Big Brother legend Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace says she's had her heart broken so many times that her main focus these days is earning money
There aren’t many Big Brother contestants who are still around more than a decade later, but Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace, who appeared in the seventh series in 2006, is the poster girl for turning 15 minutes of fame into a long-standing career in the industry.
Known for her no-nonsense attitude in the house, Aisleyne’s catchphrase ‘You better know yourself, little girl!’ is a testament to her fiery personality.
But there’s another side to Aisleyne, 38: despite owning her sexuality with steamy social media photos, she is currently celibate as she waits for the right man to come along.
She’s also someone who’s suffered major losses, including her mum Sophia Horgan and best friend Amy Winehouse, as well as enduring four heartbreaking miscarriages.
So it’s no wonder she’s built up an armour to protect herself, as well as a multi-million pound property portfolio to fall back on…
Hi Aisleyne! Longevity in the reality TV industry is rare – how have you done it?
Hard work and graft! I thought Big Brother would be a really good experience but I’d be a flash in the pan, maybe get a few photo shoots, but it’s been 11 years now…
It’s about regenerating and remodelling yourself and showing your versatility. I’ve done the partying and now I’m in my businesswoman stage.
You’re still friends with Nikki Grahame and Imogen Thomas from your series, who are also still around. What do you think was different about your time in the house?
Our series was much more real and organic. Most of us genuinely wanted to go in there for the experience and not the fame. But people these days go on the show for the wrong reason and they are very well versed in fame. They know what it takes to be on TV. I didn’t have a clue!
Unlike most reality stars, you have never had a relationship in the public eye – is that a conscious decision?
Yes, because I want to know that he’s with me for the right reasons and not just for the fame. Everyone loves a good romance and if I was with someone famous, there would be interest.
But as soon as a guy questions why he’s not in pictures with me or something like that, it’s usually a telltale sign for me and I leg it! And I don’t want to be known for coming in and out of relationships as that doesn’t set a good example to young girls.
You’re known as a feisty, independent woman, but does part of you want the husband and babies set-up?
I don’t know. I think love is beautiful but it’s so hard to find in this day and age. Everything is quite disposable, that sounds bad… I want babies, definitely, but I don’t know if I’ve got enough faith in men to have a long-term relationship.
Is that because you’ve had your heart broken?
I’ve had it broken, ripped out and torn up. I lost four babies – I gave birth to one of them at nearly seven months. Me and the guy I was seeing at the time split up. We had an unwritten rule that we wouldn’t have kids with other people and eventually we’d give things another go.
But he went off and had three kids with someone else and I think that broke me so much that I was like, ‘F*** love, I’m all about money now!’ I’m focusing on something that won’t get up and leave in the middle of the night.
What do you look for in a man?
I like a man with take-charge capability; they need to be an alpha male, dress well and dance sexily. You know what they say – if they can dance they can do other things…
How can a guy get you to commit to them?
That’s the difficult thing – guys always moan and say I’m flaky and I don’t seem interested . I don’t know what the winning formula is. Maybe persistence on their part is key! I just haven’t met the right one yet.
Who’s your celeb crush?
He’d have to be a cross between a few different people. He’d have the personality of Russell Brand, the heart of the Dalai Lama and the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Were you surprised by the reaction you got to being so wealthy? [Aisleyne featured on the C4 series How’d You Get So Rich? earlier this year]
I was surprised because it seemed to gain me a lot of respect, which upset me in some aspects. It was like rhubarb and custard – bitter sweet. I loved it because I got some newfound respect but money doesn’t make someone. I hoped it was my hustle and my work ethic they respected – not just the amount.
When was the first time you made a life-changing amount of money?
My first shoot, as soon as I stepped out of the house. It was with Nuts and I was the highest paid Big Brother contestant to do that magazine.
What’s one thing you’d love to do career-wise?
On a daily basis I get loads of messages for advice on love life, money, future – so I would love to be an agony aunt. Like Oprah! To give back is the dream and not just the frivolous stuff.
What’s your biggest career achievement?
It sounds cringe but being on a platform to be able to help people.
Are you worried about fame ending?
No, because at times I feel like I’ve had enough and I’m going to shut everything down and go and live in the middle of nowhere. Usually it’s after getting a load of abuse on social media, but then I think about all the nice comments.
Usually, for every nasty comment there are 10 nice ones. To be an inspiration, do you know how good that feels? I get tingles. And maybe it is an ego thing but I’d rather have an ego boosted by inspiring people than just by being famous.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
Simon Webbe of Blue told me: ‘Ash, don’t spend all your money on jewellery. When I got my first paycheque I bought all the jewellery and was showing off, I wasted all of it. So put your money in property.’ And I did.
What’s one thing you’d tell new reality TV stars today?
Don’t do it [laughs]. No, but I would say invest wisely, keep your head on your shoulders, don’t get too big for your boots… because you’re never too big for the boot!
Who’s the nicest celebrity you’ve ever met?
How does it make you feel when people write nasty things under your Instagram tributes to Amy?
I don’t read them. If I see even two words by mistake I’ll just delete them or ignore them. I’m a very expressive person. I do tributes for my mum, for my lost babies… If the mood so takes me I’m going to do it because that’s how I share my pain but also my pride and love.
So anyone who writes anything negative doesn’t understand substance abuse, artists or artistic souls. Amy was so like my mother, they have the same birthday and star sign. Artists are very difficult creatures to understand but I just got Amy, so anyone who doesn’t I just think, ‘What kind of blinkered world do you live in?’
Who’s the rudest celebrity you’ve ever met?
Kelly Osbourne, she’s a b***h. She had a lot to say about my friendship with Amy. She’s not a very nice person.
What are your plans for Christmas?
For actual Christmas I’ll be with my family, but the day after I’m planning to fly out to LA for my birthday on 28 December and because I want to buy a house there.
Would you want to build a career in Los Angeles?
Well, obviously I’m really into fitness and that’s what it’s all about there, I love it! Everyone is so happy in LA and people want you to do well. There’s no jealousy, everyone is so encouraging. So yes, I would love to!
Who do you want to kiss under the mistletoe this year?
It would be the man of my dreams, but I just don’t know who he is yet!
Aisleyne’s 7 Minute Workout app is available to download now. Let Aisleyne be your personal trainer and show you how to get fit and lose weight in just seven minutes a day, using nothing more than a chair, a wall and your body weight.