Drug mule McCollum sauntered through Lima looking like she'd stepped out of a spa
As the world waited anxiously to see what toll a "hellhole" South American jail would have on a young girl from Co Tyrone, few would have predicted the results.
After two-and-a-half years beneath the sweltering Peruvian sun, convicted drug smuggler Michaella McCollum emerged from the Ancon 2 desert prison on Friday.
Yesterday while out on parole for attempting to smuggle £1.5m worth of pure cocaine to Europe, one half of the aptly named Peru Two sauntered around Lima's trendiest and most affluent district.
The 23-year-old from Dungannon fluttered along streets lined with top designer labels and trendy cafe bars with not a care in the world looking more as though she had just stepped out of the spa rather than a prison.
Accompanied by her mother Nora, brother Keith and other friends and family, the young model and her entourage fled when approached by this reporter.
Dressed in a black top and black ripped jeans, a newly blonde Michaela and her companions ran to a nearby taxi, snaking through side streets to escape being pictured.
Desperately trying to prevent the glamorous young drugs mule's face from being photographed, they piled into the car in an attempt to shield her from the photographer. The group shouted at the taxi driver to "drive" several times.
McCollum, who appeared on RTE television last night with blonde hair, glistening white teeth and a manicured appearance, looked like she was in full holiday mode.
It's believed the documentary was produced by Fine Point Film, a Belfast-based production company. Sources said RTE, Fine Point Films and Michaella all signed a number of confidentiality agreements prior to its production.
While RTE says it did not pay the convicted drugs mule for her time, it is not clear if she received payment from Five Point Film.
The 23-year-old had been partying in Ibiza in 2013 when she and pal Melissa Reid from Scotland disappeared. Their families had notified Spanish police before they both turned up a week-and-a-half later in Lima Airport, where they were arrested with 11kg of the killer drug hidden in mayonnaise packets.
Michaela is now living in the same affluent neighbourhood of the city where she picked up her consignment in 2013.
Nestled metres from the beach and one of the country's best shopping districts, it's understood the former model may spend up to 50 months in the idyllic surrounds before she can return home to Ireland.
McCollum was freed under new legislation on early prison release and she must pay some £2,800 to the Peruvian Government to cover the cost of her incarceration.