ZARA McDermott sent her first nude selfie aged 14 – before she'd even kissed a boy, she has revealed.
The 21-year-old Love Island and Instagram star is now one of Britain's highest-profile campaigners against revenge porn.
In a new BBC documentary on the subject, she explains being left contemplating suicide after a horrific incident at school in Essex.
Aged 14 and after having been badly bullied, Zara was pressured by a boy into sending him a nude photograph.
She says he told her: "It will make me like you more.”
Having not even kissed anyone yet and keen to fit in, she took a snap in the bath and sent it to him – with disastrous consequences.
By lunchtime the following day, the picture had "gone viral" and even spread to other schools.
Speaking to The Sun she explained: "My drama teacher saw it and said, ‘I didn’t think she was that kind of girl’. That still hurts. I could barely look her in the eye for the following four years.
“You want people who are older and more experienced, like teachers, to be compassionate. There was no compassion for me.
“They were so embarrassed by my behaviour that they didn’t want me in school. Do you know what that does to a young girl?”
While Zara was shunned at school, in the street strangers hurled abuse at her, calling her a “slag” and “disgusting”.
A similar thing happened to Zara again in 2018 when she appeared in Love Island.
Naked snaps she had sent to an ex had been leaked online and viewed by millions.
She explained: "“I thought he was the one but then he dumped me and turned quite nasty.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together,www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans,www.samaritans.org, 116 123
"Reading between the lines, he sent these pictures to his friends before I went on Love Island, so when I went on the show, they began circulating them.”
Revenge Porn – where intimate photos are leaked – has been illegal since 2015 but the problem is thought to have grown worse during lockdown.
Zara McDermott: Revenge Porn is available on BBC Three and on iPlayer from Tuesday, February 23.
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