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The 28-year-old, who is currently competing on season eight of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! for the LGBTQIA+ charity Minus18, said that she hasn’t always been open about her sexuality because it caused her shame when she was in school.
“It is something I have felt for a very long time,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
“I grew up having crushes on girls in school and just completely invalidated it because of religion and also because there were many homophobic sentiments in my school around being a lesbian, around anything other than heteronormativity.”
Maria went on to say that people often don’t understand what bisexuality is because there isn’t a lot of representation in popular culture and mainstream media.
“The way I think about it is that sexuality is fluid,” she continued. “It is very heavily judged and therefore people don’t come out so it is a vicious cycle. It is important not to box people in.”
Following the interview, the model took to Instagram on Wednesday night and revealed that she was “scared” to come out publicly as she had only told “a handful of people” about her sexuality before going on the reality show.
“A lack of bisexual visibility for most of my life has meant that the experience was confusing and there were parallels to other experiences I had with social identity,” she wrote. “Fear of falling in between the cracks, never fully finding a place in myself.
“No longer a secret to protect but a part of me to celebrate.”
Maria’s candid confession comes as she and her fellow I’m A Celebrity campmate Joey Essex have been sparking up a romance in the ‘jungle’.
In a recent episode, the pair spoke openly about the qualities they look for in a potential partner while holding hands in front of the other contestants.
“I like people who are adventurous, creative and open,” Maria said.
“I’ve pretty much got all those things haven’t I?” Joey replied. “I’m just saying. If there was like a piece of paper with a load of boxes, I reckon every one would be ticked.”
The Only Way Is Essex star admitted during his confessional that “something is there”, while Maria said they’ve “hit it off really, really well”.
While Joey has since returned to the UK after filming wrapped late last year, Maria recently told The Daily Telegraph that they are still in contact.
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