I’m A Celebrity 2009: interview with Lucy Benjamin

by Lisa McGarry


Actress Lucy Benjamin is worried about her hair going wild as she prepares to embark on her jungle adventure.

The mum-of-one said she is so concerned about the state of her frizzy hair if she doesn’t have any conditioner she might have to resort to rubbing leaves into it.

But the main thing that worries Lucy about going into the jungle is missing her daughter Bessie’s fourth birthday.

She also revealed that she won’t like it if her campmates are argumentative – and she is dreading emptying the toilet.

She says: “I couldn’t be without my hair conditioner because I’ve got naturally curly hair. I’m trying to wangle getting conditioner in because otherwise I’m going to look like a mad woman. At one point I thought, ‘I’m just going to pick leaves that have got balm in them and rub them in my hair, anything.’

Lucy says the thing she will miss most while she is in the jungle is her daughter but she is going to try not to bore her campmates by talking about her too much.

“Three days is the longest I have ever been away from my daughter…in terms of what I might get thrown at me…nothing is going to be worse than my heartbreak. From the point of me leaving her and getting on that plane out there, that is going to be the worst part for me. So, if I can deal with that and get through the other side when I land I’m going to have a great time and just say, ‘I’m going to give it my best shot.’

“It’s Bessie’s birthday on November the 22nd. It will bring it all back again because I will try and be strong and it will just be awful. It will be heartbreaking but it will be great for her and her dad because I’m always butting in or being a control-freak.

“So that is what I’m going to take out of it, she and her dad bonding beyond bonding, and that’s good for them.

“I know there are going to be a lot of times where I’m going to be very upset. It will be the bored, quiet moments where you are just going, ‘Oh my god. What is she doing? Where is she now?’ …I know that there are going to be points when I will be beside myself.

Lucy says she is not looking forward to emptying the toilet and is hoping she won’t have to cook, but says she doesn’t mind cleaning.

“I don’t mind getting a bit mucky…and I don’t mind not having a wash for a few days, because if we are all in the same boat and all have the hygiene problem, that’s fine. I think that the mucking in and knowing people’s toilet habits is a bit of a weird one. The dunny situation doesn’t fill me with joy, having to clear up, especially when a man’s been in the loo. That makes me retch thinking about it. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to overcome that or if I’m going to be able to wangle my way out of it. I imagine we will have rotas and shifts to do that.

“I am a terrible cook. I just don’t know where to begin. I’m not good at chopping vegetables, I just watch everyone. I don’t even know where you begin. But I could offer to be camp cleaner. I’m happy to clean, happy to mop, sweep, carry logs, and be a bit of a skivvy. But I would hate to ruin something as precious as a meal somebody has won and muck it up. That would be a disaster. If somebody wants to direct me and say ‘Keep and eye on that’, that’s fine, but I would never offer myself up as camp cook, ever.”

When it comes to the trials, Lucy reckons they’re all pretty awful, especially the ones with creatures that fly, buzz, bite, and crawl up your nose.

She adds: “It’s a funny one, because when you talk about the jungle, I can’t relate it to anything at home like spiders or anything because it is just a different league. So, spiders at home, I’m okay, it’s just the hairy ones. I’m not good with them. I’m not a big fan of butterflies or moths or birds and things flying around.”

She is hoping to steer clear of confrontation.

She says: “I think I probably like to try and do that in life anyway and I don’t know if that’s the art of being an actress or if that just makes you a bit nicer and more able to get on and deal with people. I’m hoping that no one is going to make me lose my temper, that I will be able to pull it back and not become too confrontational.

“I’m very honest, that’s the thing, I’m quite open and people say to me that I have my feelings written all over my face. I’m not going to sit there and be deemed offish. I’d rather say something, not in a horrible confrontational way, but I’d rather it just be out. I don’t like atmospheres, I can’t bear misery, and I can’t bear situations where people don’t talk. I couldn’t do that, so I’d rather have it out and just clear the air. And if two people are being like that, try and resolve it and say, ‘Look come on, please, this is vile.’ Because I think this has such a knock-on effect, that’s what I can’t bear…At first I find it kind of amusing when people are having a kind of set-to.”

If Lucy comes across someone being grumpy or uncommunicative she says her solution is to try even harder with them.

She says: “What annoys me is people who don’t try or are grumpy, mono-syllabic, or negative; people who don’t give and who are not very generous. Then I work ten to the dozen, chat, chat, chat just getting one word answers and I end up making myself look a bit of a prat really. I fill in for them, fill in the gaps and try to make everyone feel really nice and that is my worry – that there is going to be a grumpy old misery guts.

“I like people that are honest, up-front and open. I don’t like people who are cagey and a closed book. I like someone who is willing to be as open as I am about something – not spilling their life guts but just an open person that’s warm. I like warmth in a person. It’s that sort of person I will get on with easily. I tend to know very early on if you have got somebody like that. I don’t like people who are superior and look down their noses and are judgemental. I’m a bit worried about those sorts of things really.”

Lucy hopes the jungle will show her what she is made of.

She says: “I want to see how far I can push myself in terms of the kind of place you find yourself in mentally and seeing if I can go through with the Bushtucker trials and living with complete strangers without it sending you over the edge.

“I think that what I’m trying to get out of this is to feel I have done myself proud and come out of it quite well. Because of the whole Bessie thing I could sit and cry all day and if I can cope, get through by strength of character that is where I’m heading.

“I can sit in camp and think about things a lot more. I’m a million mile per hour person, I talk fast, do everything fast, run to the shop. People say I’m not very calm and a bit nuts so it will be nice to get a sense of calm, which I can hopefully bring outside and use.”

Lisa McGarry

Lisa has been watching reality TV for too long now. She won't do any housework unless 'Big Brother' announces it over the tannoy and everything she does has to be put to a public vote!