Cell-fie | 

Holly Carpenter reveals she was strip searched after being arrested in France

"It was a very intense search. They made me take off my bra and shoes and different parts of my clothes"

Holly Carpenter

Eugene Masterson

FORMER Miss Ireland Holly Carpenter has spoken of her horror after French police threatened to share a photo of her in a prison cell on social media.

Holly also told the Sunday World about how she was traumatised when her bra was forcibly removed following her arrest in Paris two years ago.

The Dublin beauty had been traveling to the French capital with social media influencer James Kavanagh and a friend when a situation arose after James returned to the plane to try and retrieve a lost passport.

Speaking on the first episode of her new podcast, Filter Free, this week, Holly and James spoke about the dramatic incident.

Holly and her pals in Paris

Holly (30) admitted the party downed three bottles of Prosecco at Dublin Airport and were merry on the plane. However, she said she could not believe when they were targeted by Gendarmes and were then frogmarched at gunpoint in a holding area, where they were searched.

Speaking to us following the release of her podcast, Holly went into detail about her "intense" experience.

She told how she was left in the cell for hours and how she felt "like I was banged up abroad".

"They were young lads and they had told me they had Googled me and they saw I was in Miss Ireland and they told me they would put a picture on Twitter of me in my cell and they were all laughing, so I thought for about 10 hours that absolutely everyone at home could see a photo of me in a cell with no context."

Holly Carpenter

Speaking about how she was strip-searched, Holly said: "It was a very intense search. They made me take off my bra and shoes and different parts of my clothes.

"They went through everything in my suitcase with a swab. It was very intense. The punishment did not match the crime. All we were was drunk on the plane and didn't cause disruption on the flight.

"There were a couple of females, but it was the male officers who asked me to give them my bra and shoes when I decided to freak out. It was very invasive. We had no one there, a lawyer, a representative. It was a sinister atmosphere. It was very frightening as they were speaking a different language."

She added: "I think there was just like no messing with them. We were thrown in a cell for hours and hours. They told us we might be barred from France for three years. The whole thing was insane. It took us a few years before we felt we could talk about it and actually laugh at it."

Speaking about being on the plane, Holly said: "We were obviously quite drunk, but at the same time I've seen worse, Ibiza and the likes. It's not like we were falling around or being rude or anything," she told the Sunday World.

"The whole thing about a podcast, it's not about being perfect all the time, it's about times you've messed up as well. I think there's so much pressure, especially for me with my background of Miss Ireland, Britain's Next Top Model, Dancing With The Stars, every show I have taken part in is being perfect essentially."

Holly lives in central Dublin with her boyfriend Jamie Hunt and her pet dog Max, and admits her pooch kept her sane during the initial days of lockdown.

"When I got my dog Max it really helped me to have a companion as I lived alone. "

She met Corkonian wine salesman Jamie during lockdown.

Jamie Hunt and Holly

"I met him a year-and-a-half ago, so when we went on our first date we had to have a €9 meal and we could only have 90 minutes at the table. So, it was kind of interesting. I actually liked our first few dates, all we could do was go for a few swims, get takeaway coffees, go for a few walks," she said.

"I think I got to know him a lot better because everything was stripped back and we were just literally going on day time dates and that type of thing because there was nothing else to do."

Despite leading a glam life Holly stresses that not all it as it seems with pictures she posts on Instagram.

"I even find with myself you could be posting gorgeous pictures and looking really happy and all of that, but no one ever knows what's going on behind the scenes in your life.

"People always want to put their best foot forward with their social media and have great pictures, especially in the industry I'm in."

Her next podcast guest is former rugby player Peter Stringer.

"We were obviously on Dancing With The Stars together. So, he talks a lot about balancing his work life, his kids and his wife.

"Obviously with Stringer, people ask him about his career and being a rugby player, but it's more likely to be a woman who's asked how you juggle having kids and a successful career, so I wanted to ask him those type of questions."

Holly has over 98,000 followers on Instagram.

"My Instagram is now my full-time job. I've got the podcast now and a few other bits. It is a mad world, the whole social media thing and I love it. I think a lot of people have a love-hate relationship with it," she reflects.

"You can show products, like a new skincare brand or if it's a lipstick or hair spray, you can really show a good demo on how to use it. You kind of build a loyal following."

Speaking about how she developed the concept for her podcast, Holly said: "I've never had my own podcast but I've talked on other people's podcasts about my mental health.

"I kind of surprise the guests, by delving into their past and their life in social media and how they've grown through the years."

Filter Free with Holly Carpenter is available now.

Today's Headlines

More Irish Showbiz

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos