BECOMING a teenage housewife, not being able to read or write and skiving from school are all the myths plaguing travellers, but these sisters are on a mission to bust them.
With 10 GCSEs, grades A to C between them, and in no rush to marry, Caitlin, 18, and Lizzy Mac, 20, prove the travelling community isn’t holding them back.
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In the third of our six-part exclusive series with Fabulous, the Caravan Queens will be talking about receiving an education, and why they’re not leaving it down to a man to sort their future out.
Lizzy says: “Loads of people think travellers don’t go to school, and have zero education but every single traveller that I know of goes to primary school.
“Then some people go on to high school and some people go on to have tutors at home.
“But for me and Caitlin it was very important to us to have a full education, and we are really proud of ourselves for it.”
Caitlin and Lizzy both went to primary school and then to an all-girl Catholic secondary school, in St Albans, Herts.,
Lizzy says: “Me and Caitlin have very different school experiences even though there are two years between each other.
“I hated it. It wasn’t the school work that was a problem for me, I got on with that fine, it was socially.
“I joined our secondary school halfway through year eight after changing from another school, and it was really intimidating for me and I literally didn’t have any friends and it stayed that way throughout school. Everyone had already formed their own cliques, and I felt I couldn’t.
For me and Caitlin it was very important to us to have a full education, and we are really proud of ourselves for it.”
“I would be in the library, for break time and lunchtime. I think for me the most embarrassing part was going to the canteen, getting my lunch and sitting by myself.
“But it helped me focus on school, I would go home with no homework to do because I did it at school.
“School isn’t all about having friends, and so I literally passed everything.”
Caitlin adds: “I actually really enjoyed secondary school, the only thing I hated about it was getting up early. What teenager wants to do that? And the second one was homework.
WATCH THE THIRD EPISODE OF CARAVAN QUEENS EXCLUSIVELY ON FABULOUS' YOUTUBE CHANNEL
“I feel like in every community, everywhere in the world, school is important. How else are you supposed to, read and write?”
The girls both studied English, Maths, Science, History, Religious Studies, while Caitlin did Business studies, Food and Nutrition and Lizzy did Textiles at GCSE level.
Caitlin says: “For most of the traveller community, it is more common for boys and girls to get tutored at home.
I actually really enjoyed secondary school, the only thing I hated about it was getting up early. What teenager wants to do that?
“We both have all of our GCSE’s, I was extremely shocked when I went in to get my results. I said, ‘is this correct?!’”
“I was very interested in food, and I am the cook at home as well.
“We both did history which we really, really love and we always watch period dramas.
“We love historic films, like the Duchess, Pride and Prejudice, My Cousin Rachel, Anna, The Other Boleyn sister, the list goes on. We like the ones set in the 1600s, 1800s.”
Lizzy adds: “I am obsessed with history. Whenever I go to a new place, I am always researching the history of it.
“It is just so interesting to me, people find it weird that I like old movies, but I got a B in history, so I am really proud of myself.
“I did business, because I have plans to start up my own company one day.
“And I did textiles, because I love fashion. I am not the best at sewing, but for me it is for the designer part, I can imagine things and think yeah I am going to bring that to life.”
After GCSEs Lizzy went on to do A Levels, and took Sociology and Business studies, while Caitlin went to study hair and beauty at college.
Lizzy says: “I got into it for a year, but realised that it wasn’t something I wanted to do and so I dropped out sixth form.
“I tried to do some online courses, to get more skills and studied interior design before going on to work on my modelling and social media.”
Since they began sharing their lives on TikTok in 2019, the sisters have racked up over 447k followers, with fans fascinated by this glimpse into a world traditionally shrouded in secrecy.
Lizzy says: “A lot of people say travellers can’t read but that was like 100 years ago. Everyone can read or write, or they wouldn’t know how to use social media.
“Times are changing, especially for our generation. I know loads of people who have so many qualifications, schools, people going to college to get diplomas, it is really different now. We are in 2021.
“Every traveller that I know of goes to school, every single child goes to primary school, some go to secondary school, some get home tutored, and some will go to college to do apprenticeships.
“It is a mix of everything, it depends how important it is to them.
“If they know what they are doing after school, then they won’t even go to college or anything like that, there is no point in wasting your time.
“If you never went to school you taught yourself because social media is a big thing.
“The older generation use Facebook, the younger use Instagram, and I think you can teach yourself how to read anyway.
“There are some people you can’t read. Mostly the older generation though, I don’t know anyone young who can’t read.”
Caitlin adds: “A lot of people ask travellers, why don’t you go to school? Why do you have to get home tutored?
A lot of people ask travellers, why don’t you go to school? Why do you have to get home tutored? It is because there is a lot of bullying in school.
“It is because there is a lot of bullying in school. We never got bullied because we didn’t tell people we were travellers.
“But I know some others have had it hard, and get told some stupid things, and it gets a lot harder when you get into high school.”
There are no rules to mixing with non-travellers, but the girls admit they have a limited amount of friends from school.
Caitlin says: “I have friends in secondary school and they narrowed down over the years, especially when I left.
“But I still have one friend from secondary school that is a non traveller, she didn’t even realise I was a traveller, she just thought I was irish.
“We never invited them back to our site though, not for any particular reason.”
The sisters also want to bust the myth that every female of the traveller community is forced into being a housewife.
Lizzy says: “It is a personal choice, no one can force you to do anything that you don’t want to.
“Everyone thinks that all female travellers are housewives, it's like no. Not anymore.
“I know loads of girls that are cleaners, and so they earn their way through that, I know some girls who sell things online and outfits and shoes and stuff.
“Plenty of girls who are bloggers, so they get gifted things as well. Times are changing, especially with social media.
I know loads of traveller girls who are cleaners and earn their way through that, and others who are bloggers
“People are finding different ways to have a job and make money, instead of sitting behind a desk.”
Now the sisters are using their social media presence to show how their generation lives — and to dispel a few misconceptions about their community – while promoting their outfits they have created, and creating a modelling portfolio.
Lizzy says: “We are really getting into fashion and designing and making clothes.
“I love making clothes, it is my passion. I think of a new outfit, that nobody else has worn and do it up.
“For now, I am just pursuing everything I want. There are no restrictions on your life.”
Caitlin says: “This is your life and you live it the way you want to live it. I think if you really want to do something, then you’ll go for it.
“Everyone has their own ideas now and so I don’t think it’s fair to say all travellers are housewives. No you’ll get a mix.”
Previously, Caravan Queens revealed how their home is full of gold china, diamante sofas & Dunelm buys as well as a trailer for their designer bags.
And before that the Caravan Queens revealed people call them ‘Pikeys’, and think they wed at 14 & say they can’t read or write, but revealed the truth.
Follow the sisters @caitlinkmac & @lizzyymac for more updates on Instagram and you can also follow them on TikTok .
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