'Trolls have called me fat and ugly... my mum has cried at stuff that she has read about me'
Fat-shaming is never okay, but Scarlett Moffatt admits she would like to lose weight for her health. The Gogglebox star talks about breast surgery rumours, dealing with Bell's palsy and the joy of watching TV, writes Hannah Stephenson
She's known for her searing and hilarious one-liners on Channel 4's Gogglebox - but lately, Scarlett Moffatt has found herself the butt of some acerbic comments.
Most recently, the disparaging remarks made about her weight by a well-known columnist sparked a backlash on Twitter, as fans defended the 25-year-old buxom brunette, whose witty observations while watching telly with her parents have made her a Gogglebox favourite.
Today, Moffatt, who is promoting her book Scarlett Says - a montage of her outspoken opinions and random rants on everything and everyone - is the first to admit her weight has ballooned and is keen to shed those excess pounds, after being tested for type 2 diabetes. She says she'll need to go back for more blood tests.
"Doctors told me I was in the BMI danger zone of being obese. I was genuinely shocked. I couldn't believe it, especially when I used to be so fit."
Until a few years ago, Scarlett was a top ballroom dancer, something she'd done since she was five years old.
Trained by Anton Du Beke, before Strictly made him a household name, she won national titles and took part in competitions in Portugal and Paris. She gave it up because it took up too much of her time.
"It was only four years ago that I was doing professional ballroom dancing," she laments of her lack of fitness now. "But it's my own fault.
"There's a point where you think, 'I'm okay the size I am', but when it starts affecting your health, you need to pull your finger out.
"When I was super-fit, I used to do loads of workouts in the house, because you can do it whenever you want. I'm definitely going to have to find something."
She says she doesn't know how much she weighs, though. "I'd have to step on the scales for that, and I haven't, because that's how bad it's got. I'm looking at different types of exercise to see what would suit us, because I'm not a gym person. I'd rather do things in my own home, or in the garden."
While many of her supporters have defended her on Twitter, she's suffered her share of trolls over the years.
"There are odd ones, mostly men, who criticise me about my weight and my size and say I'm ugly. I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't hurt sometimes.
"People are brutal. They forget that people on telly are actually real people. It upsets my mum and dad. I'm quite a strong character, but it breaks my heart for them.
"My mum's cried at stuff she's read about me, so I end up putting on a brave face, because I don't want her to be upset. People have said, 'You're that fat, you should just go and die'. I think, 'Jesus Christ, I'm not a bad person'. It's horrible."
Growing up in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, she recalls being bullied; things got so bad she had to change schools at 14.
"As a kid, I was really ugly. I'm not surprised I got bullied. I never used to smile because I smashed my front teeth when I was younger - I was on my bike when I was 11 and a car hit me. The nerves had gone, so I had black teeth at the front."
While she says some people assume she's not very bright, she left school with a string of GCSEs and A-Levels and studied primary education at York St John University.
She admits her love of fake tan, make-up and beauty regimes has extended to some cosmetic enhancements, with lip-fillers and veneers - "I had fillers to enhance my top lip, just so I could smile. I might have it done again for my birthday" - but dismisses reports she's having a breast-reduction.
"I'm hoping that, when I lose weight, they will reduce a little bit naturally. I haven't got any piercings, or tattoos, so I can't imagine going for a serious operation like that. I'm such a wimp when it comes to pain. I can't ever see myself getting a boob reduction. I'm now a 32G, and in an ideal world, I'd be a 32D."
She's also nervous about Botox because she had Bell's palsy (a condition which causes temporary weakness or paralysis down one side of the face) when she was 11, shortly after her bike accident.
"I was doing a performance for my mum and dad - I used to put on little shows for them - when all of a sudden, my mouth just drooped and I remember standing in front of the mirror and just screaming. My eye dropped, I couldn't speak properly, I got all slurred, and my mum and dad thought I was putting it on.
"I was screaming so loud to try to get my mouth to go straight. I burst into tears and then they realised. It was awful."
She believes it's had some lasting effects, although steroid treatment helped initially.
"I can't close my left eye properly. I have to sleep with a little eye mask and my mouth still goes to the side when I talk, although people don't really notice.
"Sometimes if I'm tired, my left eye feels a little bit twitchy, but I don't get pain or slur my words. I don't feel sorry for myself, as there are so many worse afflictions people can get."
Last year, she moved to a flat in Newcastle, a short walk from Capital North East radio station, where she co-presents the breakfast show. It's her dream job, although she's still continuing with Gogglebox, returning home twice a week to watch telly with her parents for the cameras.
"I get a lot of people my age coming up to me and saying that I've made it cool again to be with your mum and dad. I'm not saying, 'Be The Brady Bunch', but it's nice to spend time with your family."
She's currently single, preferring not to try and find her perfect match through internet dating. The one time she went on Tinder, she reveals with a laugh, she set her distance to within 40km - but only three lads put themselves forward.
"Even five years ago, dating was a lot easier. People just went out and spoke to you, whereas now it's all online, flirting through seeing each other's pictures. No one just says, 'I like you', anymore."
Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt is published by Boxtree, priced £14.99 by Scribe