From the Queen Vic to the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen, actress Rita Simons is one of the contestants taking part in the latest series of the cooking competition show. While we know her for pouring pints in Walford, Rita will be tasked with creating gourmet meals against the clock.
She’s not the only EastEnders alumnus bringing the Albert Square charm to this year’s series: Michelle Collins and Joe Swash will also be presenting their best dishes to the judging panel.
Plus, the Celebrity MasterChef 2021 line-up also features Rita’s best friend, singer Duncan James, as well as Happy Mondays star Bez and reality TV star and singer Megan McKenna.
Here’s a cheat sheet to all things Rita Simons ahead of her MasterChef debut.
Who is Rita Simons?
Rita Simons’ professional career began with one-off roles on programmes such as Dream Team and Mile High.
However, she’s best known for her role as bartender and business owner Roxy Mitchell on EastEnders. Alongside Samantha Womack, who played Ronnie Mitchell, Rita burst onto the Square in 2007 as the extroverted and passionate younger sister of the two, and was a part of many memorable storylines.
She picked up several gongs for her role, including a National Television Award, Inside Soap Award and a Digital Spy Soap Award for Best/Most Popular Newcomer in 2008. However, Roxy met her tragic end in the New Year’s Day 2017 episode of EastEnders when she drowned in a swimming pool – naturally, her sister Ronnie also met her demise at the same time.
Since her departure from the soap, Rita has turned much of her focus to acting on stage in the West End, playing Paulette Bonafonte in Legally Blonde: The Musical and Miss Hedge in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. She is currently playing Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray.
Though this is Rita’s first time in the MasterChef kitchen, she’s competed on our screens before, from I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2018, to Big Star’s Little Star, where she raised £13,000 for charity.
She has two children, and is the niece of The Apprentice’s Lord Sugar, through her aunt’s marriage.