In an exclusive interview with HELLO! Online, the former Miss Ireland girl talks about why Dannii is her favourite judge, how she faced Twitter trolls calling her fat and ugly, and how her Irish rugby player boyfriend Cian Healy reacted to her nude photoshoot.
How did you feel leaving the competition?
I only really have positive things to look back on. I I learnt a lot about the modelling industry and about myself. It was my fourth time in the bottom four and I was thinking, it's probably going to be me. The Revlon shoot that I did was probably my strongest picture so it was nice to leave on a high. I just think the competition was so tough at that stage. I knew my time was up.
Do you think you changed much after the show?
I started out thinking I was really tough-skinned, but I found out I was a bit more sensitive than I thought. The competition taught me how to take criticism and turn it into a positive thing. It gave me a thicker skin because you're getting feedback from the judges every week and it's not always what you'd like to hear.
Do you think you were portrayed realistically by the cameras?
I was myself the whole way through. I think they liked to play on me being quite outspoken and maybe bitchy. I think they liked to edit me that way — they want everyone to have a character. But I don't feel like I was actually bitchy because I always said everything to people's faces.
How did you get on with the other girls in the competition and in the house?
I was really close to Saffron, Sophie and Naomi. They came over to stay at my house a few weeks ago. We went out every night in Dublin and I showed them around and it was just great because I missed them so much.
I got on least with Sarah because I didn't have much in common with her. I found her hard to talk to. We definitely had our own little groups by the end, so anytime anyone left it was hard because you see them realise that their dream of winning is over. I'd love to see Sophie win because she's got everything on her side — the height, the very current look and the judges all really like her.
You had some backlash on Twitter after your arguments in the house. How did you cope with that?
I think the whole Twitter thing was kind of hilarious. I definitely have a nice support group at home with my family, my friends and my boyfriend so we can just laugh at the tweets, because they're from people who don't even have their names or faces on their profile, and they're calling me fat and ugly. I just think if you're so proud of yourself, why can't you even have a photo of yourself on your page. So I've learnt not to really care.
What was the most emotional part of the show?
Probably when Saffron left because she was my best friend. Me and her were in the bottom two together so we knew one of us was going. A part of me was thinking, I really want to stay, but then I also don't want to be here without Saffron. That was really emotional and by that stage we'd been away from home for so long, so a really small part of me was thinking if I do get sent home now, at least I'll get to see my family. It's bitter sweet when you do get sent home.
How supportive is your boyfriend of your career?
Cian's so supportive and obviously there were things that I did on the show that were hard for him, like doing the topless shoot with the male model, and doing a nude shoot. He was 100 per cent supportive of me though and really proud. Obviously he slagged me a bit and it was a bit awkward watching some of the photoshoots back, but we did have a laugh too.
What was Elle like as a judge?
Elle was nice, but she was quite hard to please. At the end of the day she's done it all. I found her the most intimidating because you really want to impress her as she makes the final decision in eliminations. Whenever we had Elle at a shoot, there was definitely added pressure. She always told me I was wearing too much makeup but personally I didn't think I was. Obviously I couldn't disagree because it's Elle Macpherson and I would get into trouble. I just had to take it on the chin and nod and smile.
Do you think Dannii made a good addition to the judging panel?
I loved Danni. I think she was probably my favourite judge because she was just so cool, friendly and down-to-earth. She acted like one of the girls on the shoots and even off-camera she'd come and chat to us. She's actually done so much modelling in her time so she gave a lot of direction. She brought a lot to the table.
What has the show taught you about modelling?
I model full time here in Ireland but there were a lot of shoots I did on the show that I've never done, like the underwater one. It broadened my horizon and made me realise that there's so much out there. I learnt so much about myself. Tyson actually thought the same as me, in that I'd be good at acting or presenting, because I was always talking and found the cameras so exciting.
Do you think you'll move into presenting then?
In September I'm starting an acting course and I'm going to try and find a TV presenting course too. I like to talk and talk to people, and you don't always get to do that on photoshoots — you get in trouble if you chat too much.
What tips do you have for people applying?
Have fun and remember it is a competition, but don't get too wrapped up in it. At the end of the day it is a TV show so they want to see people enjoying themselves and interacting, so don't just lock yourself away thinking I'm just here to win. Enjoy it because you never know when you're time will be up. To survive in the industry generally, you also have to have a tough skin and know who you are because you're going to hear things you don't always agree with — basically be a people pleaser from nine to five and then be yourself again after work.