Model Jade Lynch: Truth about me, sex and monogamy
She was seen as an unscrupulous man-eater during her time in the Big Brother house, but the reality behind model Jade Lynch's life is far more complex, as she reveals to Barry Egan.
Michael Hirschorn asked in The Atlantic magazine in 2007: "Is there an easier position to take in polite society than to patronise reality TV? Even television programmers see the genre as a kind of visual Hamburger Helper: cheap filler that saves them money they can use elsewhere for more worthy programming."
Yet, when Jade Lynch was evicted from the Big Brother house on June 19, the 24-year-old model-turned-spokesperson-for-polyamory brought some deeper truth to the genre as she talked about the inner battle of dark versus light, good versus bad.
Fighting back tears, she told the show's host, Emma Willis: "I knew I was going. I could feel it all day and, as I've always said, there are two sides to me - the good and bad.
"But the bad side took over when those doors opened," Jade added. She was referring to the boos and the jeers that greeted her re-emergence after six weeks of surveillance-style footage of her failings, foibles and fumblings - and the odd wince-worthy word - being beamed to the outside world, courtesy of Channel 5. The little girl who grew up in a cottage in Dublin's Phoenix Park - "I used to visit the zoo every day" - was the star of the show, with her tantalising pronouncements concerning her unshackled sexuality and soul.
Today Jade is putting in context what she calls the other side of her psyche - the dark side - which has protected her in her life.
"I always felt like there was another person inside me," she says. "Someone who was there to help me when I needed them. It's my other side. So I am calm and cool, don't like confrontation and I deal with it in a very assertive way. I also am very emotional. I hate negative stuff. I'm not able to handle the badness in the real world and I crumble easy," she explains.
"So this is where the 'other Jade' steps in. She is strong, and picks us both back up when I fall. She has a vicious streak - a very sharp tongue. She is very good at making me see sense sometimes when I'm being gullible. She is a firecracker, to say the least.
"Sometimes, even when I don't need her, she will come out and say something and I have to stop and say: 'OMG. That was not me'. I did it so many times in the house. She comes out when the boos and fights happen, because she can handle it. She is the fierce one."
This other Jade emerged out of necessity - a means of survival, even - when she was 18, after seven years of being badly bullied at school.
Jade suffered from depression, she says, as a result of the bullying. "I was nearly suicidal at 14. I kept mitching school [playing truant] because I was scared to go in. Then I left, and got bullied around the place I was living. I always knew there was something bigger and better for me out there, and my passion to find that, along with the 'other Jade', helped me out of it," she says. She says what helped her was "knowing the bullies were nasty people and unhappy with their life, so I was an easy target.
"Now, when I walk by them, they put their head down, as opposed to me putting my head down," Jade says. "My energy has changed. I read books and got myself out to the world and escaped it all."
Jade's conversion to polyamory - where someone can be in a non-possessive and non-exclusive intimate relationship with more than one person simultaneously - is, perhaps, the more intriguing part of her life.
"I've been polyamorous for a few years now," she begins. She first realised she was polyamorous when she was 18 and she "kept cheating" on her boyfriend. "I thought there might be something wrong with me," she says.
Maybe you were just cold?
"No, no, I kept cheating on him and I was wondering what was going on. I had to break away from him, because I kept doing it to him. I read a few books and I came across polyamory. Then I met a few people. It kind of fitted well with me and that's where I've been ever since."
So, where does that come from, psychologically, with you?
"It comes from being free. The thing with me is, I don't want to feel like I'm trapped in a relationship and then somebody else comes along and we have a beautiful chemistry and connection - a sexual connection, the whole lot - and I have to leave that, just because I am in a monogamous relationship. That doesn't work for me, because I want to experience everything in life, and the universe, and all the energies and the feelings the world has to offer."
How is that different from being in an open relationship?
But you can have an intimate, loving relationship with someone one night and the next night have a intimate, loving relationship with someone else?
"Exactly," Jade says.
How does that work emotionally and with all those other feelings?
"It doesn't take away from what I have with one person, just because I might have something similar with another person. That doesn't take away from anything I have with anybody else, because I feel everything all the time, and I just want to give energy and give feeling, and I want that back. And that's what happens with me."
So can you have a loving relationship with five guys?
"It doesn't mean five guys! Max, two. But two, yeah."
Are you frightened somehow that familiarity breeds contempt?
"No. I'm not frightened of anything. I don't have any sort of hidden emotional issues from any stage of my life. It's just genuinely how my soul is. I feel like a weird hippy. That I don't even live in 2015. I feel like I live back with the hippies in 1968."
Do you get guys hitting on you pretending to be devout disciples of polyamory?
"No," she laughs. "Because they don't know that I'm polyamorous because I don't tell them. If you go to New York, being polyamorous is like a trend over there, almost. Everyone is doing it. Everyone is free and everyone is accepting."
Jade she is currently single. "I'm very cautious of who I share sexual energy with," she says. "Sex is very intimate to me and has deep meaning. It's a spiritual thing for me and it affects my energy quickly, so I like to find that connection with that, too."
Only a month or so before she entered the Big Brother house, Jade had just come out of a two-and-a-half year relationship that was not polyamorous.
"I wasn't true to myself," she says. "And I am thankful for that experience, because it has made me know that it is not wrong to be true to yourself, and you need to make yourself happy, and you come first and your happiness comes first. And that's it. And that's where I am right now. I'm being honest to myself and true to how I feel, and openly expressing through my words how I feel."
She adds: "The way I was portrayed in the Big Brother house was wrong - as basically a bed-hopper. Because I was friends with Nick, they wanted to make a fuss about that in the house. Then Christian in the house, he's a very good-looking guy, we're both single, we gave each other cuddles, that was it, nothing else, and that was portrayed as something else."
Jade, who started modelling when she was 18, says she "struggled for years, until the last two years. She also mentions modelling in Italy later this year, and possibly more TV work - she had walk-on parts in Vikings and Game Of Thrones last summer.
She talks about going to Trinity College to do a psychology and sociology course to help with her future life as a counsellor. Jade doesn't doubt for one second that she will find far more reality there than in the reality TV that made her a celebrity.