Georgia Toffolo “frustrated” by reaction to political friendships
Reality TV star Georgia Toffolo, 26, on writing sex scenes, her best friend Stanley Johnson and his political ambitions.
You have just written your latest Mills & Boon novel. How did it happen?
It is I who am a con artist and begging. I went to a friend’s book launch and she pointed to Mills & Boon’s head, thinking I was too young to know what it was. I said, ‘Are you kidding? I’m the biggest fan. ‘ So I accosted her with a glass of champagne. On site, we had the idea of trying to open the Mills & Boon brand to younger people, and I think it’s a winning formula. The trope of two people falling in love – who doesn’t like it?
What is it with Meet Me In Tahiti?
In each book I focus on another girl from a group of friends who, like me, grew up on the Devon coast. So there are pieces of my life in each of them. This one takes place in Tahiti and my heroine is a wonderful wheelchair travel writer. I teamed up with Whizz-Kidz [a charity for wheelchair users] and without them it would not have happened. It’s hopelessly romantic with a light dusting of bonking.
How do you find writing sex scenes?
Excruciatingly painful! I don’t want it to be a face but, at the same time, I want to celebrate love in all its forms, so it would be rude of me not to have a little sex scene. Mine are not vanilla but they are not X rated. I grew up reading Jilly Cooper, who writes so wonderfully. It’s an art I’m learning and it makes you laugh.
Have you met Jilly Cooper?
I didn’t, but I was at the Cheltenham races with my mom four or five years ago and looked up into one of the boxes and she was standing there. For some reason she must have seen me looking at her with emotion and I waved to her and she responded. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Isn’t Agatha Christie also from Torquay?
Yes! She’s amazing and Fawlty Towers was based on a Torquay hotel. And my fourth book, which will be out next year, is based in Devon. I hope it will be a really wonderful ending for the whole series.
What has changed your life the most, Made In Chelsea or I’m A Celebrity?
I will be eternally grateful to these two shows. I wouldn’t have been in the jungle without Chelsea. However, we cannot deny that the jungle is the great game changer. You would be foolish to refuse. In the jungle, you are all equal and stripped. I have learned so much about myself.
And you made a great friend in Stanley Johnson…
Oh, my darling Stan. I really miss him. We FaceTime every week and it sends emails and WhatsApps. Thank goodness because we’re actually best friends and we’ve done so much together. Hopefully our next little getaway will be Toff and Stan on the road to see the mountain gorillas.
Why do you get along so well?
I have always enjoyed the company of the elderly with all of their life experience. We have exactly the same sense of humor and politically I like debate. I have never had such brilliant debates with someone where we disagree so much. It’s a very important part of a friendship, for me, where you can sculpt your political views based on people who don’t agree with you. But the reason we get along better is probably because we like a really long lunch and lots of wine.
Do you have a lot of political buddies? Do you like Nigel Farage?
Lots of people I see outside, and I’m frustrated because apparently you can’t be young and blonde with a few hair extensions, and run into a politician in a restaurant and actively want to go say hi and say ‘ I don’t agree with you “or” what you did was fabulous. “If I were a middle-aged, middle-class white man, that wouldn’t be a point of interest.
My favorite Twitter friend is [deputy Labour leader] Angela Rayner. We may be at different ends of the political spectrum, but of course [sarcastically], I couldn’t have a friend on the left …
You’re friends with Carrie Symonds, aren’t you?
A little bit yes. I am so excited that she is having another baby. It’s very sweet and I think it’s cool that she’s active. All I would say is that when Ms. May was at number 10, was Philip May in the headlines like Carrie is? And I wonder if it’s because of her gender.
Do you have political ambitions?
It’s definitely not part of my plan for at least the next ten years. Do I see myself using my platform to try to make positive change for young people? Yes. If this is defined as politics, then yes.
What about other reality TV shows? Maybe MasterChef?
I would love to do it but I’m so competitive I would have to win it. I have to spend the next two years practicing.
■ Meet Me In Tahiti by Georgia Toffolo (Mills & Boon) is now available
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