After rising to fame in ITV2’s The Only Way Is Essex, Kirk Norcross went from running a club night at Brentwood’s Sugar Hut to appearing in Celebrity Big Brother (and earning a bit of a reputation as an unstoppable ladies man!). However, Kirk insists that there’s more behind the cheeky chappy, and to finally get his point across, he released his autobiography, ‘Essex Boy’, in April.
His book tour kicked off at Meadowhall, so we popped down for a chat and an insight into the true life of Kirk Norcross.
Firstly, why did you decide to write an autobiography?
I’ve done so many TV programmes but they’re not letting me show the real me. I’ve been trying to bring up my past and stuff like that and I think it might be a bit too dark for TV. So I thought, ‘You know what? I’m just going to write a book and hold nothing back.’ Because everyone thinks I’m some little rich kid, just had money all my life, been best mates with my dad since I was a kid, but far from it. I only became friends with my dad when I was 18. I used to live in hostels, I used to get involved with crime, stuff like that, and I thought, ‘Let’s show people the real me’, and now while they’re bad mouthing they’re allowed to, because they know the real me.
I’ve read the synopsis of your book and I didn’t realise you’d had such a hard childhood!
Yeah, but I’m not the only one that had lived that life. That was very common around my area, we lived in a bad area, so it’s me telling the story of everyone. Obviously to get my point across, but really it’s everyone where I grew up, saying, ‘This is what happens on the other side of Essex.
Do you blame your dad for leaving you, meaning you had to move into a hostel?
I did blame my dad a little bit until I started writing my book, then I’ve realised you’ve got to make sacrifices now and then, and he had to. There’s no point in being in relationships if you’re not in love, and I did resent him for pretty much most of my life but he’s changed a lot now to be a nice person, doing what is best for us. So he’s a man to me; I’ve got nothing but respect for him.
Did your mum have any objections to you rebuilding a relationship with your dad?
No, she was very proud because she knew I needed a dad in my life. I was very misled as a kid, and every kid needs a dad. I had my mum, I haven’t got a clue about football or any manly stuff like that, I can bake a cake like you wouldn’t believe, but I needed a dad around me. When I started to become friends with my dad again, my mum was so proud that I got there, and I got my dad back.
How did you get involved with TOWIE?
I just got a random phone call saying, ‘Hi, this is so and so from this TV company and we’ve heard that you run a club at Sugar Hut, can we have a meeting with you?’. Had a meeting, done a show, it was quick as that. A week after having a phone call with them, we were having a photo shoot for OK Mag. It was absolutely crazy.
Are you glad you got involved with TOWIE?
I am glad that I got involved with TOWIE. It’s helped me with this book, it’s got me doing anything I want in life now, it’s given me that platform to go.
Has it helped business in Essex and with Sugar Hut?
100%. I think it raised tourism in Essex 30%.
You’ve played out some relationships on television – Amy Childs, Lauren Pope… do you regret this and do you think it had an effect on your
I wanted to do a book where I wasn’t going to hold anything back, because even when I was with Amy and Lauren, I still didn’t let them see the real me. Hopefully when they read my book, they’ll realise why I was being a prick, why I got upset now and again and why I go into my shell and go quiet for a couple of days.
Do you think TOWIE is as good now, because most of the original people have left, so it’s kind of a completely different show?
It’s still a good show, but it’s not the same though. When we were on TOWIE, me, Amy, Mark and Sam, we were constantly chasing things. We were like, ‘Right, I’m going to be that geezer, I’m going to be a TV presenter’, and you’ve watched us grow up. But now you’re not watching them grow up – I mean they’re getting younger on TOWIE, I don’t mean they’re getting a younger cast, the cast members are acting younger. You watched us cute and coming in to fame, you watched us slowly mature and grow up, and do better for ourselves, but it’s still a good show and it made me who I am, so can’t knock it.
Why did you leave, then come back into TOWIE, then leave again?
I left the first time because I fell out with one of the producers. She knew I had a temper, so she only put me in situations where she knew I was going to lose my temper. So I was like, ‘You know what, I ain’t going to be portrayed as a hot head constantly in every scene’, so I left TOWIE. So then I went back. I literally went to give it a go, but it’s changed, I think I came back too late, it’s not the same show that I left.
So then you went on Big Brother, how was that? Are you glad you took part in Big Brother?
It’s the best experience of my life, I’m such a Big Brother fan, it was so good to be in there. But it was the best time of my life and the worst time. I think they portrayed me very bad in there, and I know they only showed me talking about girls, they didn’t show me in the day having hearts to hearts with people, cleaning the house, teaching people how to cook. They knew who they wanted me to be like when they chose me to be in there, so they only had me talking about ladies.
Yes it’s difficult how to come across, because obviously they edit everything, so it’s just what they want it to be.
Yeah, I’m like, ‘When I’m in there, people can actually see the real me’. I cried every night I was in the Big Brother house for some reason, because I’m a soppy f*cker. No one’s really going to understand it and when I go out, they’re like, ‘Kirk, why were you only talking about girls?’. But I wasn’t! That’s it, it took me a year to try and get my female fan base back which Big Brother destroyed, and then I’ve just destroyed it again by saying I’ve shagged a 1001 girls…
So you’ve written everything in your book, the way you want it to come across?
Yeah, my book, it’s literally just me, from start to finish, it’s my life. And it’s so up to date as well. We changed it just before I left TOWIE, pulled it two days before it went to edit, quickly changed to say I’ve left TOWIE now. It’s literally up to date a couple of months ago.
What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future?
I am literally starting my book tour today now, I’m in your town now! I’m doing that until the end of May, then after that I’m going to buy my mum a flat – not got that much money, my mum, so I’m going to buy her a flat, furnished and that for her. Decorate it, put her in it, and then I’m going to take a little couple of months out to chill, spend some time with my friends and family and that, and then I’m auditioning for a film in a couple of months, so fingers crossed I get that.