I'm A Celebrity 2019: "I'm Really Happy With Who I Am": Ajay Rochester And Yvie Jones Discuss Battling Size Discrimination
On Wednesday’s episode of ‘I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!” Ajay Rochester and Yvie Jones discussed fat-shaming, discrimination and self-deprecation.
In a wonderfully raw discussion between the pair, Ajay and Yvie spoke about their instinct to make themselves the butt of a joke.
“My friends sat me down and said ‘You need to stop making jokes about yourself because we don’t find it funny’,” Yvie told the former Biggest Loser host, “because I was making it my schtick.”
“If I said it first then no one else got to say it,” Yvie continued.
Despite having her friends point out that putting herself down to make others more comfortable was detrimental to her self worth, Yvie admitted she still defaults to that instinct.
“It’s a really bad old habit that comes out when you’re nervous and you’re with new people,” she said, “When you want to let them know, ‘I know in society I’m not the model’.”
“We should be okay with saying I’m all that, I’m really happy with who I am.”
While Ajay felt the same, reflecting on the fact that she finds it easier to find work when she’s thinner due to society’s biases. She also added that it was rare to see two plus-sized women on the same TV show.
“When you came in I was like, ‘Oh wow, this has never happened before’,” Ajay said, “because it’s always the one fat girl and everyone else is gorgeous.”
The frank conversation also followed Ajay breaking down while talking to Sam Dastyari and Jacqui Lambie, telling the former politicians about the “four years of hell and torture” that left her homeless, begging for money from friends and family.
Ajay spoke about the realisation that -- just before she began hosting Biggest Loser in 2006 -- she had been overpaid while on the single parent pension.
“I got a letter six months after I started Biggest Loser saying that Centrelink was going to take me to court for fraud,” she revealed.
While Ajay was forced to face court in 2009 on 23 counts of welfare fraud, she narrowly avoided a conviction as she had already begun paying back the overpayment before an investigated had started.
Despite that, Ajay says the damage had already been done, ruining her reputation, relationships and her career.
“I left Biggest Loser destitute with no one wanting to hire me and I had $7.11 to my name, I was literally homeless,” she said breaking down in tears.
Telling her campmates she and her son Kai housesat for friends and even strangers, Ajay said she was so close to ending up in a shelter.
“I swallowed my pride and emailed almost everyone I knew and begged for money, I had no other choice.”
Despite her hardships, Ajay told Jacqui and Sam, “You just survive. You leave all that behind and eventually, it becomes a different part of your life.”
Ajay has since published several best-sellers and has worked in production, nabbing a Reality TV Award for her series Cast Me!