Hanna Miraftab - Real Housewives of Cheshire star goes back to Bolton
PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 February 2019
Bolton's Hanna Miraftab is known to many as a Real Housewife but she also has an inspiring story of proving her doubters wrong. She spoke to Kate Houghton
Bolton’s Hanna Miraftab didn’t let a small thing like not being much good at sciences stop her from her dream job – running her own dentistry business.
Most teenagers would have given up after going for careers advice. ‘My head of year, when I went for careers advice, was almost laughing at me,’ says Hanna. ‘She was quite sure I’d never get in. It was quite discouraging really – they’d tell me I wore too much make-up and nobody would take me seriously with that amount of eyeliner!
‘I did like to get dressed up and I was very much a chatterbox and an outgoing girl, but the discouragement actually motivated me. I chose to study biology and chemistry but then also history and English, so a real split across the arts and sciences.
‘I just worked my a*** off. I remember putting everything into getting into dental school and when it happened it was a really joyous moment. I was crying!’
Fast forward a decade and Hanna had the last laugh when she opened her St Helen’s dental practice the day before she turned 30.
If you watch ITV’s hit TV show The Real Housewives of Cheshire, you will already be familiar with Hanna, who joined the show at the start of last season with her fiancé Dr Martin Kinsella, owner of a cosmetic clinic in Hale, Cheshire. Her opening statement as the titles roll – ‘Own your success, and earn your own dress’ – makes clear her attitude to life.
On meeting Hanna, you are struck by her tiny stature and intensely pretty features. She is delicately built, her Iranian heritage shining through her big dark eyes and honey skin. But her attitude is wholly Lancashire. ‘When I was younger I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, so I did a lot of work experience from a very young age, from 13 or 14 years old,’ she says. ‘I went to see how lots of different professions worked, from a doctor’s surgery to a PR agency. Academically, I was much stronger in the arts subjects, I struggled with the sciences quite a lot.
‘When I did dentistry work experience I just loved the dentist that I was working with. He was just brilliant and I liked the way he really knew all the patients, the elements of patient care and communication and also he was his own boss and in charge of his own time.
‘I used to say to him “Oh, but I really like art” and he’d say “Yes, but dentistry is art – you’ve got to be good at art!” In a way it seemed to be all the things I was already good at – chatting to people, communication skills, being creative so he really sold it to me and I decided that this was what I wanted to do and that I would go and study at Liverpool University’s School of Dentistry.
‘But, you have to really good at science so I ended up staying behind at school with my teachers – I struggled with chemistry especially – but I was so keen and driven to get into the school.’
It was in dental school that Hanna decided that she would one day own her own dental clinic, and set herself the challenge of achieving her dream before the age of 30 – a challenge she met by completing the purchase of Kiln Lane Dental in St Helens.
It wasn’t only the setting of personal goals that steered Hanna’s future while at dental school, it was here that two future passions were founded – her conviction that we should be doing more to educate parents on the importance of good dental hygiene for children, and meeting her future husband, Martin Kinsella.
‘Dental School is only the beginning of your dentistry journey,’ she says. ‘You see patients from all backgrounds and are exposed to things you’ve never seen in your own life.
‘In training you spend time in all fields of dentistry and paediatric dentistry was one of my favourites, but sometimes it was just shocking.
‘You’d see tiny kids coming in because parents just didn’t realise the damage that the foods and drinks they were giving their children was doing. I was working in the sedation clinic and you’d have children coming in for multiple extractions and they have to be given a general anaesthetic and they’re only four or five years old.
‘I love treating children but it’s heartbreaking and it’s a preventable problem. That’s the crazy thing. Dental decay is not something that you’re born with, it’s not genetic, it’s because of sugar and plaque. So if you’ve got good oral hygiene and a relatively good diet you won’t get decay.
‘It’s not the reason I joined Real Housewives, but if I can raise awareness about being sugar smart and make a difference, that would be fantastic. And that’s the thing with Housewives, it’s given us an opportunity to showcase what we do and show us professionally and that’s great. I don’t think there’s much in television around dentists and dentistry and it’s part of me, part of my life and Housewives is a reality TV show so it’s great to show our reality.’
It seems that 2018 was the year of Hanna; not only did she purchase her own clinic, but she got engaged to the man of her dreams, joined the cast of Real Housewives of Cheshire and moved to a new home in Hale.
‘It’s been a mad busy time, I can’t tell you how crazy – it’s been an absolute whirlwind!’
Just a half hour with Hanna is enough to show me that this is not a woman to be daunted by a whirlwind; indeed, whirlwinds had better watch out.
Back to school
Old girl Hanna went back to Bolton School to give a talk about her life and career to 125 girls aged 15 and 16.
Hanna was treated to a tour of the school which she left in 2006, meeting up with many of her old teachers before giving advice to a select group of youngsters.
To tie in with the girls producing their first CVs before applying for work experience, Hanna discussed her time at Bolton School, further education and the career path to reaching where she is now. Passing on her own advice about how to present yourself, prepare for work experience and job interviews, Hanna also talked about what she looked for when recruiting for her clinic.