Heartbroken 21-year-old model Mairead O'Neill dies at home suddenly, just months after losing mum to cancer
Cathy Martin, the boss of the model agency that Mairead was signed to and who had worked with her for six years, said that she had huge potential as a model
One of the most promising models from Northern Ireland was suddenly found dead at her home on October 15. 21-year-old Mairead O'Neill graduated from college only this August. The paramedics were not able to save the bright young star. Mairead, who is from the Market area of Belfast, was pronounced dead on October 15 night.
Her sudden death has now sent shockwaves through the industry and among her friend circle who were all supporting the young model after the recent death of her mother, Karen Pelan, to cancer only 10 months ago. Cathy Martin, the boss of the model agency that Mairead was signed to and who had worked with her for six years, said that she had huge potential as a model.
Martin told Belfast Live in an interview: "It’s such a shock to hear that Mairead has passed away. We don’t know exactly what happened, but she has been having a very difficult time following the death of her mum from bowel cancer. She had a lot of support, but her heart was broken. It’s so sad to think that she is gone now too. Mairead was a clever, grounded and very smart young lady who was beautiful. She had been modeling for me for about six years and was doing very well."
Martin continued: "She had a lot of strengths and had a Kardashian look that people loved. But what was most charming about her is that she really had no idea that she had the world at her feet. She was a head turner in looks and personality. Feisty and shy, able and then sometimes a bit awkward, so young but wise too. She was lovely, but she had been utterly devastated by the death of her mum, and she had been struggling terribly with that. She had lost her anchor."
The young model was seen last by thousands when she modeled in Belfast Fashion Week, as a make-up artist for Oonagh Boman, and working with the latest Carl Frampton fight that took place in Belfast. She was spotted out socializing with two of her female friends on October 15 night at Pub Uglys before she went home.
Martin said: "She was just 21, she was studying hard, working on her modeling and trying to keep her head above water while grieving very deeply for her mum. Life was hectic and she relied on her friends for support. She always did her best but life had been very hard. There were a few moments when she was unable to model and she felt a bit overwhelmed. It was not a world she was that used to. She was just getting used to being beautiful and powerful in that way."
"To hear this morning that we’ll not see Mairead again is just devastating. She hit an impasse last night, and today she is not here to talk to. Rest in Peace Mairead. There will be many people today totally devastated by her death. So many people, myself included, say things like ‘my door is open’ or ‘ask for help’ or 'reach out,' but sometimes reaching out and asking for help - or even being in contact with others - is the last thing a person in despair is ready or able to do. And it makes me so sad that we are sometimes programmed that way."
Sassie, one of Mairead's friends, said: "I’m totally at a loss for words. Last night we lost the most beautiful girl inside and out. Mairead, you were caring and loving, free-spirited, fiery and beautiful. You will be missed by everyone who ever had the pleasure of meeting you. You were one hell of a girl. You will always be in my thoughts baby girl, love you with all my heart."
For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See samaritans.org for details