After it came to light this week that Bachelor contestant Keira Maguire was raised in a cult and was the daughter of a convicted sex offender who had nine wives, the reality star has spoken out.
Keira was has been pegged as this year’s “villain”, showed a more vulnerable side as she appeared on The Project as she opened up about her upbringing in a polygamist cult.
"It sounds strange, but it just is what it is," a visibly distraught Maguire told host Carrie Bickmore. "I didn’t even have birthdays. I think I had my first birthday when I was seven. For other people, it might be really sad. But it’s not, because it’s my story."
Keira’s story was brought to the public’s attention when Woman’s Day published an expose on her past and her father, who was Ian Lowe, a former police constable who later changed his name to Alistah Laishkochav when he became the leader of a polygamous cult in the 1980s. The self-prescribed "spiritual guru" fathered 64 children to nine different wives before he was convicted of 20 child sex offences and one charge of reckless injury in 2000. He died in jail at the time of conviction, aged 71.
Keira’s mother Michelle removed her children from the cult when she was five.
"I just couldn’t believe that they wrote a story without coming to me and asking if it was OK," she added of the article, which reportedly even took producers of the show by surprise, who were told Keira’s father had died 30 years ago.
"I kind of knew that I was different. I didn’t want to tell people because I didn’t want to be judged,” she said. “I just, even in relationships with guys, ... I never opened up about it because I didn’t want them to judge me, because I’m not normal."
The 29-year-old, who is still in the running for Bachelor Richie Strahan’s affections on this year’s season of the show, says she feels a responsibility to let people know they "cannot be defined by anything that is out of your control".