'We're all human' Stylist Fiona Fagan hopes for change after passing of close friend, Caroline Flack
“Someone has lost their life here..."
Stylist Fiona Fagan says that she hopes real change will be prompted by the death of her close friend, Caroline Flack.
The Dancing With The Stars stylist - who has known Caroline personally and professionally for years - says that she wants to see a shift in the way people speak to celebrities online following the Love Island host's passing in her home last week.
Fiona says that she still feels "quite numb" following the the devastating news.
"I was speaking on a radio show this morning and I just sounded so sad, I could hear it in my voice," she tells Her.
"I am still in shock. I woke up this morning and I was thinking that it hadn’t happened. I’m heartbroken for her, for her family, for her sister. It’s devastating.”
Fiona met Caroline 20 years ago when they were both working as dancers in London.
Directing her own career towards fashion and styling, Fiona watched Caroline move through presenting gigs from Gladiators to The Xtra Factor, and eventually to Love Island.
This level of celebrity gave Caroline increased visibility in the public eye - a change that Fiona says didn't always have a positive impact on her friend.
"I could see that social media was taking over her life," she says. "She was constantly on Twitter and Instagram reading what was being said.
"I don’t think I realised at the time the level of fame that a show like [Love Island] attracts, but it’s another level. We had paparazzi following us and taking pictures of us while we’re on holiday."
Fiona says that there is often a belief that people with considerable social media followings can deal with online abuse more efficiently - purely because they're celebrities.
“But they’re human beings too," she says.
"Caroline was really fragile. She was insecure, she had body issues just like the rest of us. But when you’ve got all these messages coming in saying ‘You look fat,’ and ‘you’re awful,’ nobody can take that.
"Just because you’re famous and you have this massive platform, doesn’t mean that you’re resilient to trolls or to negative comments. We’re all human.”
In the days since Caroline's passing, there has been an influx of tweets, Instagram posts, and pleas from users asking others to be more mindful of what they say online.
Among them are the thousands of reshares of one of Caroline's older Instagram posts - words that read: "In a world where you can be anything, be kind."
“Someone has lost their life here so there has to be a change," says Fiona. "You can't just say these things on Twitter or Instagram and get away with it.
"If you sent an abusive letter to somebody there would be consequences, there has to be a level of that here too. It can’t go on.”
If you have been affected by this story, you can contact the Samaritans on 116-123.