Michaella McCollum is now back in her home town and demonstrating a personality that appears on the surface to be one at ease with herself glowing with pride and self confidence, no remorse nor feelings of guilt in that she is an ex convict who had the capacity to destroy so many individuals lives had she been successful in drug smuggling£1.5 million of cocaine. Many are asking why is she so full of pride and being given lower celebrity status by press and other forms of media? As a psychologist with experience in reality television such as Celebrity Big Brother Big Brain, and I’m a Celebrity … out of here Now, and chat shows, she appears to have been cute enough to focus on her inner psyche knowing that she has a newsworthy story to tell and the obsessive self evaluation of wishing to be on high profile TV shows . Ironically she is not prepared to compromise psychologically on showing society the remorse she feels (if any) nor has the motives to apologize to all those she has deceived, even the press by her skilful use of phrases alluding to her naivety as a student and sculpturing highly convincing storylines to cover the immense guilt underneath in her subconscious mind. Her friend Melissa seems to have much more commonsense by making profoundly sincere apologies with complete honesty about her motives to smuggle the drugs. The intimation was of course to expose both their motives and gain to some extent redemption by being carthartic and purging her criminal activity.
The world of reality shows are stretching the boundaries on both sides of the Atlantic where producers have to produce a show that entertains encapsulates attention for the public and they know that this Peru Drug smuggling story has the capacity to project a young attractive student into the limelight irrespective of the fact that she is not a positive role model for young people to follow. Psychologically her deliberately sculptured and celebrity groomed current appearance on return from Peru and the partying at niteclubs, would appear to many teenagers to legitimize the cocaine smuggling. Lets get one thing straight. Crime is simply wrong and requires appropriate punishment that reforms the individual and teaches self control and self discipline.
With regard to her presumed plethora of radio and TV shows the intensity of media can only serve to make her feel achieved as a model as a celebrity in the making .. and for what reason.. that she was motivated by the desire to engage in high risk narcotic abuse activity with fatal consequences had she succeded.Perhaps she will have this on her conscience to deal with all of her lifetime, not an easy task for anyone in the same situation. However her mental defence mechanism comes into play and elevates her self esteem. In Celebrity culture up and coming celebs rely on “fame” as many of them are not particularly knowedgable or skilled. Instead they are known for simply being known, for their competitive “glamour” and fashion sense. We ask of Celebrities what in fact are they a celebrity for? What is the criteria? How long does it last? In reality as you and I know it, a genuine celebrity produces some form of interest in their personality characteristics that distinguish them from the general population.They have inner resources to influence attitudes and consumer behaviour. There is the insatiable desire to appear on XFactor, Love Island, Celebrity Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity .. and so on. Strong narcissistic personality traits rise to the fore and are almost a prererquisite. But there are psychological consequences of achieving fame even in the context of notoriety. The buzz of media presence week after week, the unexpected researchers calls, the attention seeking behaviours and so on. I find that the celebrity culture produces in each of them chronic self consciousness, and in some cases loneliness and self destructive behaviours. In particular is the loss of privacy and living in and out of hotel rooms and an unstable family life . There is the effect that celebrities have on their fans, can you imagine if this was the case in a years time after Michaela has done the TV circuits. How would teenagers react and could they fully understand the amorality of such criminal acts of behaviour and the confusion it creates in young minds of being a Glamour model after serving a short prison sentence for a major drug crime? She would then experience what we psychologists call “ parasocial interaction” which simply means that whilst the fans all or most will know her story, she will know little about them and the effects on their psychological development and maturational processes.