We’ve loved the edgy and educational shows that Jodie Marsh has done in collaboration with the channel TLC and we were excited to hear that she has been working on some new shows for us. Through her investigative journalism work, Jodie is able to bring a new voice to topics which many people wouldn’t even dream about working on, or feel comfortable in discussing. Maybe they don’t have Jodie’s guts, but we’re glad that she does have, and she has them in abundance! Who else could you imagine would be so honest as to delve in to the world that people obviously feel too uncomfortable to talk about, at least, in Britain?
As we chatted to Jodie Marsh about her two new shows, we saw a completely different side to her. We have met Jodie before, but this time, more than ever we felt the passion that she feels for the shows that she has just worked on, as well as being eloquent (in between burst of filth!) and she has given thought provoking and thorough answers, to our questions. The first part is Jodie Marsh On… Women Who Pay For Sex. The show is funny, entertaining and insightful. Anything can be bought at a price and sex is no different. It’s for sale all over the world, but this time we see that it’s women who are the ones that are increasingly paying for it. It’s funny that not one single woman in Britain would come forward and be filmed about their experience of doing so, but Jodie meets several American women who are willing to share their experience. Meeting both male escorts, gigolos and many of their female clients, Jodie learns about women who are skipping formal methods of dating and relationships, for an hour or an evening with a professional lover. Are women needing more in the bedroom or has traditional courting been outdated in exchange for immediate satisfaction?
Jodie is especially passionate about the second show Jodie Marsh On…Drugs, in this show, Jodie investigates the enormous dangers of legal highs. The type that you can buy in any newsagent and the frightening reality that these illegal drugs are killing more people than class A drugs itself. Who knew this? We certainly didn’t and we’re guessing than millions of people out there don’t know this, either. The show really highlights the problems facing Britain today. Chemists are designing legal highs faster that the law can ban them. It’s the fastest growing drugs market in Britain, and a mounting global problem. As someone who has never touched drugs, Jodie wanted to understand this world and its risks. From the Mr Big of Meow Meow to the “shock and awe” firepower of America’s elite drug squad, in Jodie Marsh On Drugs she’ll meet the users, chemist creator and sellers driving the explosion of so-called legal highs.
We have laughed until we cried watching the shows and we believe that it’s some of the best work that Jodie has done to date. Here is our interview with the feisty Jodie Marsh.
Jodie, great to see you again! We’re excited to hear that you’ve got a couple of new shows out on TLC. What do you enjoy the most about doing your reporting work?
If you look at the bigger picture, it’s the fact that we get to inform and educate a whole new audience. For example, Jodie Marsh on Virgins, we spoke about FGM (female genital mutilation) and child trafficking, to people who didn’t even know that it existed. For me, it’ really important to be able to do that. With the new shows, Women Who Pay For Drugs is educational, but it’s funny. The Drugs show is a must-see, an absolute must-see. Everybody needs to watch this show, especially young people and parents. Everyone needs to know the truth about legal highs. You can literally walk in to any store and buy these drugs and people think they’re safe, but they’re not. So, that’s what I love most about the shows, that we are educating people and reaching out to an audience that would not have previously known that information.
How did the idea for these two new shows come about?
I’d wanted to do a show on drugs, because I’d never done drugs and I’ve always been anti-drugs. I’d wanted to do a show about it for ages and then TLC said that they also wanted to do a show on drugs, but wanted to do legal highs instead. Ah first, I wasn’t really interested in legal highs, because I didn’t know what they were. I just thought that legal highs meant that they were safe, like poppers – where you can just buy them over the counter and I thought that they weren’t dangerous. TLC insisted and told me to go and research legal highs, so that I would see for myself. I came back and told them that they were so right and legal highs are killing more people than illegal drugs. It’s always a joint venture between TLC and myself.
Were you suprised by the amount of women who were buying sex?
I knew that it went on, because I always knew that there were lots of male escorts. You only have to look online to see how many male escorts there are. What did surprise me was that no British woman would admit to paying for sex. Even though we know there are thousands of British women who do and we were in contact with thousands of British women, but none of them were willing to come on TV and admit it. So then, we had to go to America, where they’re a lot more honest about it, than the British.
Why do you think that is, is it because we’re more reserved as a nation?
We’re definitely more reserved as a nation. There’s that running joke about the Brits, if our food comes out wrong in a restaurant, we don’t like to complain, we’re too scared to complain, or send it back. We’re a nation of wet lettuces. I do think that we’re good liars too. Not me, personally, but as a nation. As an example of that, with Jimmy Savile and the whole pedophile stuff which has been covered up for so many years and it’s not only Jimmy Savile, either. There’s a load of people surrounding that kind of scandal, like Max Clifford and Rolf Harris. All the time, there are new people who keep getting added to the list, who were abusing children, or were a part of it, or knew that it was going on. Now, this was going on for more than 30 years and everyone’s covered it up and lied about it. It’s a massive scandal now, because of the cover up. I think that just proves that we’re a nation of liars. For me, one of my biggest problems, as a famous person in the UK, is that I’m too honest for my own good. I’ve got myself in to trouble before, where I’m so honest and people don’t understand that, because they’re not like that. They’re all for sweeping it under the carpet and let’s not talk about that and hide that truth. The other thing is, that a lot of the time, I say what I think, but also that I say it with amusement. So half the time they think I’m being deadly serious and they get it wrong and people think that I take myself really seriously, but I don’t. I think that’s the difference between us and America. American people are honest and they don’t cover things up. Obviously, you can’t generalise a whole nation, but in my experience and the people that I’ve met, tell me the absolute truth.
In the show you also go to a part of Jamaica. How did the escorts there compare?
Oh, they were horrible. At least, I didn’t like the area that I went to in Jamaica – The Grill, where I did my research. They were literally working the beach. They’re called gigalos and they scour the beach looking for rich, white women. Some of these women aren’t even rich, but compared to them, they are. But they’re just normal women, with normal paid jobs. Some women end up spending thousands of pounds on these men, it’s horrible. I didn’t like the whole atmosphere there. I’m a huge fan of Barbados and I go there all the time, it’s like my second home, I can’t praise it enough. Before I went to Jamaica, that’s what I thought it would be like. It was hideous, the men were aggressive, the people weren’t friendly or helpful. It felt quite overbearing. It’s because it’s such a poor area and they feel like they have to try and get what they can out of you. I felt quite harassed by everyone.
How did you feel about the escorts that you interviewed?
The escorts in America were amazing and gorgeous. The website that the escorts were on in the show is called Cowboys4Angels, I met nearly all of them. The British guys I met, James are Gary were lovely, but they didn’t blow my mind, you just thought oh, they’re really sweet and I really, really liked them. If I needed a guy for an event, I’d definitely take one of the American guys. I do think that they’re got it right. They call it the boyfriend experience. If you take him to an event, he will act like your boyfriend, hold you hand and tell you you look beautiful, he won’t pay attention to any other woman in the room. They give you a lot of attention and they’re experts at that they do.
For your show on drugs, what was the motivation for the people who chose to use drugs?
It was a lot of different reasons, really. I have never done drugs, so for me, I find it really hard to understand why someone wants to do drugs. The more you get talking to these people, the more they open up to you, you start to see the cracks and you see why these people might have turned to drugs. One girl Sophie, she has done loads of Ketamin and she not has to go around with a colostomy bag, which she showed me, that she has to have strapped to her leg. She’s really young, only in her early 20’s and she can’t lie on the beach, she can’t do anything a normal woman in their 20’s would do. The more I pushed with her, it became apparent that she’d been abandoned as a child and she was brought up by her Grandma. Her Mother and Father weren’t around, so she grew up with a sense of rejection and feeling alone and unloved. Her Mum had ran off with someone else, when I really pushed her as to why she chose to do Ketamin and to do so much of it, she kept saying that she didn’t know. But then the more and more I pushed her, she opened up more and then you start to see easily how someone could turn to drugs. I can imagine how horrendous that would be.
Where were people mostly obtaining these legal highs from?
From newsagents and headshops. There are actual stores called headshops. I went in to a shop in Soho and he showed them all (legal highs) to me. I asked for the strongest one and it was so easy to buy them. He didn’t ask any questions and sold it to me. We then had them tested by the leading drugs expert in the country. When the results came back, they were basically the same strength as crystal meth, which is hardcore and really serious stuff. That is dangerous stuff, you do not want to be messing with that! You can buy these so called legal highs for a fiver in the newsagent. They change one chemical compound in it, so that it’s legal. It’s a massive market. It’s the biggest drug market at the moment. By the time we’d finished filming, I realised how big a problem this is for our country, it really is. This is a major problem because so many people are doing legal highs and they’re so easy to get hold of.
Tell the public why they should watch your shows.
Women Who Pay For Sex is hilarious. It’s the funniest show that I’ve ever done. I get to see the first penis that I’ve seen in four years, right in my face and it’s hysterically funny! With drugs, everybody needs to know this stuff and the best way to educate yourself about it is to watch this show, which has all the information in. It is so important. I cannot stress enough the importance of people watching legal highs. I couldn’t believe what I found when I did research for the show. I knew nothing about it, and because it has the title of legal highs, I thought it was safe, but it’s now. It is so dangerous what is going on out there. People really need to watch it.
Secondly, you get to see Jodie Marsh, who has never done drugs in her life get stoned by accident on screen, twice! You will see what I mean when you watch it. It’s probably only the first time a celebrity has ever been stoned on national television, by accident. I was trapped in a smoke filled room for 6 hours and they were sitting so close to me and blowing smoke in my face. One of the nights, it was Hallowe’en in America, I had a catsuit on, with diamonds stuck to my face, I got the giggles and I got the munchies. I made the director drive me to a diner to get food. My driver told me it was the effect of the Cannabis. That is so not me, I’m a complete health freak. For starters I’m normally in bed before 1am, I’m never awake at that time. If I was awake at 1:00am, the last thing that would be on my mind would be food!
Jodie Marsh On… Women Who Pay For Sex airs on TLC, Wednesday 18th March 2015 at 10pm.
Jodie Marsh On… Drugs airs on TLC Wednesday 25th March at 10pm.