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What does radical makeover say about Michaella McCollum?

By Lisa Smyth

Drugs mule Michaella McCollum's makeover is an attempt to prove she is a reformed character, an image consultant has claimed.

The convicted cocaine smuggler appeared on TV on Sunday sporting a glamorous image overhaul, complete with newly dyed blonde locks, glamorous make-up and trendy jeans.

According to Bangor-based image consultant, Jennifer Kelly, the 23-year-old, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, is likely to have had image advice before the controversial interview.

"My first impression is that she has had someone take care of her appearance, and I think a lot of it is for the media," said Ms Kelly.

"However, I'm not sure I agree with all the choices. It all seems a bit constructed. I think her hair colour and make-up are a bit over the top. The first thing you notice is the colour of her hair and the very red lipstick.

"They wouldn't be my choice and I'm not sure how good an impression she has created. Sometimes less is more.

"Her outfit has very clean lines. It looks like she's trying to communicate that she has matured. She is very dressed up, although she is wearing ripped jeans."

Cathy Martin, fashion and PR expert, said that while crime should not be glamorised, she felt sorry for the drug smuggler.

She added: "She may be a criminal - and one who not only had to pay in terms of incarceration but also in family shame and notoriety for all the wrong reasons - but she is still a human being and we cannot deny her her freedoms in so far as they've been granted, be they to walk the street in peace or to get a new 'do.

"I think she was a naive and possibly arrogant girl who thought she could get away with it for her own personal gain and she failed.

"I am pretty sure she is being media-managed over there, with all the soundbites in her RTE interview, plus she wore angelic white. She played to the strength of her good looks and then some, but can you blame her for taking advice after the massive publicity which surrounded her initial arrest and imprisonment?

"Call me shallow if you wish, but if I am really honest, I have to admit one of the first things I would like to do after being in one of the continent's worst prisons, aside from seeing family, is get myself a few pamper treatments.

"Of course, I'm sure that if she had quietly disappeared into obscurity and was then discovered working with street kids, the same haters on social media would be commenting about her scraggy hair, dirty fingernails, sloppy sandals, or something equally as pointless as the comments about her attempt at cleaning up."

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