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'Breast lump scare motivated me for charity dance-off' - model Vivienne

MODEL Vivienne Connolly has revealed she had a cancer scare almost 20 years ago.

The former Fair City actress said she noticed a pea-sized lump on her breast when she was just 22.

"I remember thinking my bra was sticking into me and I put my hand there and to find a little lump, it felt like a frozen pea," she recalled.

Fortunately, after surgery to remove the lump, it was declared benign.

"I will always remember those words, once I heard the word 'benign' that was all I needed to know," she said.

"It left a nasty little scar and I was quite paranoid about it when I was modelling, especially for the first few years," she said.

The 41-year-old explained that the scare has always stayed with her and it has inspired her to take part in a charity fundraiser.

She will don her dancing shoes for Strictly Against Breast Cancer in Dublin's convention centre on Saturday.

Known for being one of Ireland's original top models, the mother-of-two is back before the lens once again - something she said she never imagined happening.

"It's lovely to go back now in a different head zone and not be competing against 17-year-olds and instead be in your own market," she said.


Keeping photo-ready is second nature to the veteran model - she is a fitness fanatic and has even turned her love of exercise into a business venture.

Transform with Viv, a fitness and nutrition company, launched this year.

Best known for her stint on RTE drama Fair City, Connolly revealed that she missed out on a part in Mrs Browne's Boys.

She turned down her friend Brendan O'Carroll (inset) when her modelling career was taking off when she was just 25.

"I could have been in Mrs Brown's Boys if I had stuck with it," she said.

The blonde beauty, who was once married to Mark Dunne - son of supermarket boss Ben Dunne, is in no hurry to meet a new man.

She rarely has a chance to meet people and when she picks a partner this time, it will have to be for life.

More important right now for the busy mum is that her kids Ben (10) and Katie (8) are happy.

"The next guy they hopefully do meet will be the guy I'll be with forever or my partner. It just has to be that way for me".