Tour star and internet sensation Paige Spiranac has revealed the extent of cyber bullying she has received and just how much it affected her in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
Having been a part of the hugely popular swimsuit issue of the magazine, Spiranac revealed what she has gone through in her quest to become a star of the women’s game.
Spiranac first came to prominence on internet, amassing more than 1.3 million followers on Instagram after telling her golfing story via a host of videos as she worked her way through the collegiate system. In the videos—which often went viral and featured some incredible tricks—Spiranac brought and opened up the game to a whole new audience.
But when her chance came on the Ladies European Tour courtesy of a sponsors invite into the Dubai Ladies Masters two years ago, what followed wasn’t what Paige Spiranac had hoped for or anticipated. From the popularity of her Instagram to a torrent of hate and cyber bullying, Spiranac’s life flipped full circle.
Threats and abuse
It all centred around her choice of outfits and before even teeing it up for her first start as a professional, she received death threats, hate abuse and was left crying in her hotel room rather than being out on the course preparing for her Tour debut.
Spiranac tweeted: “Wow! Thank you for all the love and support today! It still hasn’t hit me that I’m going to be in the 2018 @SI_Swimsuit issue. But thank you for listening to my story and why I’m so passionate about stopping cyberbullying! Together we can all make a positive change. #bekind.”
That tweet was in response to the support she received after the interview. In it, she revealed her lowest points: “It really affected me. I was sitting in the bathroom just bawling and was like: ‘I don’t want to go through this pain, this feel of helplessness. Being alone. Scared’.
“And I said I never wanted anyone to feel the way I felt in that moment. How scared I was. How helpless I felt in that I was bullied so bad to the point that I didn’t want to live anymore.
“People of all walks of life are cyberbullied every single day and that’s not okay. It’s time we start supporting the victims instead of telling them to delete social media or ignore the hate. It’s time we made a difference, so I’ve dedicated a significant portion of my time to helping others.”
A stricter dress code
Paige Spiranac has made a success of life as a professional, winning for the first time on the Cactus Tour in 2016. A year later, however, the consequences of her success were rippling through the LPGA Tour again as executives opted to tighten the dress code that she—and others—had adopted when making appearances on the United States’ top tier of the ladies game.
The LPGA made the decision to ban shirts with low-cut necklines, leggings were banned, as were short skirts. Spiranac spoke up against the decision, but it was introduced all the same. Now the young American will be hoping to let her golf do the talking in 2018.