Former Romford girl Gemma Collins reveals her real life struggles in new book

Gemma Collins

Gemma Collins - Credit: Archant

Larger than life Romford girl Gemma Collins burst on to our screens in the second series of The Only Way Is Essex and has since won our hearts with her warm and infectious personality, her rollercoaster love life and struggles with her diet.

The Only Way Is Essex star Gemma Collins when she was younger.

The Only Way Is Essex star Gemma Collins when she was younger. - Credit: Archant

In her new book she reveals the struggles she faced before she was famous and the less glossy side to being an Essex girl, which she says is more than spray tans and “vajazzles”.

The Only Way Is Essex star Gemma Collins will be in Romford next week signing copies of her book Bas

The Only Way Is Essex star Gemma Collins will be in Romford next week signing copies of her book Basically. - Credit: Archant

Gemma, inset, said: “It’s not just about the glamour and flash cars that you see on the show, it’s about the ups and downs in my life too.

“I have led an extraordinary life, but through being on a glossy show you don’t see that side of it. I am in a lucky position, but I have been on quite a journey to get here.”

She said the book contains glamour, hot men, flash cars, Jacuzzi sex, heartache, nighclubs, a romp in a field and false eyelashes, but also break ups, her miscarriage and dealing with depression.


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‘I am happier’

Bubbly Gemma, 32, said one of her biggest struggles has been with her weight, which she says she gained drastically after discovering problems controlling her insulin when she was 25.

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“I have come to terms with it now and I am happier. There’s more to life than dieting. If I want a cream cake I have it.”

And she has gone on to design her own line of clothes, recently completing her third collection, aimed at girls with curves.

“There’s many pretty girls struggling to find clothes to fit them and there are only about two shops in Romford with bigger clothes. I thought I would save the nation and the big women by making these clothes.”

The former Rise Park girl said she was proud of being from Romford and was looking forward to coming back for her signing.

“You can take the girl out of Romford, but you can’t take the Romford out of the girl.

“I am looking forward to coming back to meet everyone. I want you to bring your cats and dogs, your aunts and uncles and I would love to chat to everyone next week.”

She added; “I grew up in Romford and I still absolutely love it. I love Romford Market and the Pie and Mash Shop and the people because of their spirit.

“Romford has just got a warmth that you don’t get anywhere else and I always feel at home when I come to the town.”

Gemma, who went to Rise Park Primary School and Raphael Independent School, attended local stage schools Harlequins, and later Theatretrain, where she studied for several years.

She said in her book: “I would sing all the time and developed a good voice. On a few occasions I would get told off at school for singing in class but I was generally a very good pupil and never got in any serious trouble.”

She said it helped her confidence grow and when her school looked for a pupil to do a speech in front of the mayor she was chosen. She said in her book: It was a real honour and I think Mum was more excited than I was.

“The thrill of having a room full of dignitaries hanging on my every word was something I can still remember, and I even got a write-up in the local newspaper, the Romford Recorder.”

Gemma said she always wanted to be famous, but thought it would be for her performances on the stage.

She said: “I have always dreamed of being a star.

“I would say to others, don’t ever listen to anybody who tells you you can’t do something.”

She will be at Waterstone’s Romford on Friday, April 26, from 4pm for the book signing.

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