Authors: Sam Faiers
is the star of the ITV2 reality show
The Only Way Is Essex
. She owns and runs Minnies Boutique along with her mum
and sister, Billie.
Living Life the Essex Way
is her first book.
Thanks to my family and friends, who have supported me so much, especially Billie and Dad.
But in particular to you, Mum –
this one’s for you!
First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2012
Paperback edition published by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2012
A CBS COMPANY
Copyright © 2012 by Sam Faiers and Emma Donnan
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc.
All rights reserved.
The right of Sam Faiers to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,
Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
222 Gray’s Inn Road
Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney
Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
eBook ISBN: 978-1-84983-980-8
Typeset by M Rules
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CRO 4YY
definition of ‘Essex girl’: noun, British, informal, derogatory: A brash, materialistic young woman of a type supposedly found in Essex
or surrounding areas in the southeast of England.
For me, the true definition of ‘Essex girl’: noun, British, informal, complimentary: A stylish, hard-working, big-hearted and family-minded young woman found in Brentwood or nearby
areas (and Marbs).
As Amy Childs came out through the changing room curtain in a wedding dress, I felt a nervous giggle building up in me, and when I tried to speak I couldn’t stop grinning. I could sense my
friend Harry Derbidge doing the same next to me and was afraid to catch his eye.
I carried on talking, but saw this glint in Amy’s eye too, and suddenly I couldn’t hold it in, and all three of us got hysterical. We were lying on the floor laughing and
couldn’t get it together. Hardly likely to be a great TV debut, but then can you blame us? The three of us were filming our first ever scene for
The Only Way Is Essex
, and we were
terrified. I was so nervous, but giggling and excited at the same time. We were supposed to just be getting on with our everyday lives, but until you are used to having three cameras filming you,
it can hardly be expected to feel very natural, can it? Especially as it was our first time in front of the cameras. We’d only had a rough briefing from the producers, and weren’t told
how to behave, or even what to expect. So really, we were like three hyperactive kids.
After a stern talking to from the producer, who already had the hump with us, we carried on filming – not that our hysterics were a one-off that first day!
But let’s face it, only a few weeks before I had been working in a local bank, plotting how to improve my glamour-modelling career and trying to figure out what to wear to a night out at
Sugar Hut that weekend. I hadn’t realised that within a couple of months I would be on one of the most discussed TV shows in the UK and written about in news papers and magazines practically
every day – something which has had both good and bad effects on my life, as you’ll read about later. I would be able to earn in an hour what I earned in a month at the bank, and would
be having experiences I had never dreamed of, not to mention the chance to open my own shop. It really does feel like I am living my dream right now. And I even get to do it all while still living
in the best place in the world – Essex!
This book is my way of giving you a taste of my life growing up, what it is like being on
and what it means to be a true Essex girl. I hope you enjoy it – make sure you give
me a tweet @SamanthaFaiers to let me know. And remember: don’t be jel, be reem!
So I guess you want to know how I got to be on
The Only Way Is Essex
in the first place, because being a show about ordinary people, it’s not like you can work
towards getting cast. Being from Essex was perhaps the only qualification needed. But it was a more complicated route to the show than just that.
I know people in the public eye say this all the time, but I honestly never imagined that I would be famous one day. Other than when I was a kid, plotting to be in the next Spice Girls or
something, I wasn’t one of those teenagers who dream of being a celebrity and spend all their time working out how to do it. You would never have seen me in a queue for the
Weirdly though, if you ask any of my schoolmates who they thought would end up being the famous one, they are all like, ‘Oh my God, yeah, blatantly it would be you, Sam!’ One of my
mates reminded me that at primary school I did cheerleading and became obsessed with the film
Bring It On
. So when I was in Year 6 I insisted we had a cheerleading team too, and I loved
being in it and showing off. So maybe wanting to be centre of attention was in me after all . . .
By the time
came along, I’d already had a taste of TV. I’d been in the
Live & Kicking
studio audience twice, and on
The Sooty Show
when they had filmed in Spain, where my family had a house – I was sat on the beach with the puppets! But apart from those Oscar-winning appearances, I’d had no experience of it, and
wasn’t even thinking about getting on TV. Instead I was focused on getting myself established as a glamour model, and although I knew it wouldn’t last forever, it was my aim at the
time. I also had a full-time job in a local bank, and hoped to progress there too. I was 18, and my aim was just to earn more so I could have more fun, as well as saving for the future. I had a
manager to help with my modelling, but I didn’t have a proper agent at this point. Celebrities were just people I read about in magazines in my spare time.
Meanwhile, Brian Belo, who came from Essex, had just won the eighth series of
. After the show finished, he was always at Sugar Hut partying and basically making the most of
his new celebrity status, as you would. Because of that he was friends with Kirk Norcross, who owns Sugar Hut, and Amy Childs, as she was always there with Kirk. Then he got to know me through Amy,
although he says he had heard about me before that, through other people – all complimentary, I hope!
I already knew Kirk a bit before the show, and I have always thought he has two sides. One side of him is so lovely, almost too nice: the lovey-dovey family guy who loves women – he is
obsessed with the whole boobs, bum and glam thing. Then there is the side of him that is like ‘my way or the highway’. He will argue himself into a big row if he thinks he’s
right, even though sometimes it’s so blatantly obvious that he is wrong. I keep out of all that; I don’t want to get on his wrong side, knowing what he can be like. We’re not
close, but we will probably always be in the same group of friends.
Anyway, once Brian had got a taste of fame he definitely wanted to keep working in TV, and he came up with this idea that he wanted to do a show about Essex. He wanted it to be like the American
, but with people from here. Because he’s from Essex himself, he knew it would be a bit mad and would show how different the place is from anywhere else in the UK. Or,
for that matter, from anywhere in the world!
So he told us this plan, and said he wanted to call the show
and make a pilot, a one-off version of the show that you give to production companies to see if you can get
anyone interested in making it. He asked if the three of us wanted to be in it. I’ve never asked why he specifically wanted me to do it, but I guess he thought I was a good fun girl who is
down to earth but likes to party too – pretty much what Essex is about.
At the time, as I’ve said, it wasn’t really in my life plan, but I thought, ‘Well, I have nothing to lose, so why not?’ Actually I thought nothing big would really come
of it, other than if I was on TV, it would probably be quite good for my modelling career. So I reckoned I would go for it.
So Brian invited me, Amy, Kirk and a few of his other friends who he thought would make for funny TV over to his friend Chris Carter’s house. Chris was also taking part in the pilot show,
and Mark Wright was there too. I had known Mark for a few years, and he was popular and well known in the area, partly for all his club work, but also as a playboy – yep, even before
was aired, that was definitely his local reputation! So I guess Brian knew he’d make good viewing.
There was a TV company called Sassy Productions on board too, and basically for the pilot, we all had to talk about ourselves to camera: what we did for a living, why we loved our lives, what set Essex apart from the rest of the country, that kind of thing. I talked mostly
about doing glamour modelling. Looking back at the tape, it is so embarrassing and cringey – if that had been aired, it might have been the biggest mistake of my life!
Mark chatted to camera about how he was so good-looking that he would never go home alone, that kind of thing – typical of him. He kept winking at the camera and his hair was slicked back
with tons of gel – it was really funny. Kirk talked a lot about how much money he had and about clubbing, and Amy talked about her boob job and basically just chatted on in the way she does.
I don’t know if I should admit this, but you can still find the pilot on YouTube . . . To be honest, I don’t think any of us came across particularly well.