I’m a Celebrity 2018 contestants: Rita Simons
Famous for: Playing feisty EastEnders character Roxy Mitchell, who tragically drowned along with sister Ronnie on New Year’s Day 2017
Phobias: Rita Simons claims she is “full of phobias”. Which isn’t the best start, if we’re honest.
Is Rita Simons single? No, in 2006 she married hairdresser Theo Silveston, whom she met through a friend when they were 19.
She says: “I am excited about going in the Jungle. I know quite a lot of people who have done it including Larry Lamb. Larry is like my Dad and he is always advising me. He said he couldn’t advise me more to do it as he had the best time ever.”
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Biography: Simons was born in London in 1977 to Susan and Mark Simons – but through her dad’s sister’s marriage, the actor is the niece of The Apprentice frontman and billionaire businessman Lord Sugar.
However, Simons has since revealed that she didn’t drop her uncle a message saying she was heading to the Australian jungle.
“We’ve had to keep it a secret and so no, I haven’t told my Uncle yet,” she said. “But I bet you he will watch it!”
While we may all know her as the fierce and feisty Roxy Mitchell, before Simons had her big soap break she had a fairly successful career as a pop singer in quintessential early 00’s band Girls@Play.
The band’s gimmick saw each member embody a “character” in each of the videos (so far, so Village People) with Simons playing a mechanic for some reason or other.
The band had two singles, Airhead (which hit number 18 in the UK Singles Charts in 2001) and Respectable, which reached number 29. Girls@Play went on to support Hear’Say and Steps on their arena tours, before disbanding in 2001.
Simons then landed parts in football drama Dream Team (think Footballers Wives, but on Sky) and Mile High (think Footballers Wives, but on a plane) before it was announced she had landed the role as Roxy in EastEnders in 2007.
On her role, Simons explained, “I’ve always watched EastEnders and it’s been my dream to become part of the Mitchell family.”
Roxy’s ten years in Albert Square saw the character have a rather tumultuous time – she was married twice and engaged an additional three times, she became landlady of The Queen Vic, sleeping with both husbands of sister Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) and casually becoming a drugs mule. Because why not?
Roxy’s departure on New Year’s Day 2017 was as depressing as it was dramatic, after she drowned alongside her sister just hours after Ronnie’s wedding.
Simons has since gone on to tour in the Legally Blonde stage show, with her busy workload preventing her from truly preparing for life in the I’m a Celeb camp.
“I had about 649 jobs in the run up to do,” she said. “And so if I hadn’t had so many jobs to do, reality would definitely have set in by now!”
Musing over what type of campmate she will be, Simons says she’ll provide a shoulder to cry on. “I do think I am an easy person to live with,” she said. “I like making people laugh and smile.”
But Simons is no pushover, saying she’s prepared to cause fireworks amongst campmates. “If someone really slags me off, then I will definitely confront them,” she warned.
I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! returns Sunday at 9pm on ITV