reality tv

"I struggled with the people." 3 celebrities on what I'm A Celeb is really like behind the scenes.

Despite the global pandemic, a handful of celebrities have been dumped in Dungay, in north-eastern New South Wales, for the seventh Australian season I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

From singer Jack Vidgen, to television and radio personality Grant Denyer, to influencer, reality TV star and podcaster Abbie Chatfield, this year’s season has seen an interesting mix of celebrities fending for themselves in the jungle.

But while viewers get a glimpse into daily life in camp in the series, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that we don’t get to see.

Watch the celebrities discover some jungle beauty hacks on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Post continues below.

We spoke to former contestants Keira Maguire, Simone Holtznagel and Andrew Daddo to find out what really goes on behind the scenes on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

Here’s what we discovered:

Keira Maguire, Season three

i'm a celebrity australia 2020
Image: Channel 10.

What is an average day like in the jungle?

For me, I was voted into every single trial while I was there so it was very stressful for me. Literally every single day, getting up and getting voted into a trial. Just knowing that you had to do something like that – it gave you massive anxiety.

What happens if you get sick or get your period while you're in the jungle?

There were sanitary products in the bathrooms already and if you got sick, there was a medic on standby at all times.

Did you have any contact with the producers or cameramen in camp?

Inside the camp, you couldn’t see anyone. The cameras are 24/7 so it’s very much like Big Brother.

Literally, when you walked out to the waterfall, there are cameras in every single tree. You can literally see them move when you move.

The only place where there weren’t any cameras was in the bathroom. I used to shower naked because I didn’t want to be seen on TV having a shower. That was my little strategic move. I thought I’d rather be naked in front of the cameraman than have the whole world see me nude.

What was the most challenging part about life in the jungle?

For me, my situation was a little different – I had nine trials in a row. A lot of people complained about how boring it was but I was very occupied.

I feel like for me, I just struggled with the people. As soon as I got there, they had an issue with me. It was like a constant battle, fighting them over nothing.

The people in camp was the hardest part overall because you come home to them, they all have their own opinions and they all bitch about you. If you go out on a trial, you get into trouble because they don’t get to go out on a trial. Or if you don’t get enough stars, you get into trouble. You can never do anything right. It’s forever trying to please people when on the outside, I would not give a f*ck.

i'm a celebrity australia 2020
Image: Channel 10.

How did you cope without access to technology?

That’s one of the things I really enjoy about these experiences. As soon as you go into lock down, they take your phone off you. They search all your bags, especially when you’re going into the jungle to make sure you’re not carrying anything. I stuck some spices in my bra and some eyelash brushes in my shoes.

It’s actually like a detox because you’re not using any products on your skin and you don’t have any access to technology.

It was a detox for my soul and my mind, even though I was dealing with idiots.

What was the worst trial you had to do in the jungle?

The first trial that I did – we had to do this trial where we could only use our mouth and I was using my mouth to get these stars.

The stars had really sharp corners and I had cuts all in my mouth and on my face. The last part of the trial was chilli – the chilli went on my face and when it started burning, I felt like I was going into cardiac arrest.

I literally thought I was going to die and they did not care. They left me sitting there for like five minutes until I just lost the plot. It went into my eyes, in my face, in my mouth – I can’t explain how it felt. I just felt so helpless and no one was helping me.

Simone Holtznagel, Season four

i'm a celebrity australia 2020
Image: Channel 10.

What is an average day like in the jungle?

An average day in the jungle was long. We'd wake up slowly and wait around until our breakfast of oats was ready. I'm good if I never have oats and water again.

As soon as breakfast was done, we’d clean up, put the beans on for lunch (they took forever to cook) and wait for Chris and Julia to come in and announce who was going off to the trial.

After they left we usually had an hour or two before whoever was going to trial had to leave so we would have lunch and then bid them farewell. If you weren’t in the trial and were staying in camp we would just entertain ourselves. Swim at the waterfall, or snooze, chat, play stupid made up games… or go stir crazy!

Whoever went on trial would come back, and then we’d wait for dinner. Every day we were hopeful that there was some sort of activity planned for after dinner. We’d also have to do wrap up interviews of the day's events. Sleep and repeat.

Is it possible to get any privacy in the jungle?

Unless you are a smoker and went to 'vape', then no, never.

Even if you are a smoker, you weren't alone – you had a guard with you and they were allowed to talk to you.

What happens if you get sick while you're in the jungle?

They have amazing care if you are sick. Even if you aren't sick, they've very conscious of your mental health, and we were all looked after very very well.

There was a psychologist on call 24/7 and I loved her. I was in the jungle over Charlotte's [Dawson] anniversary which is always a difficult week for me and she was there whenever I needed it. That week, she would bring up a box of tissues and she'd put a Kit Kat or two in between the tissues to try and cheer me up a little.

i'm a celebrity australia 2020
Image: Channel 10.

What was the most challenging part about life in the jungle?

I don't remember missing a lot. I actually quite liked not having to worry about much while I was there, and being able to disconnect from devices and social media was wonderful.

As a working model, I’ve had very long stretches of being away from my family – when I shot Australia’s Next Top Model in 2011 I was away filming for three months, and then I moved overseas by myself when I was 21; so being away from family and friends didn’t feel that different, and I knew they would all be watching.

Did you sneak in any contraband?

I had a tube of mascara, a pot of highlighter, some concealer and liquid blush all in my bra. In hindsight, I really wish I had smuggled in some salt and pepper.

Andrew Daddo, Season one

i'm a celebrity australia 2020
Image: Channel 10.

What was an average day like in the jungle?

Everything was based around food and challenges without having a clue what the time was – though we did try and work it out from the position of the sun.

We would get up, cook rice and beans for breakfast and wait to have a challenge put forward. If you were in the challenge or it was a group challenge, happy days. If not, kick back and hope for tomorrow.

I remember saying to the producers via the diary room – if you want us to do stuff, you should probably feed us. Pay peanuts get monkeys, that kind of thing.


There was a point in the first two weeks where almost everyone was either in tears or moving very little because we were starving. I know, I know, call a wahmbulance, but the idea was to give everyone enough food to function, but to remain hungry… and possibly hangry. The weight loss was pretty extreme as a result.

Did you have any contact with the producers or cameramen in camp?

It was pretty weird. One producer asked me lots of questions about work and life etc. When I asked him a question, he said he wasn’t allowed to answer as they weren’t allowed to engage with us.

It was infuriating, but that’s the point of the show – it runs on conflict, and if you’re a bit pissed off there’s a chance you’ll fire up. For the most part, the crew did not engage.

Watches were covered to hide the time, that kind of thing. I put my microphone underwater one day and whispered the producers name, who I could see sitting away from us with her headphones on. When she heard her name, she looked up immediately. That was a shock, I thought we might be able to chat openly in the water.

Andrew Daddo speaks to Mia Freedman on No Filter about what it's really like on I'm A Celebrity. Post continues below.

What was the most challenging part about life in the jungle?

The boredom was relentless. There wasn’t much to do, so we made a checkers set, a chess set, craft club… that was kind of fun.

Physically it was fine, emotionally and spiritually it was more difficult… it was a matter of getting through this day and hope there was more to do on the next day. And of course, the people – most were good, some definitely challenged.

Did you sneak in any contraband?

I snuck in two blocks of chocolate in a lilo, it was fantastic.

The producers threatened to take all rewards away if we didn’t cough it up, which we did – one block, anyway. The second block I hid in the bathroom with a note saying something like, ‘Have some chocolate, leave some for someone else.’

It was cool, it felt like we were part of something against Big Brother. I was punted the following day.

Feature Image: Channel 10.

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! airs Sunday to Thursday at 7.30pm on Channel 10.

This article was originally published in January 2020, and was updated on January 15, 2021. 

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