Love Island's Zara McDermott 'blamed herself a lot' after revenge porn experience

·3-min read
Zara McDermott hosted a show about revenge porn on BBC Three (BBC)
Zara McDermott hosted a show about revenge porn on BBC Three (BBC)

Love Island's Zara McDermott says she was 'scared' when making a BBC documentary on revenge porn that she would be blamed by others for her own experience, admitting she 'blamed herself a lot' for what she went through.

The presenter, who has spoken about having intimate photos of herself shared without her consent aged just 14 and 21, spoke to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time about her move to documentaries, having also hosted one on rape culture for the BBC.

The 25-year-old said "When you're going over something traumatic that's happened to you, I was always thinking: I really hope that this does make a difference. And you never know how something is going to be received.

"From my history, from my experience, especially with revenge porn, I blamed myself a lot. And I was scared that I was still going to be blamed by other people."

WATCH: Zara McDermott on overcoming reality TV stereotypes, educating young people, and renovating her first home

She said she found it 'really, really tough' to make the documentary — BBC Three's Zara McDermott: Revenge Porn — and 'sharing a really hard truth that she never thought would be revisited'.

She told Thornton she still does see people online who make comments about avoiding being a victim by not sending images in the first place.

Zara McDermott: Uncovering Rape Culture (BBC)
Zara McDermott: Uncovering Rape Culture (BBC)

She said they would be the same people who would say that to avoid sexual assault people shouldn't wear certain items of clothing saying she doesn't agree with any of that, but thinks we have been conditioned into believing it.

Listen to the full episode to hear Zara talk all things Love in the Flesh, her ambitions to tackle more hard-hitting subjects in her documentaries, and about her house renovations

"It was definitely conditioned into me from when I was in school," she said. "So sharing that and being really open and vulnerable was was tough.

"But once I overcame that, and I started to get a positive response, and so many people saying: 'Oh my gosh, thank you so much you've helped me it almost liberated me from the demons that I had faced as a teenager."

Read more: Denise Van Outen reveals she was victim of revenge porn at 15

Thornton told McDermott she had a 'brilliant combination' as a presenter of being able to make her think and laugh 'almost in the same breath'. The Love In The Flesh presenter said she found the documentaries she had done 'liberating' and was looking forward to making more on different subjects, such as a forthcoming one on disordered eating.

Zara McDermott is the host of Love In The Flesh (BBC)
Zara McDermott is the host of Love In The Flesh (BBC)

She said she thoughts there was a 'generational difference and misunderstanding' on technology's impact on relationships, and a need to change the perception in society of revenge porn.

"If you're in a relationship with someone, you trust them, right?" McDermott said: "When you're in a relationship, you don't necessarily see that relationship coming to an end.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: (L-R) Sam Thompson and Zara McDermott attend the
Made In Chelsea's Sam Thompson and Zara McDermott at a BBC Three Series launch in October 2021. (Getty Images)

"You know what, even if you're not in a relationship, if that's something that you want to do, then that's totally down to you. It's the person who then goes on to betray that confidence, and share that to someone else is when it becomes a breach of your privacy...

"I do believe as the generations go on, as I have children and my children have children, I think that society will change and view things differently."

WATCH: Zara McDermott on the challenges of renovating her first home with boyfriend Sam Thompson

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