Charleen and Ellie are a force to be reckoned with and have become household names in Ireland for their endeavours in the world of online media.
The duo met at events in Dublin in their 20s and fast became best friends. Since then, they’ve dominated the influencer space with their make-up, beauty, and fashion advice on top of having one of the most successful podcasts in the country.
They’re two very intelligent women who have proven that letting go of the fear of public opinion and jumping into your dream career can result in huge success.
Similar to our mantra at Her.ie, their podcast is described as “the girl’s bathroom on a night out, or the group chat the next morning.”
It’s their “safe space to spill all the gossip on life, relationships, love, breakups, and much more,” and they deliver week-in-week-out to their growing fan base no matter what the topic.
We sat down with our cover girls for the month of October and caught up on life so far – the good and the bad – and what the plan is for their undoubtedly successful future.
Charleen and Ellie met five years ago at an event without knowing they had already crossed paths and were about to become inseparable.
“We met five years ago”, Charleen said, “just out at an event, but I knew Ellie’s brother because I worked with one of his friends in Penneys.
“I went up to Ellie and I was like ‘I know your brother’ and we sent a picture that night which I think I still have saved …and it just went from there.”
Ellie then added: “I always find it funny that I also dropped my little brother to Charleen’s 21st and just left him off and we didn’t know we were going to be best friends all these years later.”
The pair joked that it was through how ‘socially awkward’ they were going to events alone, that pushed them to tag along together.
“Because I’m so socially awkward, I don’t like walking in somewhere on my own so I think it started being a case of ‘do you want to come with me and we can we walk in here together,’ Charleen explained.
Five years on, Charleen and Ellie have created one of the most successful podcasts in the country – seeing it jump to number one after just one episode.
Speaking about how the opportunity came about, Charleen said: “So I was approached with the idea of the podcast by Go Loud and I’d never thought of doing a podcast ever because I just didn’t think I could talk for that long.”
The girls were already doing most things together so Charleen “went to Ellie because they were looking for two people and I was like ‘do you want to start a podcast?’ and she kind of jumped at the idea as well, because she did radio in college.”
It was a key time for the launch of Hold My Drink because, as they explained: “There was definitely more of a gap at the time for a female podcast in Ireland, so we thought it was a really good time to start it, and it just went up and up from there.”
Despite its success, the podcast and life in the public eye has come with its fair share of difficulties.
Ellie simply said: “It hasn’t been easy, but it’s worth it.”
Highlighting what she thinks has been the most difficult part, Charleen said generating endless content is always going to be tough.
“Trying to keep it fresh can be hard. We’ve done one hundred episodes now and every single one has a different topic. So thinking of new content every week is a challenge.”
However, Ellie said they’re not shy about telling fans when they’re struggling to think of new content.
“We are always really transparent about that. Sometimes on the podcast, we’re literally sitting there saying ‘we’re running dry’ like we’re really finding this difficult, but then it’s a good opportunity I think to reach out and get our listeners involved and be like ‘what do you want us to touch on’. It makes them feel like they’re a part of it as much as we are as well.”
The girls then touched on the success of the podcast separately and said they never knew it would be so welcomed by listeners and Ellie even said: “We didn’t think anyone would listen.”
They were faced with an 18-episode contract straight away, and Charleen said they worried they wouldn’t be able to commit at first.
“When we had a meeting originally for the contract, I think it was 18 episodes and we thought ‘oh god that is very long, how can we commit to that?’.
“And we just decided let’s try it and see and it just blew up. It was so surprising because we didn’t even realise how much we would enjoy it. It’s an outlet, it’s like therapy for us.”
Being so open
It’s no secret that the girls take a no-holds-barred approach to their content, and it’s why their listeners come back for more every week. Their chats on the couch feel more like their usual catch-ups at home rather than a pre-recorded show, and they said that’s down to the fact that they feel their listeners are friends as well.
“I think we were open from the start,” Ellie said. “Even some things we say now, it’s because we’re so comfortable with each other when we’re recording.
“It would feel more unnatural to keep things kind of hidden because it’s just me and Charleen talking anyway.
“We forget sometimes how much we actually share, but I think it’s good for the podcast.”
She then joked: “It’s the couch of truth. You forget there is anyone listening yeah, so it’s good.”
There have been many highs for this duo over the last five years, but the one thing that has stood out for both of them is “the live shows,” they said in unison.
Ellie then revealed: “I cry at every single one of them. At the end of each show, I just get so overwhelmed. There’s one of them where there was a video and I was thanking Charleen and I couldn’t even get the words out because I was just screaming crying.
“I get so overwhelmed,” she explained. “I think it’s the fact that seeing people take the time out of their day, seeing people spend their hard-earned money to come and see us still doesn’t register properly in my head.
“So I just can’t breathe. I’m an emotional creature anyway, so I just ball crying at all of them now.”
It was the first show where they realised they were on to something, and Ellie explained: ”I think the first one we ever did in Liberty Hall hit me, I was like what on earth? I couldn’t believe it.”
Charleen then agreed but said her stand-out moment was the launch of the actual podcast itself and she said: “I don’t think we expected the reaction. It went to number one the next day.”
On the topic of their fans, both Charleen and Ellie said they feel a sense of obligation to be ‘big sister’ figures to their younger fans.
Oftentimes they’ll plan their content around what they think younger people need to know, and speak about it freely so they know it’s okay to talk about these things.
Charleen said: “We do often think like ‘ok we have younger fans and we need to talk about things that they need to know’.
“We did an episode on red flags in relationships, narcissists, abuse, and things like that. It is really important to us to cover it. I think young girls need to hear it because like, where else are they going to hear and learn about things like that?
“So we do feel a bit of a responsibility to be an older sister kind of figure to people too.”
Ellie then said: “When we were younger too, like we didn’t have any of that. You know, no one sat us down and said this is what a controlling relationship is like or what a narcissist is.
“Neither of us knew when we were teenagers and we were probably in a relationship where that was going on and we didn’t know. So it could have stopped things sooner if we had of known.”
The girls have been on the rise for a number of years now, and with a growing fanbase, they have no plans on slowing down anytime soon.
Charleen says: “I’d like to start a brand, that’s like the goal. That’s something I have wanted for so long since I was really young.
“Obviously with a platform, you’re kind of growing your potential customer base as well with that so having my own brand would be great.
“Expanding the podcast as well, like going outside of Ireland and Dublin. We always say Australia because people keep asking us to do something with the podcast there.
“I think merch for the podcast – I’d love to have a product for the podcasts as well. You know what it’s like a book or like a game or a drink.”
As for Ellie, she said: “When I try and set myself like goals of like five years or 10 years or whatever I kind of freak myself out because if I don’t I if I don’t make that happen, I feel like I let myself down.
“I feel like this pressure, there are obviously things that I want to do and would love to do like I’d love to expand UK eyewear, I’d love to own a salon one day – that’s always been something that’s stuck in my head since I was a teenager.
“I’d love to I’d love to just have like a base, somewhere. Just imagine a one-stop shop having everyone going in and out and like yeah, it’s like well.
“And with the podcast, I want merch definitely like tracksuits and all.”
“No one is you and that’s your power”
Finally, the girls had some sweet advice that they would give their younger selves, and their younger fans based on their experience of life so far.
“No one is you and that’s your power. If you look at something and it takes a while to build – like a brand – just get on and do it,” they said.
“You’ll either spend your time doing something you love, or not – for fear of what people will say – so if you’re thinking about whether or not you should do it, Do!”
Images by Her’s Amber O’Shea, shot on location at The Devlin, Ranelagh. Hair by @katlyn_platinum and makeup by Megan Walsh.
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