‘I Felt Like The New Kid At School’: How Alli Simpson Overcame Her Worst Fears

Heading into the jungle as an intruder, Alli Simpson was put in a position she had never been in before.

With the other celebs settled into their little family dynamic in the so-called Aussie jungle, Alli felt like she was “the new kid at school”, but having been homeschooled for most of her life she said the feeling really was new to her.

“I hadn’t been in that position before in my life and I was genuinely nervous,” Alli told 10 play. “I never really feel like that in social settings so I knew it would be super different and quite challenging but as soon as I walked in they crash-tackled me. I immediately felt welcomed and formed friendships so it was easy once the ice was broken.”

But Alli was dropped into the thick of the I’m A Celebrity experience, having to complete her first trial the day she arrived. Surviving the Hellevator, Alli was immediately confronted by some of her biggest fears, and had to do so alone.

The idea of having to come face-to-face with snakes, rats, cockroaches, and all the other fun critters in the jungle was partly why Alli was hesitant to agree to the show in the first place.

“That element was really freaking me out, but also I had watched a few seasons and saw that it looked super fun,” she said.

“My main motivator for wanting to do it was to really push myself out of my comfort zone and see what limits I could go to and what strength I could find,” Alli added. “It ended up being amazing and I made some beautiful friendships and connections that I’ll have forever.”

Alli had to muster that strength again in the following week when she and celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge had to navigate a series of terrifying tunnels, with Colin in pitch-black and submerged in water.

Despite it only being a short time between the trials, there was already a change in Alli and her determination to not only face her fears but push through.

“My trial with Colin… there was just an element to that which made it a lot easier, as scary as it was,” she said. “You knew you were doing it with your campmate and you were doing it for your team because you have to feed everyone.

“Obviously I felt a lot of pressure to bring stars home to camp… I needed to earn my stripes in camp and I did the best I could.”

For the first time in the show’s history, the celebs have been able to watch the series along with the rest of Australia, which Alli said was an added bonus. Being able to share the experience with family and friends, as well as seeing the response to audiences getting to know Alli better.

“That’s why I was really excited to go on the show, for Australia to see a side of me they might not have seen before,” she said.

“You can look at someone’s Instagram page or someone as a public persona and you can make judgments on who you think they are but I think this show is the most vulnerable position any of us could have been in and I have so much respect for everyone that said yes to the show this year.

“It really is a scary, vulnerable place. To be on national television at your most raw and rocky,” she continued. “For me, that just excited me to be my complete true self… and it’s been an amazing response so far so I’m super grateful.”

After she was ejected from the jungle, Alli said she left camp with a renewed sense of what she’s capable of, but also took her time getting back into her usual routines.

“It had probably been 16 days without my phone, it was almost like I didn’t really know what to do with it,” she said, laughing.

After calling her family and her partner, Alli said she felt overwhelmed by the noise of social media after having a full technology detox for the last few weeks.

“It took me a good week or two to really settle back… but I still feel like there’s an element of me that has changed. I’m a lot more present day-to-day and just going through what I went through, it’s a really cool thing to take away from it.”

In 2018 Alli participated in the SBS series Filthy Rich and Homeless where she experienced homelessness for 10 days. The immersive experience opened her eyes to the scale of youth in Australia who experience homelessness. The charity Alli supported during her time in the jungle, the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth, was directly related to that experience.

“I was so oblivious to the problem in Australia and how bad it was before I did the show,” she explained. “I came out of the show so rattled and I felt so emotionally connected to the young teens that I met”.

“Knowing there are girls my age, guys my age — younger and older — without homes, family, money, schooling… just out there, and it’s so unsafe. It makes me want to cry. It’s a cause I feel super connected to and I was just so happy to do this show and raise awareness for the amazing things they do at the Gold Coast Project.”

Having immersed herself on the street for 10 days and then in the Aussie jungle for several weeks, Alli laughed when she was asked what’s next for her.

“I’m nervous about what’s next! I was definitely trying to draw strength and courage from the homeless experience because I knew if I had been able to sleep on the streets for 10 days I could sleep in the jungle.

“They were both very different but both very hard. It’s interesting that I’ve thrown myself into those very challenging experiences so god knows what’s next.

“Wish me luck, I’m ready for whatever comes my way now!”

You can find out more about the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth as well as all the other charities the celebs are supporting and how you can donate here.

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! Airs Sunday to Thursday at 7.30 on Network 10 and 10 play