Connect with us
Hilary Thompson Hilary Thompson


10 Questions with former model and agency owner Hilary Thompson 



Hilary Thompson (centre) pictured with models from the Hilary Thompson Agency.

Modelling agent Hilary Thompson talks to I Love Limerick about her life in and out of the fashion industry

Hilary Thompson
Hilary is inspired by the style of Coco Chanel.

Limerick’s Hilary Thompson established the Hilary Thompson Modelling Agency in 1982. She has decades of experience in the fashion industry, and that knowledge has resulted in the agency creating modelling careers for countless men and women of all shapes and sizes through the years. The agency is also known for planning events for charities, schools, sports clubs, hotels and shopping centres, and often hosts in-store fashion shows at Limerick and Irish boutiques.

What was your childhood like and where did you grow up?

I had a very happy childhood growing up Cul na Graine, Clancy Strand with my four sisters and older brother. The family home moved to the South Circular Road and I was a student in Laurel Hill. I still have some very good friends from my school days. 

Where does your interest in modelling come from?

From my early days, I was always interested in fashion and trends. In my late teens and early twenties, I travelled a lot.  Living in Switzerland, I was intrigued by the Mediterranean, French and Italian fashions and when I returned to Ireland it just felt like the natural progression to set up my own modelling agency.  

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Coco Chanel’s style always inspired me from an early age; simple and never dated.  You can see her style still evident today. 

Have you anything exciting upcoming?

The Autumn season is about to start for the first time in almost three years.  I am very excited at the prospect of meeting old and new clients.  One thing the last three years have taught me is that you have to enjoy every show like it’s your last.  I know my whole team thinks the same. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

If I had the chance to sit down with my younger self I would say, “Life is short, and goes by in a flash. It’s full of ups and downs but don’t worry too much about the downs, they’ll help make you into a stronger woman.”  

All jokes aside, I would also tell my younger self to brush up on her computer skills. The last three years have been a wake-up call about how important it is for a business to have an online presence. I relaunched the Hilary Thompson Agency website and tried to become a little bit more IT savvy, helping shops to do online promotions during the pandemic. 

 How did you cope with little to no modelling shows throughout the pandemic?

The pandemic brought the whole industry to a halt. I found that very difficult as I went from being very busy one day to sitting at home the next.  However, I know that many others had a more difficult time and Limerick lost some great fashion shops during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. I have tried to diversify in order to keep the show on the road and I intend to continue providing online options to clients going forward. 

What is your biggest achievement in your life so far?

My biggest achievement is seeing my two sons (Niall and Marc) become successful in their chosen careers, and be happy and healthy. From a business perspective, I’m now 70 years of age and have carried on a successful modelling career for over 35 years and still look forward to the buzz of each show.  I have no intention of retiring because I love what I do. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I honestly don’t know. If you had asked me that question before the pandemic I would have given you a long answer setting my long-term goals and intentions. Now, I live day to day and week to week. Maybe that’s one of the few positives to come out of the last three years; we appreciate what we have and live more in the present. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the modelling industry?

It’s not all glitz and glam.  It is very hard work and can be a tough industry to work in.  I run model trainee courses and I often sit down with young girls and their mothers and discuss with them why they want to train to be models. While I love what I do, it is not an industry that suits everyone. 

And lastly, what is your favourite thing about Limerick?

The Milk Market on a Saturday is one of my favourite things to do every week.  I love strolling around the market with my husband and my dog meeting people.  

For more information on the Hilary Thompson Agency, go HERE

For more 10 Questions segments, go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.