It was the year that everything changed: not only on stay home orders but also our priorities due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

That trip that you had planned to Italy after all this time? Cancelled. Your wedding to the love of your life? Cancelled. And the Hens’ Parties in Byron. Sorry, nope, not today.

As planes all over the world were grounded and international travel all but came to a screeching halt due to the outbreak of COVID-19, there seems to be one particular brand of person able to break through the iron curtains and strict laws that are holding everyone else back.

But, in the midst of the madness that kept —, and continues to keep us indoors and away from our loved ones —, there are some people who continue to move somewhat freely between borders, and they all have one thing in common: the blue tick.

Fleeing Melbourne Lockdown

During the peak of COVID-19 in Victoria, Melbourne residences were plunged into one of the harshest lockdowns globally, spending 111 consecutive days in Stage 4 lockdown. A tough ask on the residents, and perhaps a little too tough for some of our beloved reality stars. 

Perhaps it is a little hard to post content from your backyard, and even harder to train and workout. Collectively we watched Bachelor and MAFS stars peel away. 

Timm Hanly gained popularity after Angie Kent chose Carlin Sterritt over him on The Bachelorette Australia 2019, before he appeared o Bachelor in Paradise in 2020. Timm is now most famous (or infamous) for his fu*kboi character arc and his 80s’ inspired clothing line Front Runner. 

With only so much content that can be produced from his balcony, an outspoken Timm left for the bluer waters and greener pastures found in Sydney. But before he could endure an expensive two week hotel quarantine, he was back where he belonged. Partying, advertising booze in the midst of his claims of sobriety. His jumpers were ill-fitting, his hair was unkempt, but his brand could be retained. 

Another reality TV blue tick bandit who abandoned ship was MAFS’ Amanda Micallef. Amanda pulled no punches when talking about the heavy restrictions in place before launching a Go Fund Me to support her and her cat Smokey with their move to the Gold Coast. 

Fellow MAFS’ alum Hayley Vernon also hit the road from Melbourne’s harsh lockdowns, but not before she participated in the controversial anti mask rallies all around the city. Her and her fellow COVID-denying comrades took to the streets to demand their civil liberties be reinstated. 

After using her voice for “good”, Hayley hopped, skipped and jumped on up to the breeding ground for blue tick bandits – Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

COVID19 International Travel Restrictions

But far beyond the beach calling their names, it seems other influencers heard the cry of international borders. As Australia’s borders became even harder to break through, the government put six rules in place that provide travel exemption:

  • Your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid
  • Your travel is for your business or employer
  • You are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • You are travelling on compassionate or compelling grounds
  • You are travelling for urgent or unavoidable personal business
  • Your travel is in the national interest.

Turns out our influencers have jobs in high places, as they found a way to make it through the strict border closures, through means of major career developments in whole new fields! We really do have some talented blue ticks! 

When The Bachelor Australia 2018 tied runner-up Brittany Hockley started dating pro-tennis player Jordan Thompson, it seemed like absence was going to make the heart grow fonder and, there was an international tour due to kick-off. So as to be closer to her bae, Brittany — a woman of many talents added yet another string to her bow, tennis programmer!

The brunette babe joined the ranks of the professional tennis players’ entourage as she announced she had taken up a role on Jordan’s team. This promotion from her former role as a radiographer to tennis programming also granted Britt one special ticket – a plane ticket out of here! 

In preparation for Wimbledon, Britt was able to use presumably employer rights (maybe national interest? Who knows!) to join her boyfriend on the sunny beaches of Mallorca, Spain. 

In the face of backlash, she took to her Instagram to explain the bubble that she was living in, and that 90% of the time she’d be working. Since touching down, Britt had been lucky enough to see Mallorca, London, and Rhode Island on America’s east coast. That’s one lucky career move!

Joining Bachelor babes by-passing Australia’s borders was The Bachelor Australia’s 2019 contestant Helena Sauzier. The Mauritius beauty found love in professional sailor Tom Slingsby. The Olympic medalist sailor had to leave to sail the seven seas and it turns out he needed an Executive Assistant to join him. Helena abandoned the ship of being a Marketing Officer and took the ropes of the coveted position. She left her post and joined him on the tropical island of Bermuda where she continues to work and play.

But, it’s not just Bachie babes that have found work that gives them the right to travel. MAFS’ star Tamara Joy was recently seen taking to the skies, landing down in Manchester. It’s unclear what Tamara does for work, but it’s important enough to get her to the UK, where she is living with fitness influencer and UK Love Islander Thomas Powell. She even managed to get over the borders again into Wales, and most recently sighted in Greece – lucky! 

Celebrities Coming Into Australia 

Even harder than it is to get out of Australia is to enter. With tens of thousands of Aussies awaiting their opportunity to finally come home, the priorities seem to be all over the place with who’s allowed.

One of the OG reality TV stars Charlotte Crosby was able to enter Australia. Rumoured to have been part of The Masked Singer cast, the UK citizen was mysteriously let into the country, and not for our onscreen entertainment. 

Reports say Charlotte was able to break through the iron curtain holding residents back to promote her podcast Values and Vibrators along with “several other jobs.” The trip was somewhat shrouded in mystery, and perhaps the odd critique, as the growing frustration of abandoned Australians reached new heights.

Charlotte is in good company of celebs who’ve come to our more COVID safe shores, including; Zach Efron, Natalie Portman, Mark Whalberg to name but a few.

But, perhaps the one that has been the tipping point for frustration is far-right commentator Katie Hopkins. The controversial Brit, who has been previously linked to extreme racist comments, fatphobia as well as being removed from Twitter for hate-speech was given an exemption to compete on, of all things, Big Brother Australia VIP 2021.

However, upon landing into our strict hotel quarantine measures, the “pull no punches” competitor went into a tirade on her Instagram, calling COVID a “hoax”, criticising the harsh measures for incoming travellers, all before threatening to jump out “naked and masked” to hotel workers when getting food.

The comments were met with huge criticism, and since the video was released, Channel 7 and Endemol Shine confirmed that she would no longer be gracing our screens (win!). 

“Seven Network and Endemol Shine Australia confirm that Katie Hopkins is not part of Big Brother VIP,” said the statement.

“Seven and Endemol Shine strongly condemn her irresponsible and reckless comments in hotel quarantine.”

So, where does it end? With Australians having been separated from their families and loved ones for over 18 months now (at the time of publication), the system is feeling more than a little flawed. From births, to deaths, to weddings – major life events are being done over Zoom. Our resilience is starting to waver as the time drags on. 

But, where does the privilege finish? The blue ticks are able to jump ship and find legally right but morally questionable loopholes that have led them to live the lives that we can only imagine from our 5km radius. Who do we shift the blame to? Is it the flawed system or the privilege from within the blue tick community? 

Only time will be the answer for this, but as more blue ticks board planes the frustration will only continue to grow and at an exponential rate.

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