Swallowing My Pride – Nikki Grahame Opens up about her Anorexia

Ilona Burton

Nikki Grahame is an interesting creature – I was both chastised and praised by a mixed audience not so many months ago when I described her as ‘marmite’ in a blog in which I lashed a heap of angerafter her appearance on ‘This Morning’. You may remember my infamous little Twitter argument with a certain Phillip Schofield, who I accused (rightly so) of being irresponsible and stupid whilst interviewing the vulnerable munchkin that is Nikki, as he asked leading questions that he must have known full well could harm some viewers (the subject topic being sharing the tips and tricks used by an anorexic to lie about and hide the seriousness of their Eating Disorder). That all fizzled out, quite predictably, and my complaint to Ofcom was dismissed, bla bla bla… life goes on.

Now, I tried my hardest (though obviously not hard enough by a long way) to avoid what most Independent readers will do a much better job of avoiding, Ultimate Big Brother. You probably weren’t even aware that the remains of BB were still babbling, but unfortunately all the ‘biggies’ are back – contestants from past Big Brothers are now wasting away yet more of their lives inside the house, each hoping to become the Ultimate Big Brother.

So now you know. But I’m not blogging about Big Brother per se, just someone for whom, since she entered the house a number of years ago, I have had a massive – and very public – dislike-verging-of-hatred. I am not a hateful person, but the incessent whining, moaning, exaggerations, stupidity, ignorance and toddler-esque tantrums ground me down and she soon become one of those people who I could just slap at the sight of sound of her. So shoot me. This lasted way beyond BB and my wrath would rise at every appearance she made and every picture printed in Heat would have my blood boiling. I couldn’t understand why she had such an enormous and respectful following, I couldn’t get my head around how any living being could NOT find her the most annoying, grating person on this earth. Hence the marmite comment.

Back to BB. Tonight, in the garden, two of my least liked celebrities had a coversation in the garden. Vanessa Feltz and Nikki Grahame discussed Anorexia – the first time I had seen Nikki talking so openly and honestly about it, as all her interviews seem somewhat staged, practiced, scripted, even subconsciously. The beauty of this moment was that the two of them were secluded, purposely away from the earshot of the other contestants. Forget the cameras, to them, this was a private conversation and the dwindling viewers were flies on the wall.

Nikki and Vanessa talk about Anorexia

I don’t want you to watch this whole lot, I certainly didn’t. But from 4 minutes in, just watch a few minutes. This got me, it really got me. I have been through it too and no matter how much dislike I have for Nikki, my heartstrings were being panged harder than I have felt for a long time. It proved to me that nobody – not even the most annoying person ever to be allowed on television – deserves to go through Anorexia.

I bit my tongue, held back tears and swallowed my pride.

This entry is proof of that, and for the first time I have to say, I have a huge amount of respect for that little woman.

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  • Nick Brook

    That moment has to be the most emotional, the most poignant of any series. Truly heartbreaking.

  • Anon

    Because I’ve wasted all those years….cue sobbing from me. So true. It’s all a waste.

  • douglondon

    Really interesting article. It’s good to see a human side of someone who has probably always been seen as a bit shallow and self absorbed. Also great to see someone willing to talk about psychological issues they have. Unfortunately it happens all too rarely.

    I wonder if her anorexia is in any way linked to the psychological need that led her to enter Big Brother, however? It does seem that both cases seem to be about an underlying need to validate oneself.

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