The youngest politician in an Australian parliament has recalled the horrifying moment photos of her working as a stripper while she was a student were leaked online.
Heavily tattooed Victorian Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell, 30, is the youngest woman in any Australian parliament and the second youngest ever to be elected to the state’s Legislative Council.
Her path to parliament has been beset by hurdles because of her ink and former life as a stripper, which left her open to attacks from trolls and political enemies.
Ms Purcell told Daily Mail Australia she was just 19 years old and studying law at university when a picture of her working as a stripper was leaked – and she thought her future dreams of working in law or politics were over.
Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell, 30, has recalled the horrifying moment photos of her working as a stripper were leaked online
Ms Purcell is the youngest woman in parliament and second youngest to be elected to the Victorian Legislative Council
Ms Purcell took up work as a topless waitress and stripper, and was also working at a post office, to try to make ends meet as she was living out of home while she studied.
Despite trying her best to keep her job private from her personal life, it all changed when she was tagged in a Facebook post.
‘I worked far away from where I studied and grew up so I wouldn’t meet anyone I knew, and while I felt there was nothing wrong with that line of work, I knew many others would think otherwise,’ she said.
‘Then one day I was sitting at the hairdresser and when I logged into Facebook, I saw I was tagged in a picture without my consent which showed me working as a stripper and there were tonnes of comments.
‘I grew up in a small country town in Geelong so everyone kind of knows everyone and it just spread really quickly and viciously.’
After the picture was shared, Ms Purcell said she felt her life wasn’t worth living any more, and thought her law career was over as she would never be viewed as a fit and proper person.
Trolls messaged her to tell her she was disgusting and should be ashamed – many from people she went to university with.
The abuse saw her withdraw from on-campus learning just two years into her five-year degree.
Ms Purcell said she was made to feel like a bad person because of her choice of work, which led to her eventual diagnosis with PTSD amid regular bouts of anxiety.
But after being employed as the chief of staff for former Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick, she decided to run for parliament herself, deciding to out the skeleton in the closet before a political enemy could use it against her.
‘Politics is so vicious and brutal that when you have political enemies, they will find out anything about you,’ Ms Purcell said.
‘So a couple of years in I shared my story, writing an opinion piece about what I had been through,’ Ms Purcell said.
‘We all have a past and digital footprint and for younger politicians, it is much more traceable than the average politician, so after I shared my story I felt the weight was lifted off my shoulders.
‘After I did it I became a new person. I gained self-confidence and because of my past I thought I could only be a spectator, not a participant but now two years later I am an elected MP, it has been a whirlwind experience.’
Ms Purcell also proudly archives her achievements and beliefs in the many tattoos inked on her body.
She has a tattoo of a wombat after she helped to bring in laws banning recreational shooting of the animal, and another of a duck, the next animal she intends to protect from shooters.
Ms Purcell revealed in an Instagram video in December that she has continued to be the target of cruel trolls because of her identity as a woman
Another one of her tattoos depicts a woman boxing next to the phrase, ‘stand your ground’.
She has also made a nod to her past in the adult entertainment industry with a tattoo of a stripper on a pole with the words, ‘real work’.
Ms Purcell revealed in an Instagram video in December that she has continued to be the target of cruel trolls because of her identity as a woman.
‘Another brain-dead bimbo covered in tats with no life experience and no idea what the really important issues are. This is going to be well-spent tax money,’ it read.
Ms Purcell wrote: ’24 hours as an MP and this is just one of many similar comments I’ve received.
‘I never thought parliament was a place for me because of dudes like this.
‘I want other women, young people and those with colourful backgrounds to see parliament is a place for them too.’
Ms Purcell wrote it was a ‘reality’ that women ‘usually have to work harder to be taken seriously’.
‘And then when we get where we want to be, we have to justify our ability to do the job, receive judgement on how we look and dress, and constantly recite our education and life experience,’ she wrote.
‘I knew this would happen in public life, but that doesn’t make it ok, and I want to make it clear that I won’t tolerate it.
‘PS – something tells me old mate wouldn’t approve of some of my work experience x’.
Ms Purcell said she is regularly contacted by young women asking for advice and says she likes ‘showing them they can do anything and there is no shame about it’.
‘The advice I give is there is nothing shameful about working in sex work or adult work when it is consensual,’ she said.
‘Those who should be ashamed are those who want to bring that out and try to destroy you by using it.
‘The narrative is shifting nowadays as if what happened to me in 2012 happened in 2023 it would be handled so differently and it is great to see how much we have moved forward as a society and how women are viewed.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk