Faithful contestant Mollie Pearce on The Traitors

Faithful Mollie Pearce said Harry had played an "excellent game"


Mollie Pearce might have fallen at the final hurdle of The Traitors and lost the £95k prize, but the model and healthcare assistant finds some comfort in what she achieved in opening up on her "double whammy" of disability - limb difference and living with a stoma.

"I call my stoma Sid," Mollie makes clear on the BBC's Access All podcast. "I'm very proud of Sid. He's helped me in a lot of ways."

Sid the stoma came into Mollie's life just a few years ago when she was 18 (she turned 22 on Sunday, 48 hours after the epic TV final).

Mollie had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis aged 11. The autoimmune condition causes inflammation in the large intestine triggering ulcers and debilitating pain.

It came to dominate her teenage years stopping certain basic activities and the number of school days missed.

"When I was suffering with ulcerative colitis I couldn't be away from a toilet," she says.

Aged 18 she underwent "massive" surgery to have her colon removed and her small intestine diverted out of an opening in her abdomen known as a stoma.

"That colons in the bin," she says theatrically. "Now, my small intestine sticks outside of my stomach and I have a stoma bag over the top, which collects my waste.

"I would never have been able to do the missions in the middle of a field or the middle of a loch. So actually having a stoma bag is the best thing I've ever done."

It was something the Bristolian opened up about in the penultimate episode of this year's series when the final five were enjoying a celebratory dinner.

"I really struggled to get my head around the fact that I was going to have a stoma," she told her fellow finalists. "I wasn't prepared for it. Eighteen-years-old, you kind of want to be out enjoying yourself with your friends, not having this life changing surgery."

She says it felt right to open up at that point in the game.

"We'd got to the final and we were just celebrating. It just made me realise how far I'd come from that girl who was so unwell and couldn't leave the house."

An energetic island hopping trip around Greece two summers ago with her boyfriend, had given Mollie the confidence to take up the offer of appearing on The Traitors and take on the physical challenges including swimming and climbing, while wearing a stoma bag.

"I loved the physical missions," she says. "They were such a good break from all the mind games and it was a really good bonding experience. Sid's given me the kind of option to do these things."

In terms of the practicalities, Mollie says she didn't need any extra support throughout the series, and she got into a good routine. She changed her bag every three to four days and emptied it whenever she visited the loo.

Having ulcerative colitis was something going on inside her body whereas she has a much more visible impairment too.

The Traitors contestants Harry Clark. Andrew Jenkins, Evie Morrison, Jaz Singh and Mollie Pearce pictured with presenter Claudia Winkleman
Image caption,
Host Claudia Winkleman with contestants (left to right) Harry, Andrew, Evie, Jaz and Mollie

She says living with an invisible illness has been much harder to explain to people than her limb difference on her right hand. Without the visual evidence she has found people often think "you look so healthy but, really you are suffering so much."

As well as working as a hospital healthcare assistant in Bristol, it was Mollie's limb difference which landed her a glamorous side hustle - what she describes as "disability modelling".

"I saw a model in Primark who had one arm and I'd never seen a disability model before," she says.

"The way that model made me feel in that moment…I was like 'that is how I want to be for other people'."

Molly was initially signed as a model with limb difference, but now she is very comfortable showing off Sid too.

"It's a double whammy," she jokes. "Who doesn't want someone with one hand and a stoma bag?"

She says the reaction from her sto-mates, people who also have stomas, to her being on the show and modelling has been "amazing".

"It can be a bit of a taboo and I think it's super important that we do advocate for it, especially when it comes to younger people."

Molly says it was a "strange" time between finishing filming The Traitors and it coming out on TV - a gap of several months.

"You have this crazy experience and this massive adventure and then that's it. I was back working as a healthcare assistant at the hospital and you obviously can't talk to anyone about it."

At that point she was still coming to terms with the treachery Harry Clarke had served her, and which the nation had yet to see.

The Traitors winner Harry Clark with presenter Claudia Winkleman

Harry said his "legs were shaking" as he was named the winner of The Traitors

Harry - one of the original three traitors - and, faithful, Mollie were the last players standing, after both voted to eliminate faithful Jaz Singh.

In the final moments of the series, Mollie had started to write Harry's name down for banishment, before changing her mind and voting for Jaz, leaving just her and Harry standing.

Her decision meant Harry won all £95,150 of the prize money - as if any traitors remain at the end of the game they take all the gold for themselves.

"Me and Harry are fine," she insists for the umpteenth time since leaving the castle.

"As a group we were super close. We were together every day, all day. You do build real bonds and also you don't have communication with your family and friends, they are your support system.

"It's hard finding out your friend's been lying to you, but I stuck with my heart and I am not going to hate myself for that."


From BBC




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