A teaching assistant with a passion for music has sung her way to being crowned this year’s Derby Rose.
Greek Irish woman Olivia Markantonakis from Fradley beat nine other Rose hopefuls to the title at a selection event at The Spot.
“This just doesn’t seem real,” the 22-year-old, who teaches children with disabilities, said of her win. “I never expected it to happen.”
The ambitious blonde, whose favourite artist is Adele, is a member of a Motown girl band. And she wowed the judges by singing an Irish folk song on the night as her party piece.
The former University of Lincoln drama student says she wants to pursue a career as a professional singer and plans moves to London in September to attend music college.
“I’m always singing,” she said. “I play piano, guitar and write my own music based on what’s happening in my life. I’ve just recorded an 11 track CD with a mixture of contemporary classics and Irish songs for Macmillan Cancer Research.”
Olivia also runs a Saturday theatre club called The Dee Gees.
Her grandparents, on her mother Bernadette’s side, hail from Co. Mayo. He dad Aristos is from Greece. “I want to be a role model to women from all different backgrounds and show people anything is possible is you work hard and put your all into it,” Olivia said.
She is pictured above with Derby Rose of Tralee organisers Jim and Mary Murphy and will now go forward to the regional Rose of Tralee finals in Co. Laois at the end of the month.
Don’t miss next week’s Irish Post, out Wednesday May 16, for full picture coverage from the Derby Rose night.