Emma Quinlan

Emma Quinlan

She's the fearless Irish model who bites the heads off snakes and has performed alongside the likes of Daft Punk and Alice Cooper, so to say we were a little scared about meeting Emma Quinlan would be putting it mildly!

As it turned out she dished some celeb goss on the gorgeous Colin Farrell, and kindly explained to us that she doesn't actually eat snakes for breakfast, it's all a very clever party trick.

Phew! so with that in mind we cosyed up to the former Moulin Rouge dancer to talk about how it feels to be Ireland's Body for 2009, why she has an obsession with snakes and what the Kiss of Death is really all about...

What have you been up to recently?
Well, I've been back and forth from Dublin to London, just trying to organise myself for living between both cities! Its been quite hectic.

You were recently voted as Ireland's Body for 2009, how did that feel?
I didn't expect it in the slightest, I have friends in the police over here and they called at 4 in the morning to say, that it was on the front cover of the Sunday world, which is the biggest paper in Ireland, I couldn't believe it. I had just done an interview with Amanda Brunker, who was a former Miss Ireland and now a noted author and journalist and I think it all stemmed from that.

You've been nicknamed the Snake Charmer, can you tell me a bit about that?
It's a name that I've just adopted really, I have two Burlesque performances and one is with a snake, the other is with fans which is a pretty typical performance for Burlesque. But I think the tag came from the papers over here, the media are great at giving nick names which stick! At least mine is a nice one!

I'm intrigued about your kiss of death routine, where you bite the head of a snake- what's that like to do?
Well I don't bite the head! That wouldn't be very pleasant! haha!
It's an ancient trick or performance in which you open your throat and put the snakes head in. It's pretty dangerous so you'd really wanna know your animal and what your doing so no-one gets hurt. I'm so used to it now, as long as they don't tickle me with there tongue, it can be ticklish!

Emma Quinlan performing her 'Kiss of Death' snake trick

Have you every had any trouble from animal rights activists regarding your snake trick?
My trick? god no! Its not cruel at all! The animal isn't hurt at all. Although some people think it's cruel to bring them out to performances for noise purposes, but snakes are deaf, they sense vibrations but in a different way than sound. My animals are checked every 3 months by a vet and are in tip top shape.

Where did your obsession with snakes come from?
I don't know really, I've been asked this question a lot of times before and I can't really pin point it, I think maybe from my mother, she's always had an interest in them and loved them, just never kept them as pets. They're just so relaxing, they move slowly and are quite a gentle animal. People have the wrong idea of them from television. Its unfair they've been given such a bad name....since biblical times when you think about it!

You've been on stage with Daft Punk and Alice Cooper, what were they like to perform alongside?
Being around major artists is amazing, I work a lot with big dance DJ's as they're more open to performers of all types and the buzz at those concerts is amazing. I had met Falcon from Daft Punk a few times before and then I ended up getting booked for the gig! Which was cool! But a big stage is my home! I'm born to be there! And there is only one snake I use for those type of events...she's my biggest and LOVES them! Her name is Squirt and she follows me around like a dog. Although now she's 16feet and 8 stone. So its troublesome bringing her places! :(

You live near Colin Farrell, is he a naughty neighbour or quite well behaved in real life?!
Ah Colin....well he grew up across the road from me and, I'm sorry to break it, but he isn't the bad boy he's made out to be, he never was! He was always into the arts, school plays etc. He went to the same school as my brothers and did the usual rugby etc! He is quite handsome though!

You've got a background in dance, performing with Moulin Rouge- what was that like and would you ever go back to Paris?
I've a lot of family in Paris on my mom's side, that's why I ended up there in the first place. It's my home from home and always will be, I miss it everyday, the charm, the elegance. I've never been to a city that comes close to it really. All performing I did there, I sort of just fell into. I was only 16 and had to fib bout my age to get work, go to clubs etc, I was lucky my boyfriend at the time was in the music industry since he'd been 16, and at 18 knew everyone, so he gave me a helping hand.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Honestly, married (I'd hope!) with kids hopefully and maybe having moved on to TV, or West End type work. I'm a person who takes it one day at a time, cause you never know what's going to happen or what your gonna end up doing....although I would love to have my own underwear line!

Tell me something about you which nobody else knows...
I'm a good singer and recorded a track when I was 14!

FemaleFirst- Laura Terry