Interview with Joey Essex – Recruit #1

Category: Interview

Why did you want to do this show?

I would say the main reason I took the opportunity was probably to show people who I really am. People see me on TV and they go "Yeah, Joey Essex. Oh yeah, he's stupid”. But I feel like people underestimate who I really am, deep down inside. I’ve done loads of shows but I think this is the first one that's going to show the deep layer under the skin of Joey Essex. I had heard about the show before, and I knew it would be such a crazy experience, but you come out of the other side a better person.


Do you think you’re going to change people’s opinions of you?

Yeah, 100%, People are going to say, "I didn't realise he was this tough; he’s really tough." I wanted to show people a different side to what they see on TV - me with my big white teeth!  I wanted to show people what’s under my skin, what I'm really about.


Was it tough mentally?

It's hard.  The thing is, you've got to let your guard down, it's mental. But the one thing you can't do is show weakness in your mind. Everyone looks happy, everyone's laughing and walking around going, "Yeah, we're going to do well”, but really deep down, everyone's miserable!


How did you find this experience, physically?

I found the physical challenges pretty easy. There were a few times where they made us run up a hill and back again, then do press ups. I was up and down before the others, so I realised I was probably the fittest there.  It was weird though, I know I'm fit but I didn't think I was that fit!


How did you find being screamed at by Ant and the other DS?

I've been brought up around toughness, so I knew I was going to be all right with that side of it. Getting shouted at is obviously not nice, even if you haven’t really done anything wrong. But this is why I took the show on because I knew I could cope with people who tried techniques to control me.


Looking at some of the tasks, what was it like throwing yourself out of a helicopter?

Oh, that was horrible.  It's such a mad experience, it's so hard to explain to people because it's not just jumping from a helicopter, it’s landing in minus 13 degrees cold water, backwards. No one watching will realise how hard it is when you hit that water and then have to swim to shore. Just trying to come up to the top of that water, breathe and swim a few lengths was hardcore. Challenges like that are not really physical, my dad's not fit at all but I guarantee he could probably do it, just because he's tough and his mind is tough.