Diana Bunici: 'I was told I wasn't Irish enough for TV'
Diana Bunici was told she wouldn't make it in TV - because she's not Irish.
The former RTE presenter, who recently moved to London to further her broadcasting career, told the Herald that "small-minded" people dismissed her television dream when she was growing up because of her background.
"Before I got my gig in RTE, knockbacks came in the form of people saying things like I wouldn't end up in TV because I'm from Moldova," Diana said.
"So people might have said they don't hire people from different countries with a foreign name, but I think that was just narrow-mindedness and silliness."
Despite the putdowns, Diana proved her critics wrong by landing a spot on the broadcaster's kids' show Elev8, but has since given up the gig to find fame in Britain.
Along with doing some presenting for Irish TV and freelance showbiz reporting for UTV Ireland, Diana also said she has some exciting projects coming up - but she's remaining tight-lipped.
"I'm still new over in London. I've been taking a lot of meetings with TV executives and I was lucky enough to secure an agent," she said.
"There are a couple of things in the pipeline, but we can't talk about them yet."
While the gorgeous screen star, who is dating Kodaline rocker Steve Garrigan, won't spill the details of her latest gig, she said she keeps quiet on her work endeavours to avoid embarrassment.
"I've done it before where I was 18 or 19 and I was doing a little bit of acting. I got this part in an Irish-Portuguese co-production and I thought, 'That's it, I'm going to Hollywood'," she said.
"So I deferred my college exams and everything, then the day I was supposed to fly out the project fell through because of a lack of funding and I had to go back with my tail between my legs, so I learned my lesson.
"Even when I got my RTE gig, I didn't tell anyone until I was actually on air."
Along with broadcasting, Diana is also writing her first book - a "handbook" to teens hoping to follow her down the showbiz path.
With the book due to hit the shelves next spring, the brunette admitted the pressure is on to get it finished in time.
"My deadline is actually the end of October, so I've been busy interviewing loads of people in the media industry. It's aimed at encouraging young people to follow their dreams if they want to work in creative industries, so it's going to be a handbook to show them how to make it," she said.
"I remember when I was in school and I said I wanted to work in TV, people were like 'that's not very realistic' or 'that's not going to happen', but this book proves you can do it."
While her first love will always be presenting, Diana admitted she's enjoying working as a writer.
"I've always loved writing, it was my favourite thing in school - even when we had to write little letters and things like that, I loved it," she said.
However, she left her work stresses behind her for a few days to return to Ireland to celebrate Steve's birthday and to call on members of the public to get their entries ready for this year's People of the Year Awards.
"It's an amazing evening every year and we're calling on people to get their entries in," said Diana.
"People have until September 14 to get their nominations in, and it's a fantastic opportunity to honour people around Ireland."