlawful interference to our passengers, aircraft and airport, ensuring the highest level of safety to all. I joined the Unit in September of 2004. We take pride in what we do and are often praised by the passengers for our excellence in security & customer service.

You’re involved in a number of charities; can you tell me more about other events you have organized?
Fashion Extravaganza was the first event I have organized at Cork Airport. Event management has always been my forte. I spent almost fifteen years at British Airways in London where an integral part of my job was to organize top corporate events such as Wentworth, conferences, team building events, you name it. Here in Cork, I’ve been involved in organizing local community events for both charities and clubs, particularly the Irish Cancer Society. My friend, Laura Franks, and I hosted our first fashion show in October of 2014 in Aghada, Co. Cork where we showcased some of east Cork’s finest in fashion to an audience of 300.

Organizing events is a huge undertaking. Who else was involved in organizing the Cork Fashion Extravaganza?I was fortunate to have a fantastic team of colleagues from the Cork Airport charity committee working with me for this event.

Where did you first meet Pat Walker (Mulcahy) ?
I met Pat Walker at Vintage Vogue through my friend Laura Franks who is a make-up artist. We asked Pat if she would like to MC our first fashion show held in Aghada. Pat was a hit with the audience. They loved her wonderful charming personality, her knowledge of fashion and so I knew Pat would be the most natural person to stage Cork Airport’s first ever fashion show.
How difficult was it to contact & involve so many people who work at the airport and who gave up their time on voluntary basis to help out?
Convincing our models to participate was a challenge. Not everyone has the confidence to stand up in front of 500 people, but our passion for the Cork City Hospital’s Children’s Club was tenfold, something we all felt strongly about supporting. By raising funds for this wonderful charity, we were able to send deserving children to Disneyland plus fun days out that they’ll remember with big smiles.

The Loop was your main sponsor for this event. Did you have any difficulty gaining their sponsorship?
We were extremely fortunate to receive sponsorship from The Loop for our Fashion Extravaganza. Lead by Lilibeth Horne, head of retail at Cork Airport, Lilibeth fully supported us from the word “go”, and we are so grateful for her commitment and support throughout the last few months.

When you contacted the fashion boutiques and fashion stores, what did you say that inspired them to become involved in the Fashion Extravaganza?
Contacting and working with the participating fashion houses was a pleasure from day one. I had worked with Lisa Roberts from Verso, Gina Varley from Devilish Designs by Gina & Ria Burgoyne from Say I Do for the first fashion show in Aghada, 2014. After much research, I had the pleasure of showcasing Cork’s finest in fashion for our first ever fashion fhow; fortunately there was fashion which appealed to everyone, from Saville Menswear to Penneys.

The bridal collection was fabulous, especially the bouquets and hair fascinators – who was responsible for making and providing these wonderful decorations?
Say I Do, Bridal Wear, showcased their exquisite wedding dresses. They work with leading bridal designers from all over the world and have collections from the most sought after names such as Pronovias, Jesus Peiro, Rembo, Ellis & Paloma Blanca. The head dresses were very kindly sponsored by the very talented Ruby Morley of Isabella Ru.
I know that these decorations and fascinators are the current fashion for brides in 2016. Was the collection at the Extravaganza designed especially for the spring/summer 2016 collection? The fashion boutiques put in an amazing display of hats which caught my eye. Some were especially romantic and cleverly enhance the beauty of the bridesmaids. Whose idea was it to perform this amazing selection of hats?
The spectacular fascinators (hats) were especially commissioned by another very talented lady, Bianca Horne, who is from Cork and now lives in Poland.

Could you tell me more about your life before you began to work at Cork Airport? What brought you to Cork and inspired a new direction in your life?
About myself? I am a mum of two teenagers, living in Ireland since 2002. What brought me to Ireland; my Irish husband, Ollie. I have always had a passion for travelling and throughout my career at British Airways I was fortunate to have travelled all over the world, both business and leisure. I love the outdoors and spend my spare time kayaking and rowing. I also love keeping fit and going to the gym.

The Fashion Extravaganza was put on in Aid of Cork City Hospital Children’s Club – Why did you choose this charity specifically, and have you any plans to organize another fashion show in the future?
Magda please, see above, Cork City Hospitals Children’s Club being Cork Airport’s Chosen Charity of the Year.
I am already planning on organizing another event later this year, 2016. Currently I’m working with the charity committee to bring yet another spectacular event, to be announced soon. In addition, I am working on a couple of local events in the Aghada community.

Thank you so much for taking the time for allowing me to interview you and for answering all my questions. It was a great day & we all appreciate the wonderful work you’ve done.

Thank you Magda, I hope the above answers all your questions. Please do not hesitate to contact me for anything else.

REENA HAS SET A HIGH STANDARD. HER WORK, ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM WILL BE THE BEGINNING & NOT THE END OF SUCH ENTERPRISES.

Interviewer: MAGDALENA KWINTA
See all the photos from the event HERE
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