Athlone based model Tatyana Bryk pictured with comedian and presenter Tommy Tiernan.

Local model from Ukraine discusses online trolling and difficulties of war on RTÉ chat show

A Ukrainian refugee and successful model living in Athlone recently featured on an episode on The Tommy Tiernan Show and discussed how she has been trolled online for her decision to move to Ireland.

Tatyana Bryk from south Ukraine near Kherson, spoke about how hard it was to start a new life in Ireland while her parents remain in danger back home.

Tatyana explained: “There was a bunch of people messaging me, like, what are you talking about? We're here under bombs and everything, like you're safe and sound. What are you talking about? But I feel, no one's gonna understand how hard it is, really. You need to start a new life, you need to find a new job, you need to talk to people, while inside of you, you're a catastrophe.

“You want to go home, you want to meet your parents and know that they are safe, and everything is good. You have to keep this smiley face every time and say I'm fine and everything is good, but it's not.” She added that she feels guilty being way from the war.

Tatyana moved to Athlone from Ukraine in March 2022 and is currently living in a hotel whilst working three jobs to help support her family back home.

"We have a boy there and once I heard him crying just in front of the hotel because he lost all of his friends. They were fighting in Ukraine, super young boys, like 18/19 years old. They were fighting and they died. It's hard to wake up everyday. The first thing I'm checking when my mom was online.”

The local model added: “I'm not useful in Ukraine anymore. I need to give them money, support them, support Ukrainian soldiers.”

Tatyana is working in an office job for Bluebird Care which offer specialist home care services across Ireland. Along with working as a model she also does some social media work. Despite this, Tatyana said she wants to go back to Ukraine every day.

“It's hard to start a new life somewhere outside knowing that your parents are not safe. I feel like I can be at least useful to speak, to talk about what's happening. I wish I can do more. If it comes to this point that the Russian soldiers come into your home, oh my gosh, I'm 100% ready to protect everyone and everything in my home and I'm not feeling guilty at all.”

Speaking about when the war began in Ukraine, Tatyana said that in February 2022 she woke up to the sound of bombs and asked her mother what was going on. Her mother replied, 'war just started.'

“We heard that something may start, but we all were thinking like, oh my gosh, it's something crazy. It's not the best place to live now.”

Tatyana explained that her parents wanted her to leave Ukraine. “It was hard for my parents to see me staying during the war and they told me to go. I'm the only child in the family and they prefer me to be somewhere safe.”

The former winner of 'Next Top Model of Ukraine' said that the worst thing about the war for her is that her parents have become so used to the situation. “They used to bombs, they used to everything, to death. My Dad, he saw the deaths just like in front of him. When one of the rockets just landed to our land and he saw that. It's horrible.”

Tatyana continued: “We're praying for our soldiers... which are fighting every day. Every day they're fighting for our lives.”

Taking to Instagram after the interview aired on the Tommy Tiernan Show, Tatyana thanked RTE and Tommy "for the amazing opportunity to speak with my story.

"That interview was really hard for me emotionally. I hope people will understand (the) situation which is going (on) in Ukraine. Thank you Ireland for all your support."

Tatyana has modelled in cities like Paris, Singapore, London and Tel Aviv, and appeared in fashion's top magazines like Vogue, L'Officiel, Nylon Singapore, Marie Claire and Harper's Bazaar. She came to prominence recently as the star of a new campaign for the popular Knight & Day designer costume jewellery, and her story was featured in the Irish Times.