Zara McDermott is recreating herself as documentary maker

Zara McDermott isn't ashamed of her reality TV beginnings

Zara McDermott is recreating herself as a documentary maker. (BBC)
Zara McDermott is recreating herself as a documentary maker. (BBC)

Zara McDermott has been recreating herself in the spotlight as a documentary maker after rocketing to fame as a reality star.

The TV personality made her name on Love Island as a late entry bombshell in 2018. While she may only have been in the Mallorcan villa for 10 days before she was dumped from the island without her then boyfriend Adam Collard, she made an impact.

It was a huge talking point at the time when McDermott waited for Collard to leave the villa and they rekindled their relationship, but the exes split seven months later.

McDermott previously worked for the Department of Education but the 10 days on Love Island were enough to propel the starlet into the public eye. Now, in stark contrast, McDermott returns to our TVs to front BBC Three documentary The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok about the tragic murders of four Idaho University students.

The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok

Zara McDermott fronts BBC Three documentary The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok. (BBC)
Zara McDermott fronts BBC Three documentary The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok. (BBC)

McDermott travelled to the small town of Moscow, Idaho, where the murders took place to get to the heart of the story behind the social media frenzy. Having first learned about the crimes on social media, now the documentary maker meets with online true crime sleuths who have their own theories about the case, which has attracted nearly 2 billion views on TikTok worldwide.

McDermott explained: "I’ll be investigating the social media interest around the tragic murder case of the University of Idaho students which captured the minds of many around the world. I’m keen to find out why true crime is such a big topic online and the impact on those involved."

BBC Three head of content Nasfim Haque praised the star for her work on documentaries. Haque said: "Zara has presented a number of powerful documentaries for BBC Three which relate to young audiences. With her great ability in exploring sensitive subject matters, Zara approaches this film with a deep level of care and understanding for the victims and the case as a whole."

Zara McDermott's documentaries

Zara McDermott tackles revenge porn in a new documentary. (BBC / Summer Films / Slater King)
Zara McDermott tackles revenge porn in two documentaries. (BBC / Summer Films / Slater King)

McDermott has been making her mark on the documentary spheres by fronting a number of documentaries tackling serious topics. In 2021, she made documentaries Revenge Porn and Uncovering Rape Culture in which she looked at the impact of revenge porn, having had this happen to her twice in her life time, saying: "I’d say it does still affect me to this day."

The first time it happened, McDermott was just 14 years old at school. She was a victim of revenge porn again when she starred on Love Island. In the documentary, the tearful star said: "I can’t even tell you the feeling, feeling like your parents are ashamed of you." She added: "How will they look at me the same ever again? It was so embarrassing. I just wanted to die."

McDermott also tackled the sensitive subject of eating disorders in her documentary Disordered Eating 2022. In contrast, the BBC documentary maker also made the show Inside Ibiza where she tried to grasp the understanding the Ibiza phenomenon.

Additionally, McDermott starred in documentary Gaia: A Death on Dancing Ledge which tried to shine a light on the tragic circumstances around the death of 19-year-old Gaia Pope-Sutherland in 2017.

Not ashamed of reality TV

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima were sent home from Strictly in Halloween week. (BBC)
Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima were sent home from Strictly in Halloween week. (BBC)

With her documentary credits, it's understandable to see why McDermott was introduced as a "documentary maker" when she starred on Strictly Come Dancing. But Strictly fans were confused as they felt her Love Island appearance was what she was best known for. Plus, Dermott had made waves in the TV world as the first ever Love Island contestant to compete on BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.

McDermott always maintained she is "not ashamed" of her reality TV beginnings. The TV star revealed she had worked incredibly hard to graft her position in the spotlight and she feels she has proven herself to the world.

She told The Sun: "My background of reality TV isn’t something I’m ashamed of at all – I’m proud of where I’ve come from. There is some stigma around reality television, and I’ve never quite understood it. You should never judge a young person for grabbing an opportunity.

"It was amazing and all those experiences have brought me to this point. I’ve worked hard to get where I am. Ten days on Love Island doesn’t compare to the documentaries that have taken years and years to make. I definitely feel like I’ve proven myself."

Sam Thompson

Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson have been loved up since 2019. (Getty)
Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson have been loved up since 2019. (Getty)

As well as Love Island, McDermott joined the cast of Made In Chelsea when she started going out with her partner Sam Thompson in 2019. It was the fly-on-the-wall series that made Thompson famous and their love story was rocked by McDermott's cheating scandal, which happened when she starred on The X Factor: Celebrity. The emotional fallout played out on Made In Chelsea's series which led to Thompson giving her a second chance.

However, Made In Chelsea wasn't forever as the pair quit but continued to work on their dreams of huge TV careers. As McDermott waltzed into the Strictly ballroom, Thompson jetted off to the I'm A Celebrity jungle in Australia. While McDermott was unlucky on Strictly, she was likeable. Meanwhile, Thompson was crowned the king of the jungle after wowing audiences with his energetic nature and his openness about his attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis.

Entertainment and TV PR of Press Box Lynn Carratt predicted McDermott and Thompson could become the next Richard and Judy. At the time, she told Yahoo: "Zara is currently making a name for herself as a documentary presenter. Who knows, the pair could be the next Richard and Judy in the making."

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