Princess Sofia‘s transition from a reality star and men’s magazine model to a Swedish royal was anything but easy.
“I was met with an enormous hate storm from people who had opinions about me as a person, about my relationship,” Sofia, 33, explained. “I was surprised and it definitely affected me. I didn’t understand that people had such need to express how badly they felt about me. It was very tough.”
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As a result of her own experiences, the Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia Foundation works to combat hate speech and online bullying.
“I was adult when this happened to me, so I can only imagine in a school environment and in other instances how big this can be in a child’s world,” she said in the interview. “They don’t have the same perspective on life and don’t have the understanding that it’s not really about you and that you should just see past it.”
The mother of two added, “For me, I learned to actively stay away from reading about myself. So in my world, I felt like things died down.”
Sofia said in an Instagram post shared to her joint account with her husband on Friday, “Yesterday I met TV4’s Casten Almqvist for a talk about children and adolescents’ lives online.” She added that she would appear at the Let’s Make Love Great Again festival in Stockholm over the weekend to speak about the issue.
During her days as a glamour model, a side job she pursued while studying in Stockholm, Hellqvist posed for Slitz, a Swedish men’s magazine, wearing just a bikini bottom and a boa constrictor.
The notoriety that came along with Slitz earned her a spot on the Swedish version of the reality show Paradise Hotel, a Real World and Survivor hybrid. The show follows a group of singles living in a luxury resort and pits them against each other to see who will remain at the hotel the longest. Sofia lasted until the final round on the show.
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Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip celebrated their third anniversary this summer and are parents to two sons — Prince Alexander, 2, and Prince Gabriel, who will turn 1 later this month.
“We do get glimpses that it’s going to be tougher with two than with one,” Sofia told Swedish magazine Kupé in November. “But there is also twice as much love.”