Words: Jennifer Rodger
Following her shock departure from ITV2 dating show Love Island, presenter Laura Whitmore has opened up about her painful experiences in the entertainment industry.
The 37-year-old studied journalism at Dublin City University and landed her first job as a new face of MTV News in Europe in 2008.
The mum-of-one then went on to shine as host of the behind-the-scenes show for I’m A Celebrity…, twirled with Giovanni Pernice on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 and took over from Holly Willoughby on Celebrity Juice in 2020.
But it hasn’t all been glitz and glamour, she has revealed.
“I will not put up with bullshit anymore," Whitmore told The Sunday Times. "At the start of your career you want to get along with everyone and don’t want to question things.
“Once you have a child, you are questioning things to make it better for the next generation. Once I accepted people would take pictures up my skirt, now I think, ‘Why the f*** didn’t I speak out?'"
‘Upskirting’ is taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, and Laura has been vocal against this practice.
In 2018, Laura appeared on ITV’s Lorraine to support the ‘upskirting’ bill and shared her personal story.
Watch: Love Island host Laura Whitmore says 'there are certain elements of the show I've found very difficult’
“I was outside my house, I had my dog and I had my shopping and I was trying to get out of the car and this guy took a picture up my skirt,” she told Lorraine Kelly.
She added: “It was printed and I was so embarrassed about it, but at the time I didn’t say anything because I thought if I say something on Twitter people will Google that picture and more people will see it.”
Whitmore explained how she was forced to make “mad” efforts to avoid being photographed in this now unlawful way. She would crawl out of cars to avoid paparazzi taking pictures up her skirt or dress.
“I just don’t want them to get a picture of my pants. It’s mad,” she told the newspaper.
On 12 April 2019, ‘upskirting’ became a criminal offence under the Voyeurism Act.
In the days since making her departure from hit show Love Island, Whitmore has spoken frankly about other gender-related issues and has also targeted criticism about her salary, reported as £600,000.
“I wasn’t making that much but if I did, fair f***ing play to me. Men aren’t asked about their salary like that,” Whitmore told The Sunday Times last week.
Whitmore has also admitted she found it hard not being able to speak out if something wasn’t OK on Love Island.
Now the author of the positivity hit memoir No One Can Change Your Life Except For You is looking to the future and is making a documentary for ITV about sex and power online.
She’s also set to make her West End debut on 6 September in 2:22 A Ghost Story.