News People Dear Schapelle. Here’s some uncommon sense on starting over
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Dear Schapelle. Here’s some uncommon sense on starting over

schapelle corby
Schapelle Corby sported a hood and a William Tyrrell-themed handbag as she left Bali. Photo: AAP
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Dear Schapelle,

According to reports, you’re holed up in a five-star Brisbane hotel contemplating how to run the media gauntlet to be reunited with your family at your mum’s place in Loganlea.

I believe the first part but for mine, the family reunion is a furphy and supporters will, for now, be popping the corks without you.

Hiring a “bodyguard to the stars” and opening an Instagram account hours before leaving Bali on May 27 then posting a selfie—teasingly, your head was covered and bowed—gave us a reasonable idea of what’s next in this weird ongoing scenario.

The bit where you bypassed the normal exit at Brisbane airport and instead were raced off in a convoy of decoy cars confirmed it.

And I’m saying now—don’t do it. Don’t do what we all think you’re going to do. Don’t tell your story. Odds are that in the last few months, when you knew you would be deported from Bali 13 years after being convicted of drug smuggling, the media came calling.

Of course, the proceeds of crime laws prevent you from making money from your criminal past. Of course, there are ways around that.

Your family has denied it, but if I was a betting woman I’d be putting a lazy $20 on you showing up very soon on a Sunday night current affairs show to take us Inside Schapelle’s New Life. (That will be followed by a hand-in-glove magazine cover story.)

You’ll be artfully styled to look like the girl-next-door beauty therapy student you were when you were arrested at a Denpasar airport in 2004, your boogie board cover stuffed with over 4kgs of marijuana.

You will be asked if you’re being paid anything. You will deny it, and say you just want people to learn from your cautionary tale. All this was signalled when you posted seven times on Instagram as you left Bali.

That wasn’t just because you’re a normal 39-year-old who finally wants a social media life. Your actions—the covered face, switching flights at the last minute to prevent media access to you on the flight—suggests you’re not terrified of being seen, but instead are using the opportunity to create a mystique that is invaluable for publicity.

The bodyguard who has looked after Roger Federer and the Dalai Lama seems a giveaway. Who’s paying for him? Who paid for the duplicated business flights home? And what’s next? Maybe Schapelle eating bugs in the I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here jungle. Or a wellness blog.

Again, confound a reasonably skeptical Australian public and stay private. Keep things classy. Remember: you’re not famous. You’re infamous.

Apologies if I have this the wrong way around and you really do plan to spend the next months adjusting away from the spotlight. If that’s the case, just go about your daily life.

Yes, the media will follow you, but only for a while. The more photos of you that are out there—head up, smiling—the less valuable they are to anyone.

As I used to tell my kids when they were chased in the primary school playground, if you stop running nobody can hunt you.

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