‘I WOULDN’T HAVE OF WORK DONE. PEO­PLE YOU FOR THE THINGS THAT AIN’T

The Mail on Sunday - You - - Generation Special -

per­son I have ever met who could say the words ‘I would rather have drunk pickle juice. I do like a gherkin’ and not have it sound like a dou­ble en­ten­dre.

Dani is the ul­ti­mate Gen­er­a­tion Z girl, the one who’s got all the smarts and feels all the feels. She rarely gets the ’ump (one of her words) about any­thing. In a world dom­i­nated by plas­tic boobs and sil­i­cone lips at one end of the teen and early-20-some­thing spec­trum (Gen­er­a­tion Z was born af­ter 1994) and snowflakes and Twit­ter­storms at the other, she’s the 32B real deal.

She’s huge right now. She and her boyfriend Jack Fin­cham are still float­ing high in the celebrity strato­sphere af­ter win­ning this year’s Love Is­land. Their re­la­tion­ship man­aged to el­e­vate the whole pro­gramme from a guilty plea­sure, in which some­one might have sex on telly, to the level of na­tional con­ver­sa­tion. She is in a West End show this Christ­mas, star­ring along­side her dad, the EastEn­ders ac­tor Danny Dyer, and, to­gether with Jack, has an ‘at home’ re­al­ity show launch­ing next month. A new book, What Would Dani Do?, is com­ing out next year. Her In­sta­gram ac­count has a mighty 3.4 mil­lion fol­low­ers with fans in­clud­ing bona-fide cool girls such as the Stranger Things ac­tress and teen Hol­ly­wood su­per­star Mil­lie Bobby Brown.

Dani can there­fore le­git­i­mately claim to be one of the faces and voices of her gen­er­a­tion and it would be an un­wise Mil­len­nial, Gen X-er or Baby Boomer who didn’t take her soft power se­ri­ously. ‘It’s mad,’ she says. ‘Who would have thought I’d get all that? Ac­tu­ally I’m scared of my fol­low­ers. I don’t know what to do with them. It’s been over­whelm­ing, hav­ing peo­ple be­ing kind to me for just be­ing my­self.’

Be­ing her­self is 22-year- old Dani’s su­per­power in an age when au­then­tic­ity is highly prized. Her fame, now im­mutable, ac­tu­ally only dates back six months to Ma­jorca in June when she tot­tered – groomed, glammed and bikini clad – into the Love Is­land villa. She cou­pled up with sta­tionery sales­man Jack, 27, and stayed loyal to him for the rest of the show. Un­like some other con­tes­tants, the cou­ple re­fused to have sex on screen. ‘I wanted to be able to look Jack’s nan in the eye af­ter­wards and know he could look my nan in the eye, too,’ she says. She wore his un­der­pants at night in bed with him to pre­serve her mod­esty. Calvins? ‘Yeah, course. Roomy.’

Now it’s a chilly win­ter morn­ing, many, many de­grees cooler – in ev­ery sense – than those red-hot villa days and nights. Dani is warm­ing her hands on a newly sweet­ened cof­fee hav­ing paused to ask if any­one would mind if she Dani with her mum Joanne and dad,

star Danny took a lump of de­mer­ara. Gen­er­a­tion Z maybe, but pan-gen­er­a­tional good man­ners are, in part, what’s made her the na­tion’s new sweet­heart. ‘I’ll keep me coat on while we chat,’ she says. ‘What’s the worst that could hap­pen, eh?’ The jacket is lovely, fake fur the colour of red squir­rel, it looks as warm and cosy as a cud­dle. It’s from her own cloth­ing range. An­other sur­prise. ‘I have to have class in my clothes,’ she says. ‘Sexy but classy. I don’t do trashy.’

And she doesn’t: what emerges is a young wo­man who doesn’t do ‘trashy’ in any as­pect of her life. She’s mod­est by to­day’s stan­dards, fru­gal with her new in­come and, given that she’s plan­ning to move out of Lon­don next year with Jack and their French bull­dog puppy Sandy (be­cause she’s Dani, ‘like in Grease’), she sounds pretty whole­some, too.

For starters, she’s a real home­bird. Her favourite night in­volves a take­away chicken balti, a face pack and Net­flix, wear­ing prop­erly ironed py­ja­mas. ‘My favourites are my red and white Coca- Cola ones, even though they make me look like Where’s Wally?’ If she does have to go out to a celebrity party, she longs to be home by 11pm and when she gets back she al­ways has a cup of tea and a hand­ful of Galaxy Coun­ters. Does she count them out like El­iz­a­beth Hurley counts her raisins? ‘No, I stick my hand right into the bag. I can hear them, in the fridge, laugh­ing at me if I don’t.’

She is very happy with Jack. He’s a man who looked at a tooth-whiten­ing chart in the den­tist’s and picked the shade marked ti­ta­nium diox­ide (the whitest white known to science) but, boy, she loves him and that eye-blind­ing smile. With his sculpted abs, trade­mark quiff and perma-tan, you might think she’d want to make more of an ef­fort than the comfy cot­ton PJs – her other faves fea­ture Elsa from Frozen – but she says not. ‘He has no great ex­pec­ta­tions. I set the bar pretty low.’ He’s The One, though? ‘Yes. There wasn’t any­one fit to tie his boot­laces on Love Is­land.’ That’s nice. ‘It’s true.’

The cou­ple are cur­rently liv­ing in their first home, a smart rented apart­ment in Lon­don’s Docklands. ‘Imag­ine if your mate moved in with some­one af­ter dat­ing for five months. You’d say, “Are you in­sane?” but I feel like we’ve been to­gether for years. Peo­ple said Love Is­land was test­ing, but it was a bub­ble. Com­ing out, that was the real test.’

It’s one they’re tak­ing in the full glare of the gos­sip columns with ev­ery­one des­per­ate to know the state of their sex life since they didn’t do it in the villa. It’s not some­thing Dani’s about to share – ‘that’s never gonna be a chap­ter in my book’ – but Jack did re­cently tell a news­pa­per that it had been dis­ap­point­ing at first but was now blis­ter­ing.

Ooooh, she was cross about that. ‘He was talk­ing sh**. Peo­ple seem to want to know what we are get­ting up to of a night-time but this is our life, not some sort of sex- ed­u­ca­tion class.’ Nor will she post any­thing louche on­line, aware of the per­ils of her dig­i­tal foot­print. ‘No, noth­ing nudey, no bits hang­ing out. That’s for Jack. And my own san­ity.’

So­cial an­thro­pol­o­gists be­lieve Gen Zeds have more in com­mon with their grand­par­ents and great-grand­par­ents than the gen­er­a­tions that im­me­di­ately pre­cede them, so per­haps it’s not sur­pris­ing Dani sounds al­most old-fash­ioned in her at­ti­tude to re­la­tion­ships and sex. She is look­ing for­ward to mar­ry­ing Jack and start­ing a fam­ily, though not right now: ‘I am 22 and feel­ing it.’

She’s old-fash­ioned in her at­ti­tude to money, too, a saver not a spender. The prici­est thing she has bought since be­com­ing mas­sively fa­mous is a belt. ‘A Gucci one. Ex­pen­sive.’ But

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