FORMER Towie star Pascal Craymer today issues a dire warning about the dangers of reality TV after revealing she has attempted suicide FIVE times in the past 12 months.
The troubled ex-model was sectioned after falling into a deep depression, developing anorexia and becoming so hooked on booze that she would drink four bottles of wine and half a litre of vodka a day.
Pascal Craymer has revealed that her stint on Towie led her to develop deep depression[/caption]
Now in recovery, she blames the pressures of fame and social media for her downward spiral and is calling for shows like Love Island to be strictly regulated before another life is lost.
Speaking ahead of the six-month anniversary of Love Island star Mike Thalassitis’ suicide, Pascal told The Sun on Sunday: “Reality television is killing people. It almost killed me.
“These shows chew you up and spit you out. They take vulnerable people and turn them into celebrities overnight without any concern what happens once the fame fades.
“I was only on Towie for a short stint but it has tarnished me forever.
“I could not get any more modelling work after I left and was dragged into a dark and lonely world that almost cost me my life.
“I am lucky I was saved. Now I want to do everything I can to help other people and warn them of the dangers. More needs to be done to control these shows. Life is too precious to throw it all away.”
Pascal, 32, has never previously spoken about her suicide attempts and until now her fans will have known little about why she vanished from social media in January.
The former model says her constant partying caused her to become hooked on alcohol at the same time as she fretted about her figure.
Pacsal’s final episode on Towie was the 2013 Christmas special of the show[/caption]
She first became suicidal when her friend Sophie Gradon, 32, who appeared in the 2016 series of Love Island, killed herself after a drugs binge in June last year.
Pascal said: “Sophie’s death was such a shock as I don’t think anyone saw it coming, certainly not me.
“She had posted a beautiful picture on social media the day before she died, which is a reminder that looks can be deceiving.
“I had known Sophie for about ten years and she was a mentor to me when I started modelling. She was the life of the party and a lovely girl, so I simply could not believe it when I found out she was dead.”
I was drinking three or four bottles of wine over lunch then switching to vodka at night
Breaking down in tears, Pascal continues: “By December I was in a really dark place.
“I was getting trolled all the time and being told I was fat and ugly. I could not make a relationship work and I was drinking three or four bottles of wine over lunch then switching to vodka at night.
“I stopped eating because my diet was the only thing I could control. I was also self-harming — cutting my arms and feet — to make the dark thoughts go away.
“I took an overdose of pills in December and when that did not work I tried again with more pills. Both times I was found by my younger sister Kendal and taken to hospital.
Craymer leaving Tropicana Beach Club in London in 2016[/caption]
“Maybe looking back they were cries for help. My first really serious attempt was at the end of January when I took box after box of prescription pills.
“I had been drinking all day and I downed them with vodka. I called the Samaritans. They sent a crisis team who got me to hospital to have my stomach pumped.
“I don’t remember much about that attempt. One minute I was on the phone, the next I was waking up in hospital. But the doctors told me I was so malnourished I would probably be dead in two weeks if I didn’t get treatment.”
Pascal was released from hospital on the condition she would check into the Priory rehab centre for a week at the cost of £8,000.
Pascal says she was trolled online and told she was fat and ugly[/caption]
She added: “I cancelled all my social media accounts to stop the trolling but I never really stopped drinking. As soon as I left the Priory I relapsed.”
In March, the same month that 26-year-old Mike from the 2017 series of Love Island hanged himself following a battle with depression, she made another effort to end it all on a railway line.
The reality star and personal trainer from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, said: “I made the mistake of trying to do it in the evening when so many workers were commuting. About six people grabbed my ankles and I was fighting and kicking them but they dragged me back over the wall. I was sectioned after that.”
Pascal made one further attempt to end her life through another overdose in April.
Love Island’s Sophie Gradon and friend to Pascal was found dead in June 2018 at the age of 32[/caption]
Since then she has been battling back to health with the help of an eating disorder counsellor and her new boyfriend, Mark Baptist, 31, a life insurance broker.
Her descent into suicidal despair will be a shock to fans who remember her as Towie’s sharp-heeled gym fanatic.
The 2012 series saw her trying to steal hunk Mario Falcone, 31, from co-star Lucy Mecklenburgh, 28.
Pascal was then a 25-year-old former gymnast, whose sporting dreams had been ended by a knee injury. She went on to compete in Miss England and modelled for brands such as Adidas.
The bosses at Towie didn’t offer me any support or counselling when it was over
She said: “I got involved in Towie when I started dating Mario.
“He was on a break from Lucy Mecklenburgh, who was also in the show at the time. The producers kept asking me to go on the show.
After it aired, my Twitter followers jumped by 40,000 overnight and it seemed really glamorous and exciting. But I was like a lamb to the slaughter and had no one to guide me.
“The bosses at Towie didn’t offer me any support or counselling when it was over. I was left to fend for myself. The last episode I shot was the Christmas special, when I was made to look like a maneater and none of the girls would talk to me.
Pascal is currently battling back to health with the help of a counsellor and new boyfriend[/caption]
“I felt completely humiliated and vowed never to go on again.”
Pascal became a social media influencer and continued frequenting the London party scene where she met England star Ashley Cole, who she dated for nine months from 2013. But her other work dried up.
She said: “I tried to go back to modelling but no one would hire me as I was tarnished with that Towie brush. I even thought about changing my name at one point. Towie ruined my life.
“It made me a reality star but I lost all sense of reality. I forgot who I was.
Love Island star Mike Thalassitis was found dead in March of this year[/caption]
“I would go to glamorous events where I met big names like Al Pacino, but when I got home I would read what ‘fans’ had written about me on the internet.
“They would say horrific things like, ‘She looks like a dog that should be put on a leash’. After a while you start to believe them and I felt completely worthless and ugly.
“Before long I had to drink a bottle of wine just to leave the house then I would hit the free vodka at an event. I’ve never tried drugs but on the party scene cocaine is easier to get than an Uber.”
Pascal is now calling for reality shows to be made to follow a strict code of conduct. She said: “There is no way teenagers should be allowed on a show like Love Island.
Craymer says more must be done to protect the mental health of reality stars[/caption]
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“You should be at least 25 and tested to make sure you are strong enough mentally.
“More needs to be done to regulate these shows and make sure the contestants are given counselling and guidance. Reality television makes the TV companies big money but there is no longevity for the stars.
“You can’t go and work in Tesco after you’ve been on Love Island, so what are you going to do when you turn 32 like me?” A Towie spokesman said: “Pascal appeared in three episodes in 2013.
“We take our responsibility to the welfare of all contributors very seriously. Even those participating in cameo appearances are given a full briefing from senior producers which includes advice and support on the impact of appearing in the programme. Independent professional psychiatric support is also available.”
- IF you’ve been affected by the issues raised here, call the Samaritans free on 116 123.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember uk.movember.com
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