Model, digital content creator, columnist, and former Miss Universe Australia Maria Thattil came out as bisexual on a recent episode of the Australian reality television series I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Thattil, 28, who uses her platform to promote the LGBTQ+ youth support group Minus18, later revealed on social media and elsewhere she made the announcement after she was outed on a dating app.
“Growing up I always thought maybe a little bit bi-curious. And I’ve only ever dated straight people, but growing up I did have crushes on girls that I went to school with,” Thattil told fellow I’m a Celebrity campmate David Subritzky.
She said that as she got older, she only dated straight folks, but also found herself looking at and appreciating attractive women and questioning her sexual identity.
“And then before I came here [on the show], I was out at a party and I met a girl and we ended up hooking up,” she confided to the out Subritzky. “It just felt natural.”
Thattil, who is a graduate of the Melbourne Business School and also studied psychology, supports Minus18, which provides support to same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people in Australia according to its website, but she told Who she struggled with the honesty and authenticity of representing an LGBTQ+ support group when she was still in the closet.
“I was on this show, talking about this charity and it didn’t feel right because I knew I wasn’t being honest with myself,” she told Who. “If I’m going to put myself out there to talk about inclusion and having the courage to be yourself, then I better start walking the walk.”
After the episode aired, Thattil posted to her social media and opened up being outed on a dating app.
“I have dating apps and when I set my preferences to be both male and female, I got a message from a friend saying, ‘Someone just sent me a screenshot from your account and we think there is someone out there pretending to be you and catfishing people,’” she posted, adding she was worried someone might have seen her kissing a girl a party and describing the entire experience as “exhausting” at the time.
Now that she has come out, Thattil has changed her tune.
“It just feels bloody good to say it,” she said later on the show.