Former GCN cover girl, Dublin Pride grand marshal and all-around Irish legend Rebecca de Havilland is set to make history as Ireland’s first Trans TV show presenter.
The Trans trailblazer will grace our screens with her new reality TV show, Second Chance Bootcamp, as part of Virgin Media’s autumn lineup. Inspired by hardships in Rebecca’s life, the show will offer a second chance to those in Ireland whose lives have been derailed by unfortunate circumstances such as addiction, Direct Provision, abusive relationships or prison, The Irish Examiner reports.
No stranger to unfortunate circumstances, Rebecca says that she lost her career overnight when she was outed as Transgender in the ’90s.
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“Literally I was in the Sunday papers and by Friday I had nothing,” she said of her former career as a model agent. As clients left her agency and her livelihood crumbled away, Rebecca turned to drugs and sex work and then had to face a diagnosis of HIV at a time when medication wasn’t an option. She was told she had approximately two years to live.
“In that time, Rebecca has gone from enormous success as a model agency owner, stylist and a hairdresser, and then when she started her Trans journey, the media turned on her and everything went wrong,” said producer Bill Hughes, who has known Rebecca for over four decades. “Rebecca turned to drink, drugs and everything. She went all the way down to the bottom of the ladder.”
"It's really important that the people are aware … that it's not this killer disease, this tombstone fallen out of the sky; that was my era." – Rebecca shares how she survived her #HIV diagnosis pre-medication. Don't miss #LIVING at @CHQ until Dec 17. https://t.co/xWXpUyfsGS pic.twitter.com/ZtmaE4MU7E
— Gay Community News (@GCNmag) December 12, 2021
“This was devastating because for me that moment in time my world stopped forever, I never got that back…” said Rebecca. “So I lost everything, and I just thought to myself, what am I going to do? But I didn’t give up hope, I just thought to myself I am going to still fight for whatever I can.”
Rebecca reclaimed her life 16 years ago while she was living in London, and that led to her first presenter role for a bootcamp show in which she offered her stylist expertise, empathy and support to Transgender people as they made their own transitions. Second Chance Bootcamp will seek to offer that same support and empathy to people from all walks of life as they get back on their feet after facing hardships.
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“I think programmes like what we’re about to do will change things,” Rebecca said. “For a start, people are going to see a Trans woman on mainstream television as a TV presenter.”
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