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Jess Impiazzi is warning the newest crop of Love Island hopefuls to “stay true to themselves” and “don’t do things to your detriment to please other people”.
Before she became a reality TV star, model and actress, Jess had a tough upbringing, witnessing domestic violence at home with an alcoholic father.
And just after she had her dreams come true by being accepted at the Italia Conti theatre school, her mum went blind. Jess was forced to give up her place and become her mum’s full-time carer. There was more tragedy when her young nephew, who had septicaemia and meningitis, died in her care.
In the Mirror's exclusive interview, she recalls: "I was very lost, I thought I’d lost everything. I was 17, I thought I was nothing going for me, that’s when I really hit the depression."
But Jess didn’t let even her closest friends know what was going on. She went on: “Instead of being sad, I would be hyper and happy in front of everyone else, but when I was on my own I would the opposite.
Jess came fourth in Celebrity Big Brother in 2019
“There’s a quote from Robin Williams about how the happiest people are often the ones who are hiding stuff, they don’t want other people to feel bad. I was just trying to put on this front all the time, then reality TV came along. “
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Jess starred in MTV’s Ex On The Beach for two seasons, beginning in 2015, then came fourth on the 2019 series of Celebrity Big Brother.
As the new series of Love Island launches, the brunette beauty is well-placed to offer advice to the latest group of young people looking for fun and fame in the sun. What would she say to them?
Jess is a former glamour model
(Image: Jessica Impiazzi/Instagram)
“Back then, I was a confused young person and I was doing what other people were telling me to do to stay relevant and it wasn’t being true to myself. My main advice would always be ‘Don’t do things to your detriment to please other people,’” she reveals.
“I understand it’s very hard to think long-term when you’re 18, 19, 20, going into a big show, and you see how some people have come out and taken the world by storm. But if you’re not one of the main headline ones of that year you’re going to vanish again. “
The 32-year-old was also concerned that having sex on TV would damage her future, and she warns other contestant not to go down the same path.
“The problem is that everybody has to do the most shocking thing to stay in the limelight,” she says. “But where do you go now? What, do you have to murder someone on TV?”
Jess first starred on Ex On The Beach in 2015
She added: “Don’t think this is forever, have fun but know yourself well enough to come out the other side and be able to carry on any career that you want. Look at Alex George (a contestant on Love Island in 2018), he’s done great. He continues to be a doctor and now he uses his platform for good. Don’t just think of the glitz and glam, think of your future and what you want to do.
“After Ex On The Beach, I was so scared I was going to ruin my acting career, that’s what I trained at, and I almost blew it all,” she admitted.
Jess has managed to return to her first love, acting, and is about to start filming a movie with British star Jason Flemyng. She told us: ”It’s a cross between The Hangover and Shaun of the Dead, you could say it’s a zom-com! I’m really excited as I’ve worked my backside off to make sure I can do what I love.”
These days, she has teamed up with The Humane Society to promote Compete, a social media app that asks users to share their fur-free fashion.
Jess is asking app users to send her pics of their best fur-free fashion
Jess aims to raise awareness of animal cruelty. It’s a subject that she’s passionate about, as a vegan and animal lover. She told us: “It’s unnecessary to be so cruel to animals just for fashion, especially in this day and age there are so many alternatives that look exactly the same. When the Compete app came along with the Humane Society it fitted in with what I believe.”
The app is also strongly moderated to prevent trolling. That’s something that Jess has managed to deal with in the past. She continued: “People only tend to troll if there’s something wrong with them. But I do know that it be awful for your mental health. It’s almost like you can’t escape it because nowadays we’re attached to our phones, and our brains seem to want to look at the negative. On Instagram I make good use of the block button, but I do think social media companies do need to take more action.”