Kelly Brook’s Fear of Cancel Culture: Why People Try to Cancel Me for Stupid Remarks
KELLY Brook’s eyes widen as she discusses the perils of broadcasting live.
In an age where cancel culture exists, even accidental slips of the tongue can potentially end careers, and she is all too aware of the risks.
Kelly Brook opens up about her fears of cancel culture, career missteps, and why she now has to work for the body she used to take for grantedCredit: David Titlow
People are always trying to cancel me over stupid things I’ve said, says KellyCredit: David Titlow
Kelly has found herself at the centre of attempts to whip up controversy over something insignificant and long-forgottenCredit: David Titlow
It’s a tightrope she walks every time she goes on air for her weekday drivetime radio show at Heart.
“You only need to say something or reference someone in the wrong way nowadays… There’s a culture where people are just waiting for you to slip up,” she says.
“I like to think [co-host Jason King] JK and I push it enough so we can still have fun and make people want to listen, but we’re not offensive. If anything, we make fun of ourselves rather than other people. But every day we think there’s a chance this could be our last show!”
She recognises social media’s appetite for manufactured outrage and has found herself at the centre of attempts to whip up controversy over something insignificant and long-forgotten.
“I see people on Twitter trying to cancel me all the time over stupid things I’ve said in the past, all taken completely out of context,” she says.
“And you can see how these online storms happen when a few people then jump on it.
“My agent always says an online storm isn’t a real storm, and if it passes within 24 hours, you’re all right. But if it continues over a few days, then you’ve probably got to worry.
“I mean, look at Gary Lineker. He’s been subjected to online storms in the past and he must have thought: ‘Oh, I know this game, it comes and it goes…’ He probably thought it would be all OK, but when it doesn’t go away, then you have to panic.”
She’s referring to the recent row over the Match Of The Day presenter’s tweets on asylum seekers, which saw him temporarily suspended and, in an act of solidarity, his colleagues refusing to step in to cover him.
“I can’t say I have colleagues like that!” she jokes.
“There’s a different mentality in sport, I think. If the same thing happened to me, I reckon JK would be like: ‘I’m out! You shouldn’t have said it Kel, I’ve got kids to feed, you’re on your own!’”
Kelly, 43, has been at Heart for more than four years now, and in radio she has found a natural home.
Kelly has been at Heart for over four years and found a natural home in radioCredit: David Titlow
Working for Heart has allowed Kelly to strike a balance between her public and private lifeCredit: David Titlow
These days, Kelly is a healthy size 12 – curvier than she was in her lads’ mag daysCredit: Shutterstock
It’s also a job that has enabled her to strike a balance between her public and private lives.
She says radio doesn’t “expose [her] to the same level of attention you get with TV,” which makes it feel like “a safe zone”.
However, whenever things are going well, that’s when she’s most wary of upsetting the apple cart.
Kelly cites her tumultuous stints on The Big Breakfast in 1999 and Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 as perfect examples of temptations which, with hindsight, she feels she would have been better off resisting.
“Unfortunately what happens is, I get to a really dreamy time in my life where I’m working with great brands, have a job that I love and everything’s perfect. And then someone will come along, like the devil on your shoulder, saying there’s this TV opportunity and it’s going to be amazing for you…
“That’s what happened with The Big Breakfast and with Britain’s Got Talent. Everything was great and then someone swooped in with this ‘golden opportunity’ and you think: ‘Oh, that’s way better than what I’ve got at the moment!’ But it’s not.
“What it actually is, is running away from your beautiful life and joining a circus instead.”
She adds: “The key is not to think the grass is greener. I’ve done it twice in my career – I always have to make mistakes twice to realise – so I’m really mindful of that now. I did it and it was a disaster. I know how it can ruin everything.
“I don’t want to go through life having regrets or being scared of failure, but when everything is nice and calm, I don’t want to rock what I’ve got going on.”
Kelly has been a fixture in the public eye since the late-1990s, when she first started modelling and quickly became a lads’ mag favourite.
Her career took her all the way to Hollywood, and, over the last two decades, she has turned her hand to films, TV, theatre and presenting, while her personal life has kept her in the headlines – and the body that initially made her famous has been scrutinised throughout.
These days, Kelly is a healthy size 12 – curvier than she was in her lads’ mag days, but she’s happily accepted that her body has changed since then.
“I don’t put pressure on myself, but I do feel like people expect me to look a certain way. When you’re the pin-up in your 20s and 30s, and being cast in movies where you’re in a bikini, you’re ‘that’ girl.
“But I’m 43 now. I’m not the 23-year-old bikini model on a beach in a B-movie. It was fun to be that girl, I loved it, but I didn’t have to work for that body. That was just my body. I used to eat and drink whatever I wanted. All 20 year olds look cute, don’t they? No wrinkles, lovely skin, all toned.
“But I’m not there any more, I’m something else now and that’s fine.”
Kelly presented The Big Breakfast Programme alongside Johnny VaughanCredit: Shutterstock
Kelly and her Italian husband, model, actor and martial arts expert Jeremy Parisi, first started dating back in 2014Credit: Instagram/Kelly Brook
Having crept up to a size 16 a few years ago, Kelly managed to lose 2st with SlimFast, a plan she has since adapted to maintain her current weight, although she tends to go by her clothes rather than what the scales say.
She is now fronting the brand’s new Oomph For Your Boomph campaign alongside TV personality and rapper Big Narstie, 37, with whom Kelly has struck up an unlikely friendship.
She says: “I was so excited to work with him and it’s great to have a popular male face who is on his own weight-loss journey. He’s got such fun energy and we have so many similarities. We both love naughty food and we both struggle keeping our weight down. He’s been great and I’m just like the hype girl!”
She adds: “I’ve gone through the weight-loss journey, so now it’s about keeping it off and staying healthy. My whole body has changed compared to when I was younger – I can’t even drink alcohol any more. One glass of wine with dinner and that is it, I don’t have the tolerance.
“But that’s my body forcing me to make healthier choices. It’s saying: ‘Nope, we can’t deal with that any more. I’ve looked after you in your 20s and 30s, you’ve had your time, now you’ve got to look after me.’”
After four called-off engagements in her younger years, Kelly’s love life is stronger than ever, too.
She and her Italian husband, model, actor and martial arts expert Jeremy Parisi, first started dating back in 2014, after she spotted him on Instagram – and she made the first move with a direct message.
“I saw his photo and was like: ‘Oh, he’s nice’, and I started following him. When I saw that he’d followed me back, I slid into the DMs and was like: ‘Thanks for the follow…’ and we started chatting. I did wonder if I was being catfished, so I suggested we Skype. He kept his finger over the camera until he saw me, to make sure I was who I said I was – so he saw me before I saw him!”
Kelly has been ambivalent about marriage in the past, but the couple wed last July in a stunning ceremony in Italy. So obviously something changed her mind.
“We were getting older and people in our family started dying, and we thought that if we were going to do it, we needed to get on with it or there’d be no one there! It gets to the point where you think: ‘What are we waiting for?’
“It just made so much sense. We got our dog [Teddy] and I could see Jeremy was really happy in the UK, which gave me confidence that he wasn’t going to up sticks and move back to France [where he grew up].
“My cousins came over from New York and on that day I thought: ‘When are all of our families ever going to come together like this again?’ So many people made an effort to come.”
That her dad wouldn’t be there to give her away was something Kelly struggled to contemplate, and it had played a part in her putting off getting married at all.
Kelly is now fronting the brand’s new Oomph For Your Boomph campaign alongside TV personality and rapper Big Narstie
Her dad, Kenneth Parsons, died of cancer in 2007 aged just 57, leaving Kelly grief-stricken.
“Because I didn’t have my dad around, I’d never visualised myself walking down the aisle. It was the only part of my wedding I wasn’t looking forward to, because I felt that was going to be really emotional and actually just not very nice.
“I’d tell myself I just needed to get from A to B, get married and then we’d have a huge party, but I couldn’t get my head around it without my dad.”
However, on the day, Kelly had been preparing to walk down the aisle alone when something extraordinary happened.
The scene was beautifully set for an outdoor ceremony, but a few minutes before it was due to take place, a freak thunderstorm wiped everything out.
Suddenly, all the guests were forced to rush into the nearby tower while Kelly was left waiting in the car, where she made a split-second decision.
“I said: ‘I don’t want to wait for the rain to clear. I’m not going to walk down the aisle, I’m just going to go up that tower and marry Jeremy there.’”
Permission from the mayor to marry in the building was hurriedly sought and granted, and the impromptu ceremony took place in a little room where no one could sit down – and which Kelly describes as “chaotic, crazy and hilarious.”
The rest of the wedding day was clear and sunny, which gave her something to reflect on later.
‘Marriage changes things’
She says: “Someone told me in Chinese philosophy, when it rains it means the heavens are touching the earth. So maybe Dad did make an appearance on my wedding day right at the moment he was supposed to walk me down the aisle.
“I don’t know. It hadn’t rained in that area for about six months, so whatever happened, it was bizarre.”
Does being married feel different?
“It does change things. I can’t explain it, but we’re more of a team. Everything feels more together,” she says.
“He’s definitely a calming influence on my life. If there’s an issue, he doesn’t add to it, he tries to resolve it. I’m quite fiery and he’s more like water, so he puts me out and calms me down. I need that – fire on fire is not good.”
Plans for this year include finally taking a honeymoon (they haven’t got round to it yet) and continuing to nurture her radio audience and brand partnerships.
Kelly has no desire to return to acting – “I don’t love being on location, I like sleeping in my bed” – which comes back to not wanting to risk a ruction when everything feels settled.
“Over the past five years, I’d like to think that I’ve reintroduced and re-established myself into the industry as a broadcaster and presenter and someone who talks for a living. So it’s not really about my body or any of that other stuff any more,” she says.
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years, so I’ve been around a long time. And I do feel very fortunate, because it’s provided me with a lovely life.”
- To find out more about SlimFast’s Oomph For Your Boomph campaign, visit Slimfast.co.uk.
In the make-up chair with Kelly
What do you splurge on?
I treat myself to a Hydrafacial and Profhilo with Dr Sach Mohan at Revere Clinics.
Do you have any skincare heroes?
I love using Shani Darden Retinol Reform and iS Clinical Active Serum and Control Corrective SPF on my skin.
What’s your top beauty hack?
Shavata Singh for brows, because she makes them look thick and dark and shapes them perfectly. Mine are overplucked, so she really sorts them out for me.
What’s your favourite beauty bargain?
I love Sudocrem – it just sorts out most skin irritations.
How has your approach to beauty evolved?
I now embrace getting older and I definitely don’t stress about spots or wrinkles – I’m at the age where I now get both!
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