The drug mules were sentenced to over six years in jail last week after they were convicted of attempting to smuggle cocaine to Spain though Lima airport.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent newspaper, they told of their new life in a cockroach infested Peruvian jail.
And Irish girl McCollum Connolly admitted the gaze of the media has been difficult to understand.
She said: “The media attention is bizarre We’re infamous, rather than famous, I guess.
“It’s like all the interest in my hair, it’s just a bun. I don’t get it.”
The 20-year-olds were caught with 11 kilos of cocaine at Lima airport on August 6.
Michaella said: “At first we thought we’d get 15 years, so the possibility of six is not so bad.
“It was all in Spanish, so we had no idea what they were saying. When we were in the holding rooms, there were lots of other drugs there, not just the ones in our bags. There was a guy there who had swallowed drugs and what he had swallowed was sitting on the table, it was pretty grim.”
Tyrone born Michaella told the paper that she and Melissa have become the best of pals since they were jailed.
And Reid revealed the full horror of the conditions they have encountered since they were apprehended.
She said: “The first 15 days were hell because there was only cold water, no toilet paper and hardly any food.
“We couldn’t really wash our hair or anything and we had the same few bits of clothes.
“Someone left us a Chinese meal in the kiosk and the box was covered in cockroaches, but we ate it nonetheless.”
Dungannon native McCollum Connolly added: “There is Spanish TV, but no other luxuries. We sleep in the same room with a hole for a toilet. We haven’t seen any kind of violence in prison here and no drink or drugs or anything like that.
“We spend most of the days sleeping and reading. Obviously there’s not really much else to do, but at least we’ll learn Spanish.
“Our lives have changed forever and we have no idea what we’ll do when we come out, only we want to do everything together.”
As Christmas approaches, Reid admitted to tears as they cope with being away from their families.
She added: “It’s not easy not having our parents and family around. Sometimes you just need a hug from your mum.
“Michaella and I didn’t know each other before the ordeal. Now we get on so well, but we’ve never done girly things together like go shopping or go to the movies.
“We have each other, which helps but we do cry a lot too.”