independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Fashion shoot that was meant to launch a career

MICHAELLA McCollum Connolly pouts for the camera in a series of shots she hoped would help launch her modelling career.

The 20-year-old compiled a portfolio of pictures in her bid to break into modelling.

"Michaella was actually a lovely girl. She was working as a nightclub dancer but wanted to get out of that scene," said Belfast photographer Nichola Graham.

It is a far cry from the nervous-looking young woman in footage released from Peru where she had her hair scraped up and was wearing a baggy, black T-shirt.

Michaella looked pale and drawn as officers asked her and Melissa Reid (19) to explain the 11kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of €1.7m in their airport luggage.

Michaella, who has been on the books of several modelling agencies, was photographed by make-up artist Ms Graham ahead of the fateful trip to Ibiza, which led her on to Peru.

She said: "I took the photos as a favour after she asked me. She was a natural in front of the camera.

"She is a good-looking girl and seemed a very hard worker. She had a good attitude.

"She had been training people at a modelling school in Belfast on how to stand, walk and pose," she added.

"She was keen to get into lingerie modelling and we were going to do some lingerie shoots for her, but never got around to it."

By Tim Stewart

Irish Independent

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