Belfast Telegraph

Drug smuggler McCollum misses out on Big Brother £100k payday

By Sarah Henderson

Peru two drugs mule Michaella McCollum won’t be appearing on Celebrity Big Brother, losing out on a potential £100k payday.

The 24-year-old from Co Tyrone had been tipped to join the reality show since last year after she spent two years behind bars for attempting to smuggle £1.5million of cocaine from Peru to Spain.

But the modelling agency she has signed with, BLVK Management, based in the United Arab Emirates, said she won’t be appearing on the reality TV show.

Since joining the agency, she has been photographed in a series of glamorous locations across the world, sunning herself in her bikini on holidays.

McCollum and her pal Melissa Reid made headlines in August 2013 when they were caught trying to smuggle 11kg of cocaine worth £1.5million from Peru to Madrid.

The Dungannon dancer, released last year, spent two years behind bars for the crime.

In April, she was seen queuing at a job centre in Dungannon — days before heading for a break in the holiday hotspot of Marbella in Spain.

One of the reasons she may have been able to afford the trip is because she has reportedly been offered £250,000 to open up about her prison ordeal in a tell-all book.

Bookies last year had offered 7/1 odds on McCollum entering the Celebrity Big Brother house.

They also took bets on who could play McCollum in a film version of her story, with Irish actress Saoirse Ronan favourite at 8/1, followed by Oscar winner Brie Larson at 10/1.

Sunday Life last week revealed former Miss Great Britain Gemma Garrett (left) is in the running to appear on Celebrity Big Brother.

It has been reported this year’s series may have a couples theme.

Pairs said to be in the frame include Jeremy McConnell and Stephanie Davis, Stephen Bear and Charlotte Crosby and The Cheeky Girls.

But producers also want single contestants such as Gemma.

Other solo contestants said to be in the running include Jordan Davies — with whom Michaella McCollum was partying last month in Birmingham — along with Towie’s Bobby Norris, wrestler Hulk Hogan and Kellie Maloney, who is set to make a return after appearing in the 2014 show.

It was recently revealed how McCollum got together with Bosnian gangster Anthony ‘Javier’ Hamidovic while they both served time at Peru’s notorious Ancon prison.

The pair have reportedly said they will meet after he finishes his stretch behind bars later this year.

Asked what she would do if she could speak to her 20-year-old self, the convicted cocaine smuggler said: “I’d say, ‘Wake up and smell the coffee, open your eyes’.

“I didn’t understand the consequences of a bad decision, I didn’t understand what I was doing. I was very naive.”

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