Speaking to The Mirror, the X Factor star - who received death threats during her time on the programme - said that she wanted to know what people really thought of her so that she could "protect" herself from it.
"I just couldn't understand why so many people seemed to hate me that much," Waissel told the paper of her time on the ITV1 show. "I know you can't please everyone, but what went on, with proper hatred and death threats, that was weird."
She continued: "It was scary. But I just couldn't understand why. Usually to get that reaction someone needs to commit a really awful crime or say something totally outrageous.
"I still don't know what people thought I was like - clearly something not me to get that reaction! I just think, 'Wow, what the hell do you all think?'"
Recalling one incident in London, the 24-year-old revealed: "Someone even threw a banana skin at me in Covent Garden one day. Why would you do that, to a total stranger? What if they'd decided to throw a rock and it had hit someone else instead of me? Oh my God, it's horrible."
On her decision to read online material, she explained: "I read every single thing. Everyone kept saying, 'Don't read it!', but I had to. I wanted to know what was going on so I could protect myself.
"There was a message on some forum that said, 'I saw Katie Waissel today. Wish I'd smacked her around the face with an umbrella'. Really? Thanks. But what if this person had actually done that? Actually smacked me around the face?
"It's so weird and horrible coming from these anonymous people I've never even met."
Waissel added: "I was like public enemy Number One for a big chunk of last year. There's a lot worse bloody people out there than me, some TV contestant! Get things in perspective, people!"
> Katie Waissel 'learnt from X Factor hate'