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'I'm a Celebrity Help My Career!'

'I'm a Celebrity Help My Career!'

There are few things in the TV guide that gets viewers on the edge of their seats as ‘I’m Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ the showbiz program renowned for its stormy feuds, gruesome bushtucker trials & heartwarming jokes provided from the comedy duo that is Ant & Dec.  

Photo by Matt Brockie on Unsplash

With season 17 only days away from beginning, the questioning over this year’s lineup has ceased as all ten celebs have been revealed and are preparing for life in the jungle. There’s good news for fans of Ant & Dec too, with it confirmed that both will take their usual spot as hosts of the show. Previously rumours of Holly Willoughby being on emergency standby for Ant McPartlin had been circulating in the build-up to the show.

When the class of 2017 celebrities enter the tropical surroundings of Australia on Sunday to begin their quest to become King or Queen of the Jungle, it will mean that almost 200 celebrities of all shapes and sizes have entered the jungle since the program began in 2002.

It’s time to look back at who’s ‘I’m a Celebrity’ experience served their career and reputation for the better and who came out on the wrong side of Kiosk Keith. 

 

The Happy Campers 

Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

Gino D’Acampo

The reality chef appeared and subsequently won the 2009 series. Since then things seem to have only gone one way for Gino and that’s up. Shortly after becoming King of the Jungle, he took up the position of the regular chef on ITV’s This Morning. More was to follow, multiple TV series of ‘Let’s do Lunch with Gino & Mel’ was rolled out, an ever-present team captain on Celebrity Juice since 2014, and now has opened his own flagship restaurant in the heart of London. 

Scarlett Moffatt

A lot can happen in a year, just ask Scarlett! Only entering the jungle this time last year, you could have been forgiven for wondering who the lady from the north was if you weren’t an avid viewer of Gogglebox. Scarlett went on to become crowned Queen of the Jungle, and with that, a whole new career beckoned. Taking up the role of co-presenter of Saturday Night Takeaway alongside her Teesside counterparts Ant & Dec, it will be interesting to see how she fares as a co-presenter of the jungle’s sister show ‘Extra Camp’ this season.

Peter Andre

With arguably the biggest romance to ever hit the jungle in 2004, Peter became involved in one of the highest profile relationships in the British press for the next 5 years. At the time of entering the jungle, he was being turned down by most American record labels. But by the time he came out of the jungle his ‘Mysterious Girl’ hit single from 1996, had shot back into the charts and everyone in the nation was impatiently waiting for the release of ‘Insania’. 

Stacey Solomon

After finishing 3rd in X – Factor the year before, Stacey entered the outback in 2010, 3 weeks later she emerged victoriously and crowned Queen of the Jungle. A host of Television appearances was to follow including being a judge on ‘Top Dog Model’ and Love Island’s ‘After Sun’ show. Several guest appearances on Loose Women in 2016, led to her becoming a full-time panellist on the hit daytime show. To top that off, she’s also been the face of supermarket chain Iceland since 2011. 

The Not-so happy Campers

Photo by Blake Lisk on Unsplash

 

Gillian McKeith 

One of the more unpopular celebrities to enter the jungle across the previous 16 seasons was Gillian McKeith. The viewers continuously kept on voting for her to take part in more Bushtucker Trials and at one point she even ‘fake-fainted’ to get herself out of the challenge involving rats. This led to a fellow team member, Britt Ekland, suggesting that ‘she should win an Oscar for best-supporting actress’.  Gillian went into the jungle working regularly on Channel 4, since her time in Australia she hasn’t been seen quite so much! 

John Lydon

Since his appearance on season 3 which aired almost 14 years ago now, it seems one bad story has followed another for Johnny. Infamous on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here for his foul-mouthed tirade towards viewers on a live broadcast and then storming off and leaving camp. ITV subsequently received 91 complaints about Lydon’s language.

 Nadine Dorries

It was a shock to see Nadine as a contestant for the 12th season of the show, least of all for her own party members! Dorries was suspended from the parliamentary Conservative Party for her choice to appear on the ITV show without informing the Chief Whip. More drama was to follow as Dorries initially refused to disclose how much ITV had paid for her to appear on the show.

 

Lembit Öpik 

The former liberal democratic MP appeared on the 2010 series, unfortunately, the other camp members didn’t take to his humour. Known since for his relationship with Gabriela Irimina, Lembit hasn’t been involved in politics since his time in the jungle. In recent times, Öpik’s Bulgarian property lawyer girlfriend Sabina Vankova has dumped him publicly on Twitter after he supposedly stayed over at Alex Best’s house!

 

 

 

   

Does the power of celebrity have a place in politics?

Hollywood loves an underdog story. Rocky, Seabiscuit, Trump? Well, perhaps not quite. The world of celebrity (Clint Eastwood aside, no relation) was eerily quiet at Trump’s ascension to the presidency.

It seemed a script that even the zaniest Hollywood writer could surely not have dreamt up two years ago, and cast all manner of doubt on the impact of celebrity endorsement. With the might of the mainstream media and support from figures from Katy Perry, to Beyoncé, to Lady Gaga, to Chris Evans (no, not that one) behind her, Hillary Clinton still could not hold back the tide and beat a very average candidate.

Fast forward to June 2017, and Jeremy Corbyn achieved success in a way that Clinton simply couldn’t. It is worth quantifying that Corbyn did not ‘win’ the election, he was well short of a majority, but he did harness the potential of social media and celebrity to create a movement, amongst young people in particular, that led to a result that no political commentator had predicted (whatever he says now, The Guardian’s Owen Jones didn’t see it coming).

Nobody expected to see hashtags like #Grime4Corbyn taking off, but that’s exactly what happened. When even Grime MCs are wading into the debate, it is worth taking a step back to explore the role that the celebrity now plays in the political sphere.

First and foremost it is an amazing thing that the power of celebrity can play a role in bringing people otherwise totally disengaged into the discussion. The young, and many other people who felt disenfranchised before the election, were invigorated by the momentum Corbyn’s campaign generated.

Celebrities can also use their position to raise crucial issues, JK Rowling is an example of somebody who uses her platform to regularly do so (see below evisceration of Westboro Baptist Church), and Jamie Oliver is another who has done so to great effect.

But there are also drawbacks. In some ways, politics is now more reductive than at any other time in history. The influence of platforms including Facebook and Twitter has changed the very nature of political discourse.

It feels as though we live in a world of increasingly polarised opinion. Cropping manifestos and political opinions into 140 characters might well make things digestible, but there is less room for nuance than ever before. With Brexit and the General Election, there has been a very dangerous recurrent narrative on both sides of the spectrum of ‘them against us’.

The last 18 months have been characterised by a surge in vitriol and division as tensions reach boiling point. The world isn’t split into good and evil, but too often the content we read online gives the impression that it is.

In this atmosphere of heightened pressure, do celebrities have a greater responsibility to think before they tweet so as not to fuel the fire?

There is an elevated risk in what is a pretty poisonous political climate of appearing crass, condescending or even incendiary. Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins have both built their brands off the back of being controversial firebrands, and by saying what nobody else would (and there’s generally a good reason nobody else would). Milo Yiannopolous did the same until his Twitter ban. All of these ‘provocateurs’ delight in sowing division and taking ‘the left’ to task for all manner of perceived sins.

But fear not, the left is just as happy to fire back. Owen Jones takes great pride in deriding those with differing views, while Lily Allen is another who divides opinion, always ready with a forthright opinion and an unerring ability to upset people.

Even Rowling, the patron saint of millennials, was quick to point the finger at Nigel Farage and the now infamous ‘Breaking Point’ referendum poster in the immediate aftermath of the Finsbury attack. Some may agree with her, but others might contend that such a tweet was insensitive and misrepresentative. Many people disagree with Farage, but to imply that he advocates killing in the streets does nothing to advance the discussion and in the immediate aftermath of an atrocity looks like distasteful pushing of an agenda.

It feels increasingly that battle lines are being drawn. Celebrities have the clout to influence and effect genuine change, the recent election showed that, but with their visibility comes a greater degree of responsibility.

Social media is constantly changing the world around us. The power of celebrity has a place in politics, but exactly how far that power should reach becomes harder to quantify by the day.

In the increasingly factional current political climate, those with the greatest visibility in our society have a duty to think before they speak, pause before they tweet, and to seek to unify rather than divide.

Celebrities Stand Up To Trump

Big Bang Theory Protest Travel Ban SAG Awards

Image Courtesy of; www.telegraph.co.uk; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

 

It has been 12 days since Trump became the fully fledged President of the United States of America. However, in those 12 days, America is looking less united than ever. His executive orders, from issuing gag orders on abortion and climate change to pushing forward with the highly criticised Dakota pipeline, have sent shockwaves across America and the world over. The most controversial of these has already done irreparable damage to the lives of thousands; this is, of course, the infamous travel ban.

This executive order has suspended the acceptance of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and from another 6 Muslim-majority countries for 120 days, including Iran, Iraq and Libya. These 120 days are supposed to allow time for ‘extreme vetting’ measures to be put in place. However, Trump will allow those of Christian faith to be accepted as refugees, a decision that has led to the ban being aptly renamed the ‘Muslim Ban’. This new regulation is said to be in place for the safety of the American people and was enforced with such haste so the ‘bad guys’ didn’t have time to get in.

Trump May Holding Hands - Special Relationship

Image Courtesy of; thesun.co.uk

 

The order has been widely criticised by politicians, international diplomats, CEOs and celebrities alike, as well as evoking a huge public backlash in the USA and the UK. The UK’s impressive reaction has been bolstered by anger at Theresa May’s inability to condemn Trump’s actions and attitude, with May being branded ‘Theresa the Appeaser’. Parallels have been drawn with previous politicians that chose to appease narcissistic authoritarian leaders, note: it didn’t work for Neville Chamberlain either.

The continued voice of the celebrity has garnered much high-profile media attention around these protests and lent its star-studded hand well to the cause. Celebrities such as Rihanna, Mark Ruffalo, Sia and even Kim Kardashian have used their influence to speak out against the ban, and encourage Americans to stand with their Muslim neighbours and those in need across the middle East.

Rihanna Protest Trump Travel Muslim Ban

Image Courtesy of; www.dailymail.co.uk; Aaron E. Cohen

 

Although the majority of the media has aligned with the sentiment of the protests, and those celebrities involved, there are of course some who have denounced their involvement as irrelevant and uninformed. It is no surprise that Fox News is one of such outlets, who went as far to say that A-list celebrities, like Madonna, were using the protests are a way to stay relevant with a millennial audience. This is a claim echoed in several similar articles and extends as a critique to all of Hollywood for their ‘self-involved’ contributions to the protests. There is an ongoing conversation that celebrities are too far removed from the ‘real world’ to have an opinion on politics; their protest appearances “like gods descending from Mount Olympus”, says presenter Greg Gutfeld.

This is a predictable commentary from this facet of the media. Fortunately, it remains that as human beings, celebrities have the right to free speech and to use their influence to speak about whatever they deem important. The power of celebrity is currently holding strong the largest platform of dissent against Trump, which is more than we have seen from many industry leaders and politicians. With Trump taking a record 8 days to reach majority disapproval, and diplomats preparing an ‘unprecedented dissent memo’, perhaps we will begin to see some meaningful discussion within the White House. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Hate Seeking Missiles: The Rise Of The Professional Troll

In the last few years the professional troll has arisen, not designed to anger you about a subject, but at the person saying it. We now have celebrities designed just for you to venomously despise, not because you disagree with them, but because they’re simply horrible people.

It’s clear that people are getting harder to shock, meaning that celebrities have had to resort to even more daring ploys for attention. In the last few years, we have seen sex tapes, meat dresses, award ceremony invasions, all deliberate attempts to raise awareness of a product or person. Shock PR tactics are evolving to ludicrous and downright offensive levels. We are seeing a generation of celebrities who are not only controversial but downright horrible, who are famous for making you hate them.

The media is now plagued by commentators who spew offensive comments just to get a reaction from the public, behaving in essence, like a troll.

For those living in a cave (or more suitably, under a bridge), a troll is a nickname for those who roam social media, upsetting people to evoke a reaction. This can include sexism, racism and even threats of sexual abuse or death. Thankfully this is being cracked down on but the scale of the problems means very few have faced convictions thus far.

Dapper Laughs was recently criticised for his offensive approach to women.

Dapper Laughs was recently criticised for his offensive approach to women.

The professional troll is successful due to their simple strategy. Nasty comments by celebs (usually on Twitter) get picked up by the media which are then shared countless times across social media like the online equivalent of cholera. The celebrity’s reputation can’t be harmed because it is built on these principles. Anyone voicing their disgust further spreads the celebrity in question’s name so you can’t really win, by responding you are merely fuelling the fire.

Vine video host Dapper Laughs is a great example. For those that missed his fortnight of fame, the alleged ‘comedian’ revels in making crude, sexists jokes at their expense. A real gent. Another famous member of this new generation is the Scottish ghoul Frankie Boyle, famed for making comments about Jimmy Saville and Princess Diana.

Thankfully, it seems that these people do have expiry dates.

They say there is no such thing as bad PR, but it does often have repercussions. Dapper Laughs, for example, has pretty much been killed off after the horror show that was his TV show and general national condemnation. Frankie Boyle’s antics, while initially making the headlines have faded away and now is so despised by the media, he’s unlikely to ever work on terrestrial television again.

It’s evident that eventually these celebrities will go away if they are starved of the media attention that they need to thrive.

The message is clear, DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!

Are our child stars doomed?

Amanda Bynes is back in the press this week and Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan and One Direction regularly grace our headlines with news of their shocking antics. Whether at the root of celebrity feuds, drink driving charges or rumours of drug abuse, the stories continue to be churned out as the world spectates at the downward spiral of our child stars. This pattern of erratic behaviour seems to occur all too often and begs the question, are the pressures of fame too much to deal with as a child?

Amanda Bynes rose to fame with The Amanda Show on Nickelodeon aged just thirteen and from there went on to star in Hairspray, feature on the front pages of Vanity Fair and win numerous TV awards. However, over the last few years her increasingly strange behaviours have hinted at psychological problems, all of which have been well documented by the media. There were the celeb twitter spats which saw her comments become more and more outrageous, rumours of drug addiction and most recently shoplifting charges. Having looked a little further into her story, I have found one of the saddest aspects to be the fact she is now estranged from her parents. In a time when they are needed the most, her family support network has broken down.

Image Courtesy of Amy Wood, flickr. com

Image Courtesy of Amy Wood, flickr. com

Justin Bieber recently came under scrutiny for a series of seemingly racist videos which showed him singing offensive songs, aged 14. The media went into a  frenzy and he was blackmailed as people tried to extort him and make a quick buck out of his poor judgement. Photos were also leaked of Justin smoking weed that saw him taken swiftly off his ‘role model’ pedestal and then there were mentions of speeding and car crashes in his £150,000 Ferrari. With a loyal fan base of ‘Beliebers’, JB has a wealth of youngsters looking up to him.  The downside of this, is that aside from his talent for singing, his every mistake will be read about all over the world and we all know that negative headlines sell.

Aged 20, JB is supposedly one of the current most hated celebrities in the USA. It seems he has burnt most of his bridges in the celebrity world and alienated himself from the paparazzi. Although he has grown up with the pressures of his celebrity status, he needs to take some responsibility for his disrespectful actions, of which there are countless. His story thus far has an element of self-destruction and he almost seems to be setting himself up for failure. Other similar examples include Lindsay Lohan, who spent time in prison and battled an eating disorder, and Britney Spears who famously had a meltdown in 2007 which involved shaving off all her hair whilst supposedly being addicted to amphetamines.

This year, the UK X Factor has lowered its entry age from 16 to 14 to draw in ‘fresh talent’. The decision has come under much scepticism and judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has been vocal about the fact she thinks this is too young. I am inclined to agree, given that the audition process sees candidates publicly ridiculed for poor performances whilst the judges make cutting remarks. Furthermore, numerous candidates have already been rejected for ‘not being ready’, so the change seems a little counter-productive.  Past winners of the show have gone on to be dropped by their record labels and have failed to maintain their success after being told they are the ‘next big thing’. I don’t feel it would be fair to face a 14 year old with this level of disappointment and inconsistency, especially when a school education may be at stake.

Reality shows such as X-Factor can literally catapult people into the limelight overnight and this combined with the rise of social media, means fame and

Image Courtesy of Catherine Laight, flickr. com

Image Courtesy of Catherine Laight, flickr. com

celebrity status can be obtained more quickly than ever. One Direction are one of X Factor’s most prominent success stories, with 122 awards between them, a world record and millions of pounds to their name. However, with the media waiting in the wings to make or break these stars, it was only a matter of time before band scandals started surfacing as we have seen.

So, what is the solution? These young stars need a strong network of people around them to support, ground and manage expectations. A reliable agent, publicist and accountant that aren’t only in it to make money, and have genuine concerns for their wellbeing are necessities. Kris Jenner’s family tie to her Kardashian clan may be the reason they have all been able to deal with the trials and tribulations of fame despite being one of the highest profile families on the planet. In times of crisis, reputation management PR may prove essential but preventing these scenarios from arising in the first place should be the priority.

It seems unsurprising that growing up in the limelight can lead to a premature mid-life crisis- how can anyone be expected to know what the fame package comes with in their early teens? Although success clearly has many benefits, this downward pattern repeats itself all too often and the power that comes with money and fame cannot be taken lightly. The future of 1D, Justin Bieber and this year’s young X Factor hopefuls remains to be seen but regardless, they need to be prepared for what could lie ahead. Although talent can shine from a young age, fame comes with a lot of baggage and a child is not equipped with the maturity and life experience to deal with this single-handedly.