Gemma Collins

Artis­tic direc­tor Kevin Dowsett tells us what Gemma Collins was RE­ALLY like at the­atre school ahead of her DOI de­buté

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As self-con­fessed ‘diva’ Gemma Collins pre­pares to get her skates on for Danc­ing On Ice 2019, we can re­veal that the TOWIE star has never been fright­ened of speak­ing her mind – even when she was eight years old.

Young Gemma at­tended Theatre­train (1989-1995) where she spent three hours ev­ery Sat­ur­day do­ing dance, drama and singing lessons.

We caught up with her for­mer teacher, Kevin Dowsett, 66, who tells us, ‘She’s never been shy in her life.’

He ex­plained,

‘Most ado­les­cents go through a pe­riod of self-con­scious­ness but “brash” is a good word to de­scribe Gemma. She wasn’t fright­ened of say­ing what she thought to any­one. There’s a kind of in­tegrity and hon­esty in that… she was born ready to get on the stage, noth­ing could hold her back.’

Be­fore Gemma, 37, joined TOWIE in 2011, Kevin says he re­ceived a ‘funny’ call from her ask­ing, ‘I’ve de­cided to be an ac­tor. What do I have to do?’ to which he replied, ‘You’re a one-off. Be your­self dar­ling!’ And the rest is his­tory.

So, as Gemma pre­pares to face the sharp tongue of DOI judge Ja­son Gar­diner – who’ll be watch­ing her ev­ery ice move – will the GC suf­fer a melt­down?

She quit ‘I’m A Celebrity…’ in 2014 af­ter 72 hours in the jun­gle and threat­ened to walk out of Celebrity Big Brother just days be­fore hav­ing an epic rant over her ‘Es­sex blow-dry’ but Kevin says, ‘Peo­ple can be crushed by throw­away re­marks, but be­ing a per­former since she was a kid has made Gemma quite gritty in­side.

‘I hope she gives Ja­son as good as she gets – she won’t suf­fer fools gladly. I don’t think she’d crack. But you never know!’

Be­neath her tough ex­te­rior, there’s an­other side to Gemma.

‘She was dis­ci­plined,’ re­calls Kevin. ‘She had good habits and wasn’t an ego­tis­ti­cal stu­dent.’ Gemma – who will join Richard Black­wood, Brian Mcfad­den, James Jor­dan and Saira Khan on the ice – re­vealed last week she’s aware of the ‘graft­ing’ that lies ahead.

‘I know how hard it is,’ she says. ‘I’ve done my re­search! I am scared, I am ner­vous.

I re­ally want to give it a go. I love the cos­tumes.

I love the fun fac­tor!’

And Gemma’s not the only one who’s wor­ried.

When we asked Kevin if Gemma will strug­gle com­pared to tiny dancers, he says, ‘Yeah, of course she will. When I knew her, she was slim, she wasn’t the Gemma you see to­day. I didn’t know she could skate.’ And he has some ad­vice.

‘Tap­ping into your own emo­tions is more im­por­tant than get­ting the steps right. I wish her well. I hope she doesn’t fall!’

With Gemma’s ex­pe­ri­ence of tak­ing a tum­ble, we’re sure she’ll man­age to style it out!

‘noth­ing could hold her back’

Will Gemma get all the way to the DOI fi­nal? Gemma was highly dis­ci­plined when she was Kevin’s stu­dent

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