Dublin singer and model Nadia Forde featured in the most recent series of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here and tells David Hennessy how it changed her perspective
“I never thought going into jungle would give me such a new perspective on life,” says Nadia Forde, the singer and model who was seen dealing with hunger and rodents on ITV recently. “It was one of the best things I ever did. I have a new way of looking at my life and I’m very appreciative of everything in it. Little things that I maybe would have worried about before are not so important now and the things that are important I’m dedicating more of my time to.
“You kind of realise the life that we live, especially in the UK and Ireland, we’re very blessed to have what we have and the opportunities are there so why not take them? There was a lot of reflection time for me in there as well. I didn’t grow up in the easiest of circumstances, kind of a difficult childhood but not sad by any stretch of the imagination, but still I kind of look at that and go, ‘I wouldn’t change it’.”
Nadia grew up with her grandmother after her parents split. Last year Nadia got the news that her estranged mother had been diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer.
“I spoke to a couple of people who had done the jungle just before I went in and they said, ‘you really will be changed when you get out, don’t be surprised if you look at things differently’. I was like, ‘yeah, yeah, whatever. It’s not that sinister. It’s a TV show. I’m gonna relax’. And then when I came out, I was like: ‘Oh my God, yeah. I know what they were saying’.
“I think I was definitely heading in there with career in the forefront of my mind. When I got out, I actually took away so many more valuable lessons. I don’t think I actually realised how much of an impact it would have on me at all. When I came out, it took me a few days. It took me a few days to just digest what was happening, never mind digesting my food.
“I still am a little bit kind of: Did I do that? I never thought I would be camping with a politician or Michael Buerk would be my hammock neighbour. You meet people that you wouldn’t necessarily be living amongst in your normal circumstances so I’m kind of blessed in that way, I got to meet some incredible people, I really did and when you go through an experience like that you can’t help but be bonded.”
Many thought a jungle romance could develop between Nadia and fellow campmate Jake Quickenden. In response, Nadia says: “Personally, I don’t think Jake paid any more attention to me than he did any of the other girls in the camp. That’s the editing process. Jake’s a great guy, he’s lovely but there never was going to be a romance between the two of us.
“I think the thing that I have realised that is quite odd is that I said, ‘oh, I’ll definitely stay in touch with everyone when I get out, myself and Jake have plans to go for a meal’- When you’re in there, you’re dreaming about food because that gets you through every day. All of a sudden the headline is that ‘Nadia’s going to go on a date with Jake’ when really it was just that we want to get fed,” Nadia laughs as she explains.
“I guess sometimes the reality of the situation is never as good as the story. They don’t want to spoil a story with the truth.
“I kind of had a feeling the last couple of days just because of the questions I was being asked and then when I came out I was quite shocked about the level of it. These things happen. It’s not the first time someone’s tried to make me into something that’s not true.”
Nadia has yet to watch the bulk of the footage of her time on the show as she says she just cringes. She has seen footage of the time she was shut in a coffin for ten minutes with just rats for company: “I did see a clip of that and I think I said something like ‘I think I’m having a nervous breakdown’, but I said it so monotone that I think no one took me seriously.
“But I remembered going into that trial and being like, ‘I can’t do this, there is absolutely no way in hell I can do this’. It was petrifying, even just being rolled into the coffin into the wall, I can’t even describe to you the fear. It’s just paralysing.
“You’re in the pitch black- and I’m scared of the dark anyway. I walk up the stairs like someone’s chasing me up the stairs. I run. Even now at home, I’m terrified so never mind being buried alive, just having it go dark is traumatic enough.
“You actually hit a wall and you feel like you can’t go any further but once you go further, you could stay in there for three hours. It doesn’t matter. Once you get over that initial stage, you kind of get used to it. You go: ‘Okay, they’re putting more rats in, okay’. It’s the initial mountain that you need to get over.
Last year saw Nadia release her debut single BPM which was an upbeat dance track. Late February sees her release new single Stuck which is performed with a very acoustic feel. The singer explains balancing the two styles is what she’s been working on: “I’m still very much working through material and I have been for the last couple of years, just trying to figure out my sound.
“I love doing pop and I love doing the up tempo numbers but I also ended up doing a lot of acoustic sets so I think it’s trying to find the marriage between both and it’s not completely different and it’s taken me a couple of months to figure that out. We’re still doing a little bit of both but it’s more cohesive now than maybe it was before.”
When can we expect an album? “The idea is to have the album at the end of the year. I’m only getting back into gigging now. There’s going to be a couple of London dates at the end of February, beginning of March around the release time as well.”
For the full interview, see the January 17 Irish World.
Nadia’s single Stuck is out in February.