Before the war in Ukraine, Tatyana Bryk had already achieved what many could only dream of.

A trained pharmacist, the 24-year-old had built a successful modelling career, spending three months working in Malaysia when she was just 16, before going on to come third place in Ukraine's Next Top Model and to later nab the crown in an all-stars reunion of the show.

This was in no small way down to her mother who filled out the first form on her behalf. It was also her mother who convinced her to flee Ukraine in the hopes of continuing her career, when the war broke out on February 24.

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"My mom manipulated me", she tells The Ryan Tubridy Show, laughing. "She told me, maybe if you're going to leave, everything is going to be okay, we're going to rent a house, me and your dad are going to come.

"When I came to Ireland I was like, mom, I got the job, I have everything covered, all good. She was like, we're going to stay."

Since moving to Ireland in March, Tatyana says the worst thing is that her parents have become "used" to the ongoing war.

"It's not safe. I don't want to say this but my father, he saw it in front of him how people died because of the rocket. It was the second time I heard my father crying. He was panicking, he was in shock and shaking.

"The first time I heard him cry was when my parents were putting me on a train to go outside from Ukraine."

Tatyana herself has had to witness her share of deeply traumatising sights, not least when she made the challenging journey from Ukraine to Ireland. "When I came to Ireland I took one or two months off because I was really traumatised by what I saw in Ukraine", she tells Ryan.

"To come to Ireland it took four days. What traumatised me is basically, my train station in my hometown was bombed so I couldn't get a train to the west part of Ukraine to go to Poland. So my parents took me to Odessa.

"From Odessa it was I think the worst of what I've seen in my life. Thousands and thousands of people and there was only one train. When it came, everyone started to run ... under the sound of explosions."

She recalls the station being crowded with women, children, all running for the single train. "On one seat on the train, we had four people. Some people were standing for seven, eight hours. I was not sleeping at all because I couldn't even sit.

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Once in west Ukraine she stood in line for an entire day to get to another train to Poland, she says. "You see old people crying, kids, no food." She recalls locals in the city trying to give travellers food because they were losing consciousness.

A particularly heart-wrenching moment came when as she was waiting to board a train for Poland, the conductor announced there were only two seats left.

"I was standing [with] one kid and his mother. His mother wanted to give this kid to his grandparents which are in Poland, and she wanted to stay in Ukraine. She heard 'two people' and she gave me her child. She was like, Go, take him! Go!'"

Tatyana spent the train journey trying to get the child to eat some chocolate, but managed to get him to his grandparents. From there, she took a bus to Warsaw and finally onto Ireland.

"I think I lost around 10 or 15kg because I was not eating anything for four or five days.

She highlighted how much help she has received from Irish people, saying: "Ireland is just an amazing country, the people are just amazing. I want to say thank you to everyone."

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"But my heart and my soul is in Ukraine and my parents are also in Ukraine", she continues. "It's sad to say but you understand what you lost only when you left it. When you're living in Ukraine, many people from other countries say the same, 'oh I don't like living here, I want to go to some other country'. But then when it comes to you, you're like no, I want to go back."

Despite her awful and traumatic journey, Tatyana knows she is one of the lucky ones. She tells Ryan that there are Ukrainians in her hotel now who don't have homes anymore. "I can come back to my family, to my house."

Now living in Athlone in a hotel set up to house Ukrainian refugees, Tatyana says she's working both in a company that provides care for the elderly and those with disabilities, and as a model. She also wasted no time getting qualified in everything from excel to payroll.

Her focus right now, however, is setting up a charity to support soldiers, as a gift to her mother for her birthday.

To listen to the full interview with Tatyana, click above.

If you have been affected by issues raised in this story, please visit: www.rte.ie/helplines.