Julia Morris spills I’m A Celeb secrets
A fresh batch of B-listers is about to head into remote South Africa for the fifth season of I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! and if any of them want to stand a chance of winning, they'd better take some advice from co-host Julia Morris.
The ever-candid TV star says there's a common thread among the show's four winners to date.
Speaking to news.com.au about the highs and lows of her first four seasons co-hosting the show with Chris Brown, Morris gets real about contestants she loved, the ones she hated, and what she really thought about those headline-making walkouts last season.
Who have been your favourite contestants to date?
I take it very personally, the way the celebs respond in the jungle, because I really want them to embrace the experience - even though I know it's not all pleasant. The ones who let go and embrace it are always my favourites, and there's never a greater example of that than Brendan Fevola. Freddie Flintoff in that first series did the same thing.
Actually, all our winners did I think: They stop being so conscious of what they're saying and we get to see the real person. They're my favourite contestants. Anyone who thinks they've got the recipe to the show unlocked, I'm like, ugh. Start living your own life, will you.
Do you think some contestants have managed to keep their guard up the whole time?
Definitely. I think, 'Why fly the whole way to a remote part of South Africa, put yourself through all that, and still not get involved? You've put so much into place to be there.'
But there are definitely contestants in those first couple of weeks who are battling sugar detox, bread detox, some love a little dry white wine … some think we're just making fun of their (hardships). But the second they start to let those walls down, they are much more fun. But you can get some contestants who poison the well, who slip into detox paranoia.
It does seem a difficult experience - there are much easier reality shows celebrities could go on.
A lot of contestants, once they get to Africa, tell Chris and I: 'I've never really seen a frame of the show. I didn't want to get freaked out by it and then pull out.' Have you heard the expression 'due diligence'? Then we ask them to do stuff and they're like, 'Whaaat? This is an OUTRAGE.' We're like, 'Mate, this is barely episode one.'
(US comedian) Tom Arnold was a terrific example of someone who hadn't done their homework and was shocked to their very foundation. I think he thought he was going to step out into a beautiful private hotel on the weekends. Mate, no way.
He was very vocal after his exit, even launching legal action against Ten. Did that disappoint you?
Anyone who does do that, I really see them as a featured extra. You weren't a great contributor when you were in there, and you're not a great contributor now. He was dismissive to women in there - anyone who would have an opinion, he would shout them down. A pretty revolting person in the jungle. You know, what are you here for?
Why do you think celebrities take part?
I've done my fair share of reality TV shows, and we all have our suspicions that people do it to try to reignite their career. For some reason we see that as a downside. But, why wouldn't I try to reignite my career? Check out my skills! To put yourself front and centre, if you want to work again, I think is really smart. But to put yourself front and centre and then to be a c**khead? What are you doing?
But one of the things I hear from our audience is, 'Ugh, it's just people trying to reignite their career.' Damn straight they are!
Have their been any celebs you thought shouldn't have taken part - perhaps they didn't seem mentally or physically strong enough to you?
Because I know they go through pretty vigorous psychological testing before they go in there, I know anyone going in there has the right intention and is looking forward to it. But talking about people not being prepared - if you then get in the jungle and it's not what you expect, that's really not much to do with us.
That wasn't disappointment, that was hatred! I hated them for turning their backs on it. I thought, you know what? You are weak. As. Piss. The two that walked - one of them didn't even give it a chance! And the other one was just sort of over it. Where's your commitment? I also come with the added knowledge of just how much work has gone into getting a human being into that jungle. Twenty-four hours later, if things aren't going your way, or you've been left to have your own thoughts for the first time in your entire life, and you're like, 'I'm so special, I can just walk at any time?' It's just someone who's not willing to learn about themselves.
What was Bernard Tomic's issue, do you think?
I think he thought it was going to be like a school camp. That we'd all be in cabins, ducking out at night and stealing biscuits. He was in there for literally 24 hours, and it was definitely a media story that went in many different directions when he walked. It brought up a number of subjects - depression, mental health issues. As someone who's been very open about my mental health issues, I thought: 'What are you doing on a reality show, mate? Because we didn't do this to you in the last 24 hours.' Even now I get passionate about it - oh my god, I get so angry about those two boys.
Would you have either of them back?
Nup. Stuff 'em! They blew their chance. We're over you now, we want to see new people.
Do you find it tricky remaining impartial when perhaps you're not a big fan of a contestant?
If there's one thing I really am not, it's impartial. I have a physical issue in that I wear a lot of brain on face. The people I have opposing views to are going to be the best fodder for my comedy. Then there's other people like Keira (Maguire) who I have very strong feelings about when they're in the jungle, then as I get to know them - as I have done specifically with Keira - I adore her. What I like is authenticity, that's what trips my trigger. If people are going to be real, then I am right in their corner. If they're going to be badly behaved? I have NEVER acted like that. I expect a certain standard of behaviour, and if they don't live up to it, I'll cut 'em.
You had a bit of a social media moment this year when a supercut of those "And I'm Julia Morris …" intros went viral.
I was in a full viral spiral! It even caught the love and attention of the magnificent James Corden. I wish I could take credit for every one of those introductions, but we have two writers on I'm A Celeb who are two of the funniest men alive, Matt Lovkis and Michael Ward. But I still like to go off leash sometimes, just to make Chris laugh.
You and Chris are quite the established double act now.
I keep sending him text messages saying, 'Love, your screen wife.' I'm not sure that's his favourite thing to receive. We've been together for five years now on screen, and I don't think we've had a cross word. I'm sure I've been a pest at times. For any man to stand alongside a 50-year-old woman who's hit menopause and not be judgey or snappy, you can't get much better than that. I figure I owe him five years of being sweet now I'm on the other side of it, just to pay back the five years where he had to deal with the forever-changing landscape of my moods.
The new season of I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! debuts Sunday, January 13 on Ten