Who is Michelle Collins? Bear Grylls: Mission Survive 2016 profile

"I should have done Strictly, really..." says the EastEnders and Corrie star as she prepares to face the Bear Grylls challenge

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Name: Michelle Collins

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Age: 53

Famous, why? Actress with long-running roles in EastEnders and Coronation Street

Bio: Collins joined EastEnders in 1988 and – aside from a brief exit from 1990-1992 – she played the part of Cindy Beale until 1998. She also starred in Sunburn, Real Women and Two Thousand Acres of Sky on the BBC. A three-year part on Coronation Street came in 2011, where she joined as new landlady of the Rovers Return Stella Price.

Why did she join Mission Survive? “It was a challenge and I felt like – I hate the word journey – but it was a fantastic opportunity to do something like this. I felt it was important for the maturer lady to do something like this, to feel that, you can still get in there. You can still be fit in your fifties and face challenges and be empowered.

“I had my highs and lows. Some days, yes, I was like ‘What the f*** have I done?’ Some days I did feel like crying, and I felt low. I think that’s what happens in something like that. We’re all human beings, we all have our highs and lows, ups and downs.

“I think as you get older, for me anyway, I think you become more fearful. I don’t know if it’s being a parent as well. Again, being a mum sometimes I did think, ‘What am I doing? I’m a single parent, am I being really irresponsible here? But that was real fear up there.”

What did she think of Bear Grylls? “At first I was a bit scared. Very nervous of him. I didn’t really say very much, which is very unlike me. I found him a bit of a guru. If he told me to jump off that cliff I probably would. He just had something that sort of drew you in. Like a magnet.”

How did it feel when it was over? “When I came out I felt a bit weird. I guess I can only compare it to someone who’s been in prison: you come out into the outside world and it’s a bit weird. You touch things and look at your clothes just being so filthy. There are no baths, no showers, I hadn’t washed my hair… I loved it. That was really liberating. I didn’t take a a mirror or makeup. After a while what’s the point? There’s no point looking at yourself, there’s too many other things to worry about. That is a really good thing for a woman, and a man, to not worry about how you look.”

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Describe Mission Survive in a sentence “Think The Revenant, but ten times worse!”