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Home Life Weekend

'It was harder opening up about Bell's palsy and how I have panic attacks because they are sides of me I don't ever show publicly'

Gogglebox and I'm a Celebrity... star Scarlett Moffatt explains to Prudence Wade why she's more confident than ever before

You rarely expect people to be exactly what they're like on the television, but what you see is what you get with Scarlett Moffatt. The country first fell in love with her on Gogglebox, and then again when she was crowned Queen of the Jungle on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! in 2016 - and it's hard not to do the same when you meet her.

Speaking to Scarlett is just like chatting with a friend: everything she says is funny and kind, in her signature Geordie accent.

Even though her new autobiography - Me Life Story, Sofa, So Good - has a jokey title to match her personality, don't make the mistake of not taking her seriously.

Here, Scarlett tells us all about how she's learnt to fight her demons and why she wants to spread a body positive message on Instagram.

Opening up about her Bell's palsy

She might have a glamorous career, presenting on shows such as Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and the newly-rebooted Streetmate, but life hasn't always been easy for 27-year-old Scarlett.

She's writes in her autobiography about some pretty serious topics that have affected her - from childhood bullying to a bike accident that changed her life. Just before starting secondary school, Scarlett was diagnosed with Bell's palsy - a type of facial paralysis - that was the result of her being hit by a car while cycling.

This, coupled with subsequent bullying at school, made life difficult, but she's glad she's finally opened up about it all. "I'm so pleased that I wrote about it, because it was almost like therapy," she admits. "I feel like a lot of weight has been lifted off."

That's not to say sharing was easy. "It was harder opening up about the Bell's palsy and how I have anxiety and panic attacks," says Scarlett, "because they're sides of me I don't ever show publicly."

Tackling anxiety

The reality star is frank about her struggles with anxiety. "When you talk about it, it becomes less stressful," she says. "I don't think anyone should feel like it's a problem because it's not something you can help: that's just how our brains work.

"There's such a stigma attached to anxiety, so it's good to brush that away. Nobody should feel embarrassed or alone. The more people talk about it, the more people will understand it and know how to act."

"I still have bad days," she says of her own issues. "What people need to understand about anxiety and panic attacks is that it isn't necessarily the big things that can make you feel nervous - it can be little things too."

How fame has helped her love herself

Contrary to what you might expect, being in the spotlight has actually helped Scarlett deal with her anxieties and the negative self-image she had as a child.

"I never thought as a kid, when I had the accident, with my teeth and the Bell's palsy, that I would be taking selfies and posting them on the internet" she says. "I think it's actually given me more confidence.

"I've learned - and I mean this in a non-big-headed way - to love myself. This is what I look like, flaws and all. If I didn't have them, I wouldn't be me."

Scarlett credits her 11-year-old sister, Ava, as one of the reasons she's so vocal about being body-confident, both online and in person.

"Because my sister's 11, I want to give a clear message to her that you don't have to look a conventional way," she explains.

"I make sure on Instagram I also post pictures without make-up because I think it's important for people to realise that it isn't real life. People don't look glamorous 24/7. Most of the time I'm in a onesie, with my hair in a topknot and no make-up on."

And the best piece of advice Scarlett has given to her sister? "I always tell her to be a Froot Loop in a bowl of Cheerios," she says with a laugh.

Me Life Story: Sofa So Good by Scarlett Moffatt, Blink Publishing, £18.99

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