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Waterford influencer Dev Skehan reveals how she learned to be happy alone

With over 40k followers on social media, the Waterford native shares what life is like offline.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Waterford influencer Dev Skehan (25) is a self-described “culchie girl” who has wracked up over 40k followers by sharing her life online.

TikTok has made her self-care and dating content viral, along with candid chats about loneliness and living alone in a new city.

"It has grown so fast it’s crazy,” she says, revealing that with the love comes some hateful comments.

"They’re hard, of course they are because there were a lot of mocking comments and jokes – and when you’re having a tough day, they can feel worse,” Dev confesses.

"But it also gives you a bit of backbone to say ‘Well, I’m going to keep going because it makes me happy,’ even if some people may think I’m ‘weird’.

“My mom’s advice is that the right people will always come to you. Don’t give the others the time of day and definitely don’t let them in your head.

“If you wouldn’t sit down at a table with someone at 2 o’clock in the morning for some chats, then don’t let them sit at a table in your head at that hour. No, no, we don’t have time for that.”

Dev Skehan. Instagram / @devskehan

The drama graduate made the move to Dublin earlier this year with a huge audience of people watching on social media.

"It was terrifying,” she admits. "Now, I can say I’m the happiest I have been in a long time but – I will be open about it – I questioned everything at first.

"I didn’t have any friends. None of my family were in Dublin. I spent all my money on the deposit for my rent and the first month’s rent that I couldn’t even meet up with people because I didn’t have the money to.

"I was just waiting to be paid and it felt really lonely and isolating in the beginning,” Dev says, confessing that her followers only ever seen small parts of her life.

Joining forces with fellow TikToker Tony Smith, the pair used sunrise sea swimming to build a small community of people who were in the same boat.

"It doesn’t get much more raw than meeting a bunch of strangers in nothing but a swimsuit!” she laughs.

Followers celebrate the rising social media star for her positivity, sharing insights into what it’s like “to be twenty-something in Ireland and still figuring things out.”

"I’m not even trying to really figure things out, I’m just trying to enjoy the process of life,” Dev adds.

"You know, it can be hard as there are definitely a lot of obstacles nowadays for my generation – I just want to offer someone a bit of hope and positivity I suppose.

"Speaking from my own experiences, I think lockdown has a huge role to play in that we’re all just really trying to ‘get back on track.’

"We didn’t get the years that are always portrayed in movies and books as spontaneous and the most fun of your whole life.

"Most of us were living at home. We lost out on a lot of those experiences, so I think now we’re trying to make up for lost time.

"That’s all I want to do. I want to connect with other people."

Dev has most recently brought followers along on her dating life, but says that Irish people are “very afraid to talk about being single and enjoying being single.”

Her followers first found her by videos where she brought herself on little ‘self-care’ dates alone and encourages others to do the same.

“It’s just all about figuring out what you love, going for a coffee and a pastry by yourself – tip number one being you have to get off your phone.

“I laugh at myself in that first video, I was so terrified of what people would think of me being by myself.”

Since then, the influencer has grown a huge following, but wants them all to know one thing: “If I ever do it just for money or going viral, if anybody ever sees me doing that just give me a slap,” she laughs.

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