It's only been two days but the question on the lips of journalists and clients alike when mentioning I'm A Celebrity somehow always gets to Gemma Collins and is she faking her fear for the cameras. So I have decided to put my professional and personal opinion here and let you all decide.
Professionally as a life coach that specialises in anxiety and phobias I can honestly say I am not surprised at the level of fear being present in someone who has not been exposed to the things on I'm A Celebrity before. However, we always have a choice of how we react to such fear, to embrace it and carry on pushing through or to run away. The TOWIE star tends to threaten to run but she never actually quits meaning her level of fear is surmountable and as such probably does not need such histrionics.
To the best of my knowledge Gemma Collins did not seek therapy or coaching before going into the jungle although I know she was offered such, so either she had no idea of how debilitating her fear would be doing I'm A Celebrity or she thought it would make good television to put herself and her phobias out there in the spot light.
No stranger to reality TV and already a successful businesswoman, Gemma Collins clearly has some idea of what she is doing. The truth detection consultant and cynic in me wonders if Bobby Norris' best friend knows her audience better than we think, because although the anxiety is real her response to it does seem to be slightly disproportionate and as such perhaps just for the I'm A Celebrity cameras.
So what are we looking for to highlight genuine fear? As a Facial Action Coding expert, I would expect Gemma Collins to display the following facial expressions in a moment of fear on I'm A Celebrity:
- Her eyes would be open wide
- Her mouth would be open slightly
- Her lips would retracted
- Her eye brows would be raised to show obvious concern
Obviously if you were closer to Gemma you would also be looking for her being pale, perspiring, hairs standing on end, shivering, yawning or even trembling. Notwithstanding the obvious jokes one could crack about Gemma's paleness being due to the lack of access to fake tan or the fact that it is one of the hottest climates in the Jungle this year which lead to Gemma perspiring and therefore being the first celebrity to have a shower in this series, I am not seeing enough signals of fear to be totally convinced.
My personal opinion is that Gemma Collins makes absolutely fabulous television, is a great source of entertainment for both positive and negative reasons and could use her new level of exposure to do a lot of good. I am disappointed to see so much body shaming on Twitter when really we should be pulling together as a community and standing up for Gemma as a victim of bullying. If one wants to pick on the reality TV star I am sure there are many valid reasons they could choose from her drama queen behaviour to her naivety as to third world problems but picking on her weight is a low blow.
My guess is there is a strategy to the TOWIE star's comments and that everything from Gemma's sequinned first episode dress to her comedic genius is well rehearsed. I do believe there is fear there but as any reality TV star knows it is the tweets that count and Gemma Collins definitely has topped the Twitter feeds these last few days, so although not a great role model for how to handle fear, she is still a strategic businesswoman expertly playing the cards she's been dealt.