Less than 18 months ago and Celebrity Big Brother finalist Jess Impiazzi was facing relentless torture from the media. Now, she’s almost a national treasure. Literally, WTF happened.
Rewind back to July 2016 and the petit 26 year old was desperately defending her dating exploits on every front page of the British tabloids. Given, every reality TV star wannabe must understand that with fame comes public scrutiny and that every love affair will be cross-examined. Ferociously, too.
But for Jess, who had been branded every unsavoury name under the sun for getting too intimate with boyfriend Rogan O’Connor on 2015 MTV reality TV series Ex on the Beach, her confessions of a backlash of abuse on social media was heart-wrenching.
Known as ‘Twitter Trolls’ – because alike trolls they are grotesquely unpleasant, live in isolated spaces and survive on limited human interaction – Jess had been labelled ‘the aids girl’ after turning up to an event with U.S actor Charlie Sheen.
While I’m yet to pluck up the courage and to publish a damming opinion piece on the act of having sex on reality TV, and while a relationship with Charlie Sheen is not for all of us, who were we to judge Jess so cynically two years ago.
Who were we to take the back seat and to accept disgusting labels slapped on a woman doing no more than a great deal of the young British public would have done at the time. Not that they’d ever admit it, of course.
Since 2015 and dozens of people have had sex on reality TV, it’s kind of the norm for entertainment now. And since 2015 dozens of people have dated Charlie Sheen. Sigh. Deep breath. Perhaps we have finally moved on.
Jess is an unlikely but viable contender to claim the 2018 CBB crown. Something you wouldn’t have expected on day one. Under the surveillance of Celebrity Big Brother’s all-knowing Sauron-esc eye, Jess has been one of the most likeable characters. She has been relatable in her sense of humour and reflective in her insecurities as a 28-year-old woman.
She’s presented honest views without barking them into peoples faces like a vegan protest march and has proven both perceptive and bright. After deshelving the big box of stereotypes we had placed her in, Jess has become a shining beacon of hope. If not for the general public, for reality TV stars from sex-driven shows like Love Island and Ex on The Beach.
Jess is proof that you can feature in reality TV shows that are explicitly set out to capture your sassy, sexy and flirtatious side, and you can also star in shows that will closely examine your values, morals and outlook on life as a person.
In last night’s (Wednesday, February 31, 2018) episode and Jess broke down to tears in the diary room. She sobbed, absorbed Ann’s statement that having sex on reality TV was ‘moral anarchy’ and admitted into past mistakes.
She said, speaking about Ex on the Beach: “It was my own fault, I went on a show with a boyfriend and I swore to myself I wouldn’t do something like that.
“I just don’t want people to think that my value is less. I know I shouldn’t care about what people think.
“But I don’t want people to think less of me because of a mistake.”
Have a flicker through Twitter and there are still small minorities of people who believe Jess is fake and play acting. I like to call these people trolls. Whether she wins or not, Jess has completed a remarkable turnaround when it comes to public opinion.
She has squeezed three years of maturity into 32 days of action, making an audience feel related to the tunnel of troubles she has passed through and the light she has stepped into on the other side.
Jess Impiazzi might not be a national treasure, but she is quickly becoming a social media treasure. And to the millennial audience we hope she impacts, well, that’s far more important anyway.