Katherine Ryan’s student life: 'I worked at Hooters and wore a onesie to class'

Katherine Ryan attending the Women in Film and TV Awards 2018, held at the Hilton in London.
Katherine Ryan attending the Women in Film and TV Awards 2018, held at the Hilton in London.

Staying close with the friends you made at university can sometimes be a challenge. Especially if you then become famous and they spill all your style secrets to the world.

But that’s not a problem for Your Face of Mine‘s Katherine Ryan. The Canadian comedian has always been super candid about everything in her life – from her cosmetic choices to her time working at Hooters.

In the Friendship strand in this weekend’s Guardian, Ryan and long-term friend Katherine Woroniecka, now a photographer in Toronto, remembered their time living together as students back in 2001.

Ryan admits the move to the city was a massive culture shock for her, seeing her new flatmate as very stylish. “I instantly loved her. She had stilettos on and I remember thinking, “What are those?” I’d never seen pointy-toe shoes before.”

Woroniecka’s mother, a regular visitor, questioned Ryan’s own fashion choices. “Katherine’s mum always looked impeccable, whereas I would go to uni in a onesie. She would say to me: [adopts Polish accent] “Why do you dress this way? You could meet husband in parking lot.”

The Your Face of Mine comic perhaps took more out of the arrangement than she put in. “I was the bad roommate, borrowing all her clothes and eating all her food. I also got a little dog – a teacup shih-tzu called Biggie – who wasn’t always toilet-trained. And I was working at Hooters, sometimes 18 hours a day, so I was gone a lot.”

Read more: From Hooters to striking comedy gold: Katherine Ryan reveals all

Woroniecka admits her first impression of her friend was not a good one. “ I thought she was addicted to drugs. We shared a bathroom, and when I saw a bunch of syringes in the trash can, I thought, “Oh my God, she’s shooting up.” I was like, “Katherine, are you doing drugs?” and she said, “No, they’re for teeth-whitening!”

But that didn’t stop her coming to her friend’s rescue on one particular occasion. “She was smarter than I was,’ admits Ryan. “At Hooters, I was targeted by an inflatophiliac (someone who gets sexual gratification from body parts being inflated like a balloon). He pretended he was off the radio and that I could win $300 if I stuffed clear bin bags in my pantyhose and inflated them with a bicycle pump. I looked ridiculous, like a big marshmallow. The man’s requests carried on for a month and Katherine was the only one with the sense to say,

“Something is wrong here.” He turned out to be a sexual predator. So Katherine is really a hero.”

Other flatmates featuresd in The Guardian article were Shaun Ryder and Bez, and Matt Willis and James Bourne before they formed Busted.

You can watch Katherine Ryan on Your Face Or Mine on Comedy Central UK.