In Gemma Collins: Self-Harm and Me on Channel 4, prepare to see a very different side to 'the GC' as she opens up about her deepest secret.
Fans of the reality star will be more than used to seeing her ups and downs play out on screen as since she first appeared on The Only Way Is Essex in 2011 we’ve shared everything from her toxic romances to her problematic relationship with food.
But even for Gemma some things are too painful to admit, which is why she has always kept her 20-year battle with self-harm a closely guarded secret, even from those closest to her. Now, however, Gemma is revealing all about her experiences in this candid and unwaveringly honest documentary.
“I never told anyone about it because it was shameful,” says Gemma. “It’s a part of myself I don’t understand.” In order to delve deeper into why she felt the need to self-harm, Gemma will undergo counselling, visit a support group and a charity for those who self harm and speak to her family and friends about her darkest moments. “I’m petrified,” she admits. “But I am also like, 'get your big girl knickers on and let’s go’.”
So here's everything you need to know about Gemma Collins: Self-Harm and Me, including our interview with the star herself. Brace yourself for a very vulnerable Gemma Collins...
‘Gemma Collins: Self-Harm and Me’ release date
The Channel 4 documentary Gemma Collins: Self Harm and Me arrives on Wednesday February 16 2022 at 9pm. It will then become available on streaming service All4.
Is there a trailer of ‘Gemma Collins: Self-Harm and Me’?
Not at the moment. We’re not sure if Channel 4 will release a trailer for Gemma Collins: Self Harm and Me before the air date but if they do we’ll put it up on this page.
What happens in 'Gemma Collins: Self-Harm and Me'?
As well as talking about her own painful experiences with self-harm, Gemma examines why this is such a common problem in today’s society and seeks out the help available for those struggling with mental health conditions.
She has counseling from therapist Mandy Saligari to better understand why she cut herself for 20 years and attends a support group. She also visits the charity HARMLESS and meets other people who have hit rock bottom as a result of self-harm. More difficult still, Gemma forces herself to speak to her family, friends, and fiancé Rami about the dark secret she has hidden for most of her life.
“I wasn’t self-harming to kill myself. It was a release when the tension inside me built up,” she explains. “Now, I want a family but there’s always the fear that it might come back. That’s scary so I’m ready to find out why I did it in the first place. This isn’t a celebrity sob story, so don’t get the violins out for me. But the public don't know Gemma, they know the GC. Everyone sees this strong character but I’m actually quite a soft, sensitive person. I thank god that I got out of it but my heart sinks a bit because so many people are still thick in the throes of it.”
Interview: Gemma Collins on her documentary
Why did you want to make this documentary now?
Gemma Collins says: "It seemed like the right time. I’m desperate to have a baby at some point this year and I had questions I wanted to ask about it. I’ve always put off having a baby because I was worried it would come back and I’d be an unfit mother. Also, self-harm is not something that’s spoken about so by doing this I think I can help a lot of people.
You say on the show that you don’t want this to be a celebrity sob story – why is that?
"Celebrity is what I do for a job. Through my job I do get to do amazing things but people sometimes forget celebrities are real people. They are quick to say it’s another sob story. It isn’t – we’re real people. I think if you’ve got such a huge platform like I have it’s best to use it wisely, not just for the glitz and the glamour."
You learn that more than half of 16-25-year-olds in Britain have self-harmed. Were you shocked?
"It’s unbelievable. There are so many people out there doing it who don’t understand why either. If one person picks up the phone or they reach out to a family member or friend because they think ‘well the GC has been there too’, then it was worth making the documentary. Also, my dear friend Reece committed suicide last year. I didn’t realize he was in so much pain and it was too late for him. So that was a real massive reason why I wanted to create awareness because guys self harm as well."
What was the hardest part of making the show?
"Every stage of it was really hard. I had to go back to a place that was very scary, highly uncomfortable, and very daunting. Every day during filming I felt sick but I knew I had to be brave.
Are you worried about viewers seeing you this vulnerable?
"To be honest I’m very much Gemma Collins in the program. I’m not the GC. I always said when I got into my 40s I want to rest the GC a bit and just be me. I’m comfortable in myself now and I want to show people that side of me. It’s easier for me, I don’t have to act and put on a show all the time.
Are you proud of the show?
"When I watched it I said, “that’s the proudest moment of my career”. It’s the best TV I’ve ever made. I was laid bare. I just cannot wait for it to be out there and I don’t need to hide it anymore. It’s a weight off my shoulders and hopefully, I can do more stuff where I am Gemma Collins and not the GC. I am comfortable and proud of who I am."
More about Gemma Collins — her TV career so far
Gemma found fame on the reality show The Only Way Is Essex, aka TOWIE, which she appeared on from 2011 to 2019, alongside Joey Essex who also told of his personal anguish in a BBC1 documentary about the suicide of this mother called Joey Essex: Grief and Me.
She then took part in the ITV diving competition Splash!, despite admitting she had a fear of water. In 2014 Gemma appeared on I’m a Celebrity... but walked out after just 72 hours in the jungle after refusing to do a parachute jump.
In 2016 Gemma went on Celebrity Big Brother and two years later appeared on Celebs Go Dating. She also took part in the show Sugar Free Farm, where she and five other celebrities attempted to stick to a sugar-free diet. In 2019 Gemma competed in Dancing On Ice but suffered a bad fall, landing on her face and injuring her knee. She was eliminated in week six. The GC also has her own franchise Gemma Collins: Diva.
Help and advice for self-harming
There are services to help those who are self-harming or thinking of self-harm. Take a look at the NHS website here which outlines what's on offer.
I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.
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