We hear that filming Educating Joey Essex got off to an eventful start when you were bitten by a domesticated monkey. Were you scared?
“I got bitten by a monkey that was wearing a waistcoat and nappy. I wanted to be checked over by a doctor because I was worried about catching rabies, but it turned out the monkey had had all it’s injections and I’d had all mine too, so the doctor said I was OK. I think the monkey bit me because he’d been eating loads of sweets and was super hyper!”
We assume the biting incident didn’t faze you too much as you then visited the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda. What was it like seeing these animals in the wild?
“The monkeys in their natural habitat seemed so happy and weren’t aggressive like the pet one that bit me. A gorilla came right up to me and I was well scared – but he just brushed against me and didn’t hurt me at all.”
How does it feel to know that some of these species could become extinct?
“It’s crazy, innit, to think these monkeys are there now, but in years to come they’ll be extinct, just like the dinosaurs.”
And what happened when you went on safari in Kruger National Park?
“We camped out all night in a tent. It was very humid and we had really scary-looking hyenas right outside. It was actually really funny out there – when you watch it you’ll laugh your head off!”
We hear you also visited a township in Soweto. What was that like?
“It was like a ghetto, but I chilled with the locals for a bit and did some dancing, it was mad. I learnt that the African people spray custard to impress the girls – in Essex we’d spray champagne!”
Do you think you taught your new friends a thing or two?
“I taught them a few words like ‘Reem’, ‘Creepy’ and ‘Sick’. They were all speaking my lingo by the time I left.”
The show’s called Educating Joey Essex – what do you feel you actually learned from the trip?
“I learned that monkeys and gorillas in their natural habitat are much happier than ones that are kept as pets!”
How does this trip compare to your stint in the I’m A Celebrity jungle?
“In Australia, the weather was more up and down but, in Africa, it was hot every single day. In the jungle, we’d usually only see animals when we went to do a trial and they were mostly bugs rather than wild animals. But both were as scary as each other, I’d say!”
What do you miss most about Essex when you’re away?
“I miss my mates and my family really, and just being able to hang out and chill with them.”
Is there anything you take away with you to remind you of home?
“Mmm… my hair dryer and my Joey Essex Dream hair wax. Oh and some aftershave!”