Belfast Telegraph

Michaella McCollum must come clean over paparazzi pics or everyone will think she's cheekily shaping up to be some sort of Z-list celeb

By Lindy McDowell

Michaella McCollum - she's certainly got some cheek. The Dungannon drugs mule was recently featured in the national media in a series of posed-looking 'paparazzi' pictures wearing an ill-fitting, thong-style bikini which showcased her fairly hefty posterior.

But it's the barefaced cheek (not cheeks) of McCollum that I find especially unattractive.

Back from a short sojourn in a Peruvian prison where she served a generously abbreviated term for attempting to smuggle cocaine into Europe, she hasn't exactly been keeping a low profile.

Online she witters away about the danger of not seeing doors opening because you're too busy looking at doors that are closed.

"It has been a long ride to get where I am today, but it just shows that when we fight hard enough for something we can achieve it."

She sounds like Grasshopper off the old Seventies Kung Fu series. McCollum was enormously lucky to have been treated so very leniently by the Peruvian authorities who showed her commendable (some would say overly-generous) mercy.

Most people would have expected that, once back home, she'd have opted to first, show genuine remorse for the wrong she did. And then just keep her head down.

As if ...

Of course, it could be entirely outside McCollum's control that those pictures I mentioned were taken - before being splashed all over a couple of national tabloids.

Maybe some photographer just snuck up on the girl, somehow managing to snap her from all angles without poor Michaella even noticing ...

There were pictures of her in that odd bikini emerging from the sea in Marbella where she was enjoying a winter break. (nice work, if you can get it.) Then a few shots of her washing sand off her ample thighs in a beach shower. Let's just say Myleene Klass in the jungle waterfall, it wasn't.

There were pictures of her in a floaty beach robe and in some seriously unflattering gymwear.

Again Cara Delevingne, I think it's safe to say, you need not fear the competition.

Finally back in Dungannon at the weekend, more staged-looking pictures were snapped of Michaella on a bar balcony, reportedly watching the Six Nations coverage.

She was wearing a rugby shirt. Just a rugby shirt. A rugby shirt accessorised with a pair of towering heels trimmed with multi-coloured pom-poms.

She looked like some daft, cynical airhead aiming to get herself into the gossip columns on the back of her notoriety and, via that, on to some Z-rated reality television show.

Of course, as I say, this may not actually be the girl's intention at all. But that's how it now looks. And the one person who could do something to stop it looking like this is Michaella herself.

So, why doesn't she?

I feel bad writing harshly about any young woman. I wasn't always so cynical about Michaella McCollum.

In fact, at the time of her arrest, I wrote a couple of pieces arguing that everyone deserves a second chance. We've all made mistakes. She was immature and foolish.

I took a lot of flak at the time. She was old enough to know the harm she was doing, I was told. She was greedy and vile, stooping to a crime that costs lives. She deserved no pity.

Well, I'm afraid the pity has rather gone out the window with me too now.

Is McCollum really so greedy for attention that she would even contemplate cashing in on her criminal past?

Only she knows the answer to that. But she can easily make it clear where she stands on those 'paparazzi' pictures.

If they were indeed snapped when she was entirely unaware, she has only to say.

Otherwise people will assume she has it in mind to reinvent herself as some sort of shabby celeb. In which case - the absolute cheek of her.

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