‘We Have This Really Great Chemistry’: Maria Thattil Reveals If She And Joey Essex Are Still Together

Miss Universe Australia, Maria Thattil, was flung from the jungle on Sunday night but now she’s opened up about everything Joey Essex, as well as finding her authentic self while in camp.

One of the biggest questions after Maria had been ejected from the jungle was regarding her relationship with Joey, and if the pair had attempted to rekindle the spark that began in camp.

“Look, Joey and I are still friends,” Maria told 10 play following her ejection. “We have this really great chemistry and we like each other, but we’re friends.

“I think it’s really beautiful that we had such fond memories of each other, we shared this very special experience together so I’ll always have a lot of affection for him. He’s back in Essex, I’m in Australia. There’s nothing really to report other than we have a really good friendship!”

Despite not leaving the jungle with a whirlwind romance, on Sunday night Maria did publicly come out as bisexual in her chat with Chris and Julia. During her time in the jungle she spoke to her fellow campmates about questioning her sexuality but Sunday night was the first time she spoke the words out loud.

“It was absolutely not something I had planned on sharing but I found myself feeling really safe,” Maria explained.

Early on in the experience, after Nathan Buckley had collapsed in camp, the celebrities gathered together in an affirmation circle where they said something they admired in their campmates. Despite only knowing each other for a few days, for Maria it was a moment that really opened her up to the experience, and allowed her to feel completely supported in the camp.

“I remember thinking, I cried over some of the things that people were saying to me because I thought these people have only known me for four days but the way they’re seeing me is in alignment with what I’d hope my higher self is,” she said.

“I felt seen by them and I thought, if I share this with the country, I think they’re going to see that too and they’re going to see that this is real… and it just happened.

“I was very proud of myself because I was having this feeling of, okay if I don’t share this — especially with the charity I’m championing — I’m doing a disservice to not only myself but the community,” Maria continued.

When she was initially asked to head into the jungle, Maria said it was an easy decision to say yes. “I knew that the first big television thing I did, I wanted it to be as authentic and real and as me as possible, and this show is the format for that.”

Her time in the jungle was in support of Minus18, which she initially explained was in honour of her brother, Dom.

“We’re best friends,” Maria told 10 play, “I think he’s loved seeing me look like an idiot, also like a champion, be honest, be vulnerable and just have a bloody good time doing it.

“I’m really humbled and honoured that he allowed me to take his story to the country because it wasn’t an easy experience for him.

“Minus18, the work that they do is imperative to shaping and changing the way our youths from the LGBTQIA+ community live their lives, so it was an honour to represent them and to champion them,” she continued.

“We’re seeing a lot of progress but I think we need more visibility, more representation, more support to eradicate some of the inequity that we still see for people from this community. It was an honour to represent them and I hope I did them proud.”

If you’d like to learn more about Minus18, or any of the charities the celebrities are supporting, click here.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs Sunday to Thursday at 7.30 on Network 10 and on demand on 10 play