When OK! catches up with Gemma Collins, she’s making a batch of homemade tomato soup with produce from her very own garden.
It might be hard to believe, but the GC also happens to be a chilled-out homebody who keeps a vegetable patch and cares for chickens.
Five chickens to be exact – Dolce, Gabbana, Gucci, Chanel and Fendi. In fact, she even stops the interview to give her gardener a cup of tea and collect some of their eggs.
While she was once a party girl who coveted designer labels and sought out the finer things, the 42-year-old tells us she’s just enjoying a slower paced life and is in a “really good place”.
After laying low over the summer, Gemma is raring to go again and is setting her career goals high.
She has plans for a Netflix series and is baring all for ITV’s The Real Full Monty later this year.
Here, the reality TV star chats to us about stripping naked and loving her body, having the unlikeliest of friendships with King Charles and Queen Camilla, and her plans to end the year stronger than ever…
Hi, Gemma! It seems you’ve changed a lot. What’s happening?
I’m in a really good place – life is good at the moment. I had a lovely summer and even took a bit of a break from social media. It was nice to step away, even at home I’m non-stop with feeding the chickens and checking on my veggies, so switching off was like a proper break. It’s also lethal because I’m just going full steam ahead with everything now. I want to end the year strong.
That sounds exciting. What kind of things do you have planned?
Well, I’ve got The Real Full Monty coming up later this year. You’re going to see it all, huns. It’s an incredible show. I loved the dancing – Ashley Banjo did the choreography – and it was all for a good cause.
You’re starring alongside the likes of Paul Burrell and Pete Wicks. Was the idea of stripping off daunting to you?
Not at all, I couldn’t wait to whip it all out! We were so comfortable with each other because we’d all seen each other’s bits. Once you get naked once, that’s it.
Did it give you a new-found sense of confidence? It must have been such an empowering thing to do!
To be honest, I’m really confident anyway. I love my body, it’s other people that don’t. I don’t give a stuff about them. I don’t live my life for other people – I’m beautiful.
And we hear that you’ve made new ‘besties’ with the King Charles and Queen Camilla…
Charles and Camilla invited me to the Animal Ball and asked to meet me, and I just thought it was amazing. I think they appreciate what I do for animals and how much I support the elephants. I just love the King and Queen – Charles is such a humanitarian and wants to give a voice to all the animals.
That sounds amazing. Were you nervous to meet them?
I made sure I was very posh that day and remembered my elocution lessons! I did make them laugh a few times though, and Charles is very charming. It was such an exciting moment in my life and an honour to meet with them.
We bet you had nothing to be nervous about in the end. How is your new fitness journey going?
It is a priority of mine and I make sure to get my steps in every day, but it’s a work in progress. I wish I loved going to the gym and exercising as much as other people, but I don’t think I ever will. I’m not in a rush to get to the gym all the time, but I do love being outdoors and walking. I even like going for a swim, but darling, you’ll never see me breaking out in a proper sweat.
How do you like to spend your free time since you’ve cut back on partying?
I love watching the news at the minute and checking the weather, that’s how you can tell I’m getting old. I’m always quite busy though and never really get a chance to watch TV. Once Big Brother’s back on, if I have time, I’ll tune into that. But one show I absolutely loved was At Home With The Furys. I’m obsessed with Paris, she’s a supermum. I hope to meet her one day, I even went out and bought similar handbags and asked for a ‘Paris Fury blowdry’.
Is having another TV show a goal of yours?
Absolutely. I’d love my own show with Netflix – I’m setting my sights high!
So, tell us all about your new partnership with TK Maxx for its ‘quiet luxury’ collection…
Well, it’s absolutely amazing. I’ve actually been shopping there for years and my mum is absolutely obsessed. My dad had to eventually bar her from going in and buying everything. I won’t lie though, it’s a bit different from my normal style, but it’s all about the quiet luxury now.
It sounds like you’ve had a bit of a transformation…
I have, I’m worried people won’t recognise me! But let’s be honest, no one wants to be walking around with big logos any more, it’s embarrassing. Plus, whatever your budget, you’ll be able to find something in that store. I used to think Harrods was my holy grail but I’ve totally dumped it now.
Is affordability something that’s important to you?
Definitely. You don’t need to be wealthy to be stylish and stealthy, that’s for sure. And with low prices like at TK Maxx, it helps, especially with issues people are facing like the cost-of-living crisis. I want to help show what’s really going on in the world, and I’m going to foodbanks to help.
Gemma Collins has teamed up with labels-for-less retailer TK Maxx to adopt the ‘quiet luxury’ trend. The retailer’s Gold Label category can be found in selected stores and online at tkmaxx.com.
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