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ALL I NEED IS LOVE; EXCLUSIVE:MISS WORLD HOST AMANDA OPENS HER HEART; Irishmen just want to get you out to the pub, but American men want to go steady.

Byline: FIONA WYNNE

BEAUTIFUL Amanda Byram is truly living the American dream. As host of reality TV show Paradise Hotel the Dubliner has taken Hollywood by storm.

The former model, 30, lives in Los Angeles in a pretty little cottage facing the Pacific Ocean. She is surrounded by sun, sea and sand 24 hours a day. She attends Hollywood premieres, eats in the best restaurants and knows the coolest people.

But there is one thing missing from Amanda's near perfect existence - the man of her dreams.

Last January the former Ireland AM and Big Breakfast star went through a much publicised break-up with her boyfriend of four years Patrick Kielty. But now her broken heart is mended and she is on the lookout for the perfect guy.

But Amanda, from Castleknock, said: "I find it strange that if you meet somebody over here you can't just like them, you have the play the game.

"You go out for dinner or whatever but then they don't call for a while, you don't call.

"It's hilarious and then if they do like you they ask you go to steady.

"It's just so different from the way it's done at home.

"Could you imagine asking a guy from Ireland to go steady, he would probably laugh in your face and go off and buy you a pint."

Despite this, Amanda won't give up looking for love. She said: "All I need now to make my life perfect is the man of my dreams.

"American men are fairing up pretty well, but I think I will definitely settle down with an Irish fella.

"I was talking to Paddy the other day, he is still one of my best friends and we talk all the time.

"I was saying it's really weird because everyone here goes out on dates and plays the whole dating game.

"But it's a change and its exciting and interesting. That said I don't socialise much over here, I don't have the time.

"I am too busy to think about men, if the work dries up I will probably get into a panic though."

When Amanda left Ireland last May to visit an old friend in LA she never imagined she would end up working in Hollywood.

But six months later, Amanda is one of the most recognisable faces on American TV and her career is going from strength to strength.

Producers of Paradise Hotel are already in talks about making a second series and Amanda is certainly not short of job offers.

And now to top it all off she has just been offered one of the biggest gigs of the year - hosting the Miss World contest.

But despite her astounding success Amanda admits she still misses Ireland and going out with Irish men.

She said: "I do miss a lot of things about home and in many ways life is easier there." But she did manage to get to chat to some "genuine Irishmen" in LA.

Amanda said: "On one of my first dates here I went to an Irish bar called Fionn McCool's.

"I was sitting there with this guy, having a drink and a chat when a big gang of Irish lads ran over me and shouted, 'Jaysus, it's Amanda Byram'.

"I was mortified and nearly died of shock, but I had a good time in the end.

"I just laughed my head off, the poor guy I was with didn't know what was going on, I think he thought I was this major celebrity from Ireland.

"But I had a few pints with the Irish lads and a bit of a laugh, it turned out to be great craic.

"Don't get me wrong, I love living in LA but I do miss my family."

The TV presenter is now gearing up for Miss World on December 6 which will be broadcast live from Sanya in China to more than two billion people.

But it wasn't gruelling auditions, meetings and screenings that landed Amanda the job of her dreams, in fact Miss World came looking for her.

She told the Irish Mirror: "The way I got the Miss World gig was just crazy. Basically the producers had seen me on TV and thought I was exactly what they wanted.

"They came to me and asked me would I be interested.

"I was trying to stay calm and sophisticated but in my mind I was screaming, 'Oh my God of course I am interested'.

"There could have been loads of people approached before me, I don't know, but people keep telling me it's not the sort of gig anyone turns down.

"I still can't believe I am going to China, but it's going to be brilliant. People always ask me is it daunting to think about hosting in front of so many people, but I don't think about that until the time comes.

"If I did I would probably back down with nerves.

"One thing I am really looking forward to is meeting Chris De Burgh's daughter Rosanna Davison who's Miss Ireland.

"Everyone is saying that she has a good shot at winning and it will be lovely to have some good old Dubs to talk to.

"It really is my dream gig, I can't deny it, since I found out my head has just been a whirlwind of emotion." Amanda will fly to China on November 26 and will spend two weeks there hosting the pageant.

After that it's back to LA for a while before she heads to Ireland.

She said: "I am definitely coming home for Christmas, there is no doubt about that.

"To be honest, I miss everything about home. I often think about Dublin at Christmas time.

"Don't get me wrong, I am very happy living in America.

The gang on Paradise Hotel are really lovely and have made sure I don't feel homesick. And if I ever get a bit depressed I just go outside and sit by the sea and think, 'My God, what have I got to be unhappy about'.

"If I could go home and do a Pat Kenny and make loads of money I would in a heartbeat, but I do really like it here and I am doing well so I will give it a good shot."

But Amanda never set out to crack America, it happened almost by accident.

When she went on holidays to LA in the summer she never imagined her life was about to change completely.

Within two days Hollywood had beckoned and the pretty presenter was on her way to becoming a world-wide star.

She said: "I was in LA in a restaurant having dinner with a friend when a guy came over and said he recognised me.

"I said, 'Oh yeah you might know me from Ireland AM or The Big Breakfast'.

"We ended up chatting and he said he was working on a show in LA called Paradise Hotel and would love if I came to audition to be presenter.

"Two days later he called me and asked me to come into Fox for an audition. I went in to met the people from the show and basically got the job on the spot.

"The show's boss told me he never did this but everyone thought I was perfect for the job, I was used to live TV and it was a unanimous decision to hire me.

"To say I was shocked is an understatement, I cried and balled and laughed and screamed.

"I couldn't believe it. Almost immediately my work visa was sorted out and I was living in LA.

"I still have to pinch myself sometimes, it all happened so fast, it had to be destiny."

CAPTION(S):

OLD FLAME: Amanda and Patrick; STAR QUALITY: Amanda makes waves in her early modelling days in 1996; BEAUTY: Dubliner Amanda Byram
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 14, 2003
Words:1311
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