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Steve Price's appearance on I'm A Celebrity was a tale of redemption (of sorts).

It’s no secret that many celebrities who sign up for “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” do so with a clear goal.

Maybe it’s to revive a flailing career, promote a new project or grab a few extra minutes of time in the spotlight. For others, the show is often the perfect opportunity to do some major PR damage control on an individual’s reputation in the hope of earning back the support and forgiveness of the Australian public.

Last year, the redemption seeker was ex-footy player Brendan Fevola and boy, was it a successful campaign.

The show reintroduced the nation to the “new” frank, humble and authentic Fevola, following years of headlines charting his “bad boy” off-field antics, which included problems with gambling, infidelity and incidents with the law.
Listen: Why Tziporah was one of our favourite I’m A Celebrity contestants.Post continues after audio.

In the jungle, Fevola showed a more vulnerable and gentle side, speaking about reuniting with his ex-wife Alex and his relationship with his three daughters.

He ended up winning the competition, having completely changed public opinion.

The rewards have been great too – since his jungle appearance, he’s re-proposed to his ex-wife and now co-hosts the weekday breakfast show on Fox FM with Fifi Box and Dave Thornton.

“We didn’t go into the show thinking we were going to get anything out of it, it was just like, ‘Go in there and see how you go’. It’s opened up a whole new chapter, which is amazing,” he told the Herald Sun.

Sunday sippers with this beauty @alexfevolamakeup #samesizeheads????

A post shared by Brendan Fevola (@brendanfevola25) on

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This season saw fellow ‘bad boy’ ex-footy star Dane Swan enter the jungle, but it was someone else who followed Fevola’s path of redemption.

Steve Price.

The ‘shock jock’ made the wrong kind of headlines this year for a number of reasons, first for labelling journalist Van Badham ‘hysterical’ on Q&A, then for his clash with Jamila Rizvi on The Project during a discussion about the US election, which many people saw as an act of bullying.

Now, audiences have been exposed to a different side of the broadcaster during his time in the jungle, and many people who have disliked him or disagreed with his views have changed their minds.

Steve-price-im-a-celeb

Image: The Project

"I often felt frustrated at how closed minded and judgemental you seemed to be [on The Project] but I loved watching you in this show. You had me in tears after you were evicted on Thursday night," wrote one viewer on the show's Facebook page following his elimination on Friday. 

"Hearing you talk about Carrie's charity and your new friendship with Nazeem was amazing. And hearing you talk about how Dane changed your opinion of tattooed people and your support for Casey was beautiful. I have a new respect for you Steve.

"Ditto. I couldn't stand your demeanour on The Project, but have seen another side of you and love the grumpy bum you are. Too funny," wrote another.

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"We may not agree on a lot of things, but I respect your driving values and love for your family."

The first to acknowledge the noticeable change in Price was his The Project colleague Waleed Aly.

"I have to say I've never seen you this happy. I never have," Aly said during Price's exit interview.

He then questioned him about his "growing" in the jungle, after Price had said he was a "changed man".

"Don't worry I haven't gone completely soft, but I think a softer side of me did come out. Even you, Waleed, would accept that I'm a nicer person now that I've come out of there after 43 days compared to what I was when I went in," Price told The Project.

"I had to put up with people I wouldn't normally cross the street to speak to, sit there and talk nonsense to people for sic weeks, had to share food with people I don't really like. It has softened me - here I am just a lighter, gentler, happier Steve Price."

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Steve and fellow contestant Nazeem Hussain's friendship was the highlight of the season for many viewers, with Price saying he "felt like a son" to him.

It was the comedian who had a big impact on influencing Price's change in attitude.

"I certainly think I have a greater appreciation of the pressure Muslim Australians are under. He [Nazeem] told me a very touching story about his sister after the Lindt Cafe Siege. She's a lawyer, and called him up and said I don't think I can wear my hijab home on the train," Price told Fairfax Media.

"I think they [Muslims] are under threat. I don't think I ever quite understood."

His clear passion and dedication for his chosen charity, Carrie Bickmore's Beanies For Brain cancer, also struck a chord with viewers.

"l am sorry to see Steve go, he really cared about the charity. He is the only one l have seen choke up when talking about how he missed the 100k and that he hoped he could get it raised anyway. New respect," wrote one commenter.

As well as promoting his "new best friend" Hussain's upcoming show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in his exit interviews, Price put a call-out for people to keep donating to the charity.

"I went in there hoping to raise $100,000 for her charity. You will remember what happened on that night she got up on the Logies stage and put on a beanie. She's a cracking girl and what she did through that year... please everybody, put some money into the Beanies For Brain Cancer foundation, put as much as you can and we'll try and raise as much as we can," he said.

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Price's transformation may not be quite as extreme as Fevola's, but it's important to acknowledge. On the surface at least, his experience and time in the jungle has changed Price for the better.

I'm not condoning how Price has behaved in the past. Nor am I putting him on a pedestal for behaving in ways that should really just be expected of a decent person. Like being tolerant, open and understanding.

But there is one important behaviour that Price should be celebrated for during his time in the jungle.

When he was exposed to alternative views and opinions, he took them on board rather than shutting them down. He paused and rethought he stance on such topical subjects such as religion and immigration.

Most importantly, Price did this on one of the most popular reality shows on free to air television.

As someone who echoes how a large portion of Australians think, it is influential. It gives us hope; there's a chance he might have the same effect on many more people who typically identify with his views.

"The most important thing I learnt [in the jungle] was that people who don't share the same ideological views as you, but have the same aspirations, are to be respected," Hussain told Fairfax Media of Price after leaving the jungle last night.

"Steve is the kind of person I wanted to hate. But once you end up meeting Steve, you end up liking him a lot.

"His conservatism was challenged in the camp and I hope with the various platforms he has, he may continue to appreciate other people's experiences. That's something I have to do as well."

The onus is on all of us. Let's see what Price can do with his.

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