How did you find your experience the second time in camp?
It was great. I absolutely loved it.
How have you found South Africa?
South Africa was amazing. We were staying in isolation before we went into camp and animals were coming up to our door every day. We had zebras, hippos, giraffes coming – it was incredible. There’s an incredible peacefulness in South Africa, the vibe, the landscape and air. It was spectacular.
You made quite an iconic entrance into camp this year via a box, how did you feel when you first arrived in camp?
I came in in a box, which I considered my first trial or challenge. I think it surprised the campmates but it was to me [my first challenge] because I was in a box, in the pitch black with the lid shut. If you’re claustrophobic, which I am, that was a huge overcoming of fear. Then I jumped out and sang my jungle song – which I wrote myself and I’m not a songwriter – and it was very well received. Everybody else was very welcoming to me. It was a very positive experience.
You had said before you entered the South African camp that you hoped Helen Flanaghan was a campmate and someone you wanted to meet this series?
Yes, I was absolutely thrilled she was there. Helen Flanagan said she was so glad I was in camp and I felt the same as we both said we wanted to meet each other very much.
Which other campmates did you get on with?
I loved Janice Dickinson, we hit it off and got on like a house on fire so I’ll be off to LA soon to hang out with her. She and I just got on brilliantly. Amir Khan, him and I got on really well as well. To the point that Jordan started to call me Gillian McKhan!
Were you surprised you got on so well with everyone in camp so quickly?
It was just a different feeling when I went into camp this time. People just seemed to be really open and wanting to get on with each other. There was no negativity, it felt positive from the minute I got there. Everybody wanted to gel. I could feel that it was a very different experience from 2010. Much more positive, a polar opposite experience for me. I got to know Fatima very well too. But I probably had more conversations with Helen, Fatima, Amir, Janice and Jordan. Plus, Phil and Carol. If I’d had been in there longer I would have got on with everyone I’m sure.
How did you find South Africa compared to Australia?
One thing I noticed, when you look on the ground in South Africa there’s not as many insects crawling. Whereas in Australia, it was a blanket of insects. You would look at the ground and I’d feel sick and nauseous like I was going to throw up, it would make me feel dizzy. So that for me took a lot of the anxiety down this time because I didn’t have that situation to deal with.
And you’re obviously still terrified of spiders?
Yes, but look I did try my best.
Were you surprised to see Shaun Ryder in camp?
Yes, I heard a rumour he might be going in and I was horrified. I thought I don’t know how this is going to go because we were kind of nemesis in 2010 as you probably know. Then when I saw him as I arrived I thought, oh no it’s him! I said ‘hello Shaun’ and I felt something shifted even in that moment. He was very welcoming to me actually.
Would you say you and Shaun got on in camp and you’ve both put everything behind you?
We had to do a Chest Challenge together and got on brilliantly. He sang my praises. I was like ‘who is this guy?’. He was like she’s brains, she’s so intelligent, she’s this, she’s that – every compliment you can imagine flying out of his mouth. It was crazy. Who knows what was going on. I thought has he had a brain transplant, what’s happening? But yes, we hit it off. We’ve come full circle. And it shows you, you can go full circle with a relationship and it doesn’t need to be stuck in the past. It’s a life lesson for everybody.
You famously didn’t enjoy the trials in Australia, how did you fair this time around?
Well, I didn’t really have many this time. I did my challenge when I came in the box [to enter camp]. That was a challenge for me. I did the Chest Challenge with Shaun. Then Toff had to pick someone to leave camp when she arrived and she picked Shaun and sent him to Savannah Scrub. If that was in 2010 I would have been going ‘YES’. But I didn’t really care this time because we were getting on. Then when he came back, he said he had to pick someone to do the Trial. I thought there’s no way Shaun is going to pick me. I’m the last person you’d pick, right? He comes back and I’m lying there, enjoying my bed, chatting to Janice and he then says he had to pick someone. I hear my name and I said ‘what, is this pay back for 2010’? Honestly, why did he pick me? I tried to convince him to pick Fatima as he might have won [the trial]! I wanted to win, I’m not a defeatist at all. And I really want to take my best shot but because it was a race, just as I got started, we lost. I’m disappointed by the way that I had to go out. I didn’t want to leave. I think if it was voted for by the public I would have had more trials.
Were you relieved it wasn’t voted for by the public?
No, I was up for the challenge for sure. I felt like I had moved on a bit. You could see I was still scared but you can be scared and up for the Trial as well. I should probably go and work with snakes and get hypnotised and come back in five or ten years and smash every Trial and become the real Queen of the Jungle! I’m ‘Jungle Gill’ no matter what!
You notoriously brought in some contraband into the Australian jungle and you brought some bits in this time…
Yes. Well this contraband thing is very confusing to me as I have a different definition of contraband. I now know in terms of the show, they have a different understanding of that word. I did ask them to get a definition from the dictionary and read it to me and see if we could both come to some sort of agreement! I did give up the contents of my bra. I had a double bra on, I thought it would be helpful to take my cup size from a B to a DD. I only did that because I wanted my figure to be more voluptuous in the jungle. And I did that but using teabags, mints and almonds.
And then, the next day, once I fully understood their meaning of contraband, I revealed my ‘spicy knickers’. It gave me a very voluptuous bottom which I’ve always wanted.
And did you consume any of the contraband in the bush?
Yes, I had a couple of almonds. I had some almonds in the long drop. I also had some mints.
And now you’re out of camp, are you sad to be leaving but are you pleased you returned?
Yes, I’m delighted I did it. And I also see a full circle story. This couple [Shaun and Gillian] that were nemesis, coming full circle and going off in the sunset together. It’s a great life lesson. Things can change. You can overcome challenges, not necessarily about the jungle or insects or anything. But other types of challenges or confrontations that you think are going to be hanging there forever, actually can be turned around. It wasn’t even a major effort to do that, it was fairly seamless, which is a huge result.
Do you think you will stay in contact with your other campmates?
100%. I’m already talking about doing things with some of them. Definitely Janice. And Helen, I’m so keen to meet up with Helen. I’m sad I didn’t have more time with Helen, I want to spend time with her when she comes out – not that I want her out too soon obviously. I’ll make an effort for sure. It was an amazingly gelled group. There was no animosity to each other. It was lovely.
What would you say was the worst part of returning to camp?
A few things. One of which was the disgusting toilet. People kept weeing on the seat! Sometimes there was ‘residue’ in there and at one point I thought I’m going to have a get a test on this and work out whose it is! I did have that talk with camp! That was difficult. Then, because I wasn’t allowed to cook, I couldn’t get my seasonings over to the food. I did try to get Helen on board but she was too afraid to do it. I was thinking Helen, this food is vile [laughs]. Actually, Helen and Carol did a great job at the food considering.
What’s your favourite memory from camp?
My best memory this time was jumping out of the box like Jungle Gill and singing ‘They call me Jungle Gill…’
If it was up to you, who would you crown Legend of I’m A Celebrity… South Africa?
Well it would be myself of course [laughs]. But look, there’s so many, I would love to see all of them win. I think if I had to pick one now, probably Fatima. She’s like James Bond, Super Women, it would probably be her. I think she has the capacity to do it.