'Irish humour helped' - Dublin model beats some of Italy's biggest stars to win Celebrity Big Brother
A little-known Dublin model has seen off competition from some of Italy's biggest stars to win the country's first ever edition of Celebrity Big Brother.
Alessia Macari (23), who's also a singer, said it was "amazing" the Italian public voted for her after seven gruelling weeks on the reality TV show. A massive five million viewers watched her claim victory on Monday night.
She admits that competing on the series was a lot more difficult than she anticipated.
"It was really different to what I expected," she told the Herald. "I thought it was going to be a holiday but it wasn't like that at all.
"You really get to know yourself much better and learn how to handle situations, so it's a deeper process than you think it's going to be.
"But I was in there with some really good-looking Italian men so that made it easier. I would do it all again in a heartbeat."
Single Alessia, who moved over to Italy two years ago after getting a job on a TV quiz show, put her victory down to her down-to-earth personality.
"I was the outsider going into the house. I was probably the least famous person on it. I was in there with some really big stars, former footballers and Italian showgirls. There were some really big personalities.
"I always say that I look Italian but I have an Irish sense of humour. I was just myself on the show as I had nothing to lose. I'm a young girl with curves and I think the Italians could relate to that," she said.
Her proud mum Lisa Borsa, who runs the Mona Lisa chip shop in Crumlin, flew over with several members of her family to surprise her at Monday's live final.
The TV star, who once dated Ireland soccer player Ciaran Clarke, is now set for big success in Italy, as well as picking up €100,000, €50,000 of which will go to the charity of her choice.