Brent Pope – Meet the rugby legend! Now a TV personality and businessman, charityworker and speaker, but, for whom kindness and humanity are more important than any acolade! A gentleman!
What is your Favourite Book?
‘Starbucks changed my life’ by Michael Gates Gill ….Read it!
Where is your Favourite place?
Changes by the year, but I am drawn back to New York every year! My favourite new place.. Lisbon, Portugal.
What is your Favourite movie?
Shawshank Redemption, like everyone else. It inspires me.
If you found €5 on the street what would you do?
Try to give it away the next chance I got, or try and find out who may have lost it. Finding money like that for me is like blood money. I always think that might have been someone’s lunch or an old age pensioner’s bus fare, so I always keep it separate so I can give it to a charity or good cause if I cannot see someone looking for it. I hate dishonesty in any form.
What’s the last meal that you had?
A fab Duck Thai curry in Night Market in Ranelagh Dublin. It was fantastic; kind of home cooked Thai with a twist.
What’s your nicest memory?
Playing sport for your country is always so wonderful, but that can be fleeting in some ways. Now I think people telling me I have made some difference in their life is seriously the best memory for me, it keeps me going.
I don’t want to sound corny but it is; opening up about mental health was so hard for me, to be judged and thought maybe less of a man was so difficult, given my upbringing, but the memories of love and support that I had from so many people changed my life.
I have wonderful memories as a kid in New Zealand with a free Huckleberry Finn type lifestyle, riding tractor tyre tubes down the Ashburton River with my friend Richard – always seems a lovely memory of fun times, of youth and health.
What would you consider your biggest achievement?
I guess always being prepared to try something new, to step out of my comfort zone. Be it writing children’s books, running art galleries for Outsider artists or setting up POPE shirts and shoes. But I guess in a way looking at my life in my later years and saying to myself “I need to change the ‘In’ to change the ‘Out’ ”.
I addressed the shame and guilt of living with mental health issues and began to look at not only how I can help myself but how I can help others, that is my purpose, why I am here. I have gone back and studied so I can know more about the human mind set, and each day I try to make my life, and others lives, a better place. So I guess that has been my finest achievement, to me.
Business wise working on RTE rugby panels for over 25 years was an achievement, but of course that journey is changing too.
Who’s the most famous name in your phone book?
Academy award winning actor Sean Penn! At one stage, my best friend Noel and I had a boozy night out with him in Dublin. It was a dream come true to meet one of your idols, and Sean was even better than expected. At the end of the night he gave us his number as he was filming in Dublin at the time, I’m sure it’s changed, but it was nice to have!
Other than that I guess Irish Rugby Coach Joe Schmidt and some great Irish rugby players like Ollie Campbell, Brian O Driscoll, Paul O Connell, Keith Wood etc., or media personalities like George Hook and Ryan Tubridy. I have met a lot of people during my life so far and I have a lot of numbers!
If you were not in your current career, what would you be doing?
I would have loved to direct movies. Movies are a passion of mine and I always end up saying “Oh if they had just changed this or changed that it could have been great”, I met Jim Sheridan one night and what a gent! I also met Clint Eastwood, years ago, when I lived in San Diego!
Other than that I am doing what I love sport, writing, art, self-development and fashion.
What song means a lot to you? And why?
“Always Tomorrow” by Gloria Estefan, because no matter how I feel there’s always a fresh start, the chance to start over again. I find listening to music inspirational, and like with art, I always love music to have a life message in it somewhere.
Another song I love is “The Breath You Take” by George Strait, I’m not a huge country music fan, but it has a poignant message of what is really important in life. ‘its not the breath you take the breathing in and out that gets you through the day, that’s not what life’s about’….’ but the moments that take your breath away’.. sums it up. Find those moments.
Who did you last compliment and why?
Today I complimented a women that works at a local garage because she was so friendly and had a lovely, welcolming smile, I ordered something but felt compelled to go back and say “You know what, you make everybody feel better, so thank you” its funny because the guy beside me agreed as well. She actually started to cry.
Telling someone something positive about themselves can mean so much, so few of us do it. So try it, it’s good for the soul. If someone is kind or friendly or goes out of their way for you, tell them why, they need to know they are making a difference, it needs to be more than just a throw away “thank you”. How did they make you feel for that moment, appreciated, loved, safe whatever let them know.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Always ask “How can I help” it’s amazing what doors it will open. “Always have time for everybody you never know who you are actually talking too” And my father’s old acorn “Son if it seems too good to be true, it usually is” I have learnt some harsh and valuable lessons in that regards.
Finish this sentence: All I want is……..?
To find love and happiness.
A Quick Cuppa
with Quigleys Café, Bakery, Deli – The baristas, the bakers, the sandwich makers!