Within spitting distance of the Sloaney Pony, a posho pub in Parson’s Green, Brentwood socialite Amy Childs from reality TV show The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) is undergoing a transformation.
In the wake of displaying her real life in a fake way in the British cousin of The Hills, Amy has been lapping up the love, laughing at the haters and making the canny business moves of a young Jordan, bagging a contract to be the face (and big-boobed body) of Caprice’s lingerie line and a column in New! magazine.
Fun and lucrative though all these side projects are, Amy can’t wait to be filming again. “I love it. I can’t wait to go on telly.” At its peak, TOWIE sucked in audiences of 1.2 million, so why has it proved so popular? Amy ventures: “I think because it’s never been done before.” Really? “Yeah, it’s so different. It’s quite glamorous, it’s funny, it’s quite serious, it’s like a drama.”
But the reason Amy loves it herself, is because it appeals to all ages. She’s particularly touched by a scene in which she sees the sweet where others could see the seedy. “I went out for some drinks” she regales, “and a guy who must have been 75 come over and said, ‘Thank you for giving me the best entertainment on ITV2, Sunday and Wednesday.’ And I was like, ‘How lovely is that, that I’m entertaining people of all ages?’” Where dirty, cynical minds see an old man rubbing his knees over the show’s top totty, Amy sees TOWIE as some form of care in the community.
Now series two is on its way, it’s a worry how the newly famous Brentwood boys and birds will manage to keep it real (in that spooky, stilted, not-very-real way), but Amy knows her worth: “The time we start saying: ‘No, we can’t do that’ will probably be the time they say, ‘No, you can’t be in the next series.’ I’ve got to keep grounded and my mum and dad will make me stay grounded as well.”
Post-shoot, Amy revealed her latest catchphrase, her fave supermodel and her top TV shows …
Do you watch yourself in the show? How can I not watch it?
It’s brilliant though. I like it.
Is there a scene you’ve watched and regretted? I don’t regret nothing.
I’ve come across as the fun character, the nice person. The only thing is my make-up. Sometimes I think, “My God Amy, why do you wear that much make-up?” And sometimes I think, “Amy, you’ve got to think before you speak,” but at the end of the day that’s me and I let it all out.
You’ve had great catchphrases like “jel”, “shut up” and “Vajazzling”, but do you have any new ones?
“Professional.” That is my favourite word. Even if I’m not trained in something, I say I’m professional at it. I’m professional at eating that dinner. You’ve got to be a bit professional and I am professional, so it’s a new word for me: “I’m professional.”
And you’re a professional model – why do you have a no topless rule?
Do you know what, I’ve got so much respect for my family and seeing your daughter topless and nude, it just don’t appeal to me and I wouldn’t do it to my family.
Who’s your favourite supermodel?
I love Claudia Schiffer. She’s brilliant. I see her on the advert and her hair’s lovely. Kate Moss, I’ve gone off a bit, but I look at her 10 years ago and she had it. She was stunning.
What are your favourite few TV shows?
Definitely My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Take Me Out and then One Born Every Minute. That is a brilliant programme. It’s a bit different. It’s a bit involved. It’s about childbirth. I just love watching it and think it’s amazing. You see everything – I’m not gonna lie – but I love watching it. That’s my Monday night, 8 o’clock. I used to love Big Brother, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent. Love all that. Pete and Kerry show I love. That’s reality, so obviously I watch theirs.
Now you’re queen of the Essex scene, are you tempted to move to London to try and become big on that circuit? No, all my friends are in Essex, I’ve always lived in Essex, I love going out in Essex.
You’re not tempted to live anywhere else?
Well I always say Marbella’s lovely and want to love in a hot country, but not really. I’d probably just have a little house out there. Not yet obviously, but in five years’ time.
Essex has got some gorgeous countryside – do you ever go for a stomp on the hills?
No, not really. I like Brentwood because it’s really countryside, and green, but I’m not – what’s them walkers called?
I’m not one of them. I ain’t got a stick. I read about Kate Moss that now she works on a farm. Has she got a farm?
She’s got a big country house, so maybe she’s got a farm on it, yeah.
Mmm, bit different, innit? I’ll stay in Essex thanks.
Photography: Danielle Levitt
Editor: Anthony Unwin
Words: Stuart Brumfitt
This article first appeared in full in Wonderland #26, April/May 2011