Sheffield news White Dee speaks out on life seven years after Benefits Street PremierLeague-News.Com

PremierLeague-News.Com - She went on to find fame, even starring in Celebrity Big Brother

Sheffield news White Dee speaks out on life seven years after Benefits Street PremierLeague-News.Com

PremierLeague-News.Com - She went on to find fame, even starring in Celebrity Big Brother

Sheffield news  White Dee speaks out on life seven years after Benefits Street PremierLeague-News.Com
21 February 2021 - 15:30

PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! It was the show that cast an entire street into the limelight - but none got quite as much attention as 'White Dee'. Before Channel 4 came knocking with their controversial documentary Benefits Street, Dee Kelly was your average, every day person living on Winston Green's James Turner Street. The documentary focussed on one street in Birmingham where seemingly the majority of people were in receipt of financial help from the State. Dee took centre stage in the gritty fly-on-the-wall doc, alongside her neighbouts Fungi, real name James Clarke, who sadly died in 2019, aged just 50, Black Dee, real name Samora Roberts and the 50p man, real name Stephen Smith. It was a hit and caused a media frenzy as camera crews and reporters descended on the street for their take on what was going on down there. Dee, a larger than life mother figure on the street, was not shy to play her part and speak out and everyone wanted to listen to what she had to say about the controversial topic of life on benefits. Post show, she appeared on numerous political debates - and even later starred in Celebrity Big Brother. She has now left the street but where has she gone and what has she been up to since? Birmingham Mail found out. "It was just a crazy crazy time," said Dee, now 49. "My life was turned upside down and I just wasn't expecting it. "Benefits Street caused such a storm and the people in James Turner Street were shocked by it and totally overwhelmed. "A swarm of journalists descended on James Turner Street, not just from the UK but all over the world. "I found one French journalist in my garden! Read More Related Articles Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway shocks Yorkshire hero Darcy Pell who saved dog from frozen lake Read More Related Articles The exact time Boris Johnson will make his England Covid lockdown announcement and what we can expect "We were just normal every day people living our lives and the next minute we were thrust onto the front page of the national newspapers and main ITV and BBC news. It was incredibly overwhelming." And not all of the attention was positive. "I was receiving a lot of abuse to start with and the public opinion of me was very negative," she recalled. "I started putting my voice to the political debates on the radio and TV because I wanted to give a voice to people who were on benefits like myself. White Dee on Benefits Street (Image: Channel 4) "We were portrayed as scroungers and a scourge on society which is clearly not true. "There are people who are on benefits for all sorts of reasons and personal circumstances. "With the financial implications of the current Covid pandemic, you are going to see people who widely condemned people on benefits then, having to utilise the benefits system themselves now. "I think I got my views over quite well and I got invited to more and more political debates. "I even spoke at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham and there was more people listening to me than David Cameron in the room next door." Dee was snapped up by an agent and taken to sun-kissed party capitals such as Magaluf. She was regularly pictured in daily tabloid newspapers, taking part in huge bar crawl benders. But although she was grateful of the free trips abroad for herself and two kids, Caitlin and Gerrard, she says she was forced to be someone she wasn't to portray a certain image to the watching press. Dee said: "I had an agent at the time and was taking advice from him. "I was pictured downing shots in Magaluf on one of their famed bar crawls at the time. It made the national tabloids. (Image: Birmingham Mail/Darren Quinton) "But the thing is those those shots only contained water. I was downing shots of water which was snapped by photographers who followed my every move. I don't drink. I only drink tea. "The papers wanted to slag me off as a boozy mum going abroad to get p***** while on benefits. But all along I was just playing the game. It wasn't me. "I did play up to that persona for a while. I was captured coming out of nightclubs. I was invited to a lot of events but it wasnt the real me who just likes a quiet night in and a cup of tea. Read More Related Articles Coronation Street's legendary barmaid Liz McDonald could be killed off, actress says Read More Related Articles 'Teary' Prince Charles takes 200-mile round trip to visit Prince Philip for just 30 minutes in hospital "After a while I decided just to be me and not to pander to how people thought I should act." In 2014 Dee appeared on Celebrity Big Brother alongside fellow winner of the show and US actor Gary Busey, boxer Audley Harrison, Kellie Maloney and former Strictly Come Dancing star James Jordan. "I received a letter from Endemol in the post asking me to go on the programme, " she recalled. "I couldn't believe it to be honest. I didn't class myself as a celebrity then and I still don't now so I was just amazed I was placed on it. "I think they thought I would clash with people in there.

News source = PremierLeague-News.Com

. "But attitudes changed towards me while I was in there. They warmed to me and I made some good friends while i was in there. "People like Kellie Maloney, Ricky Guarnaccio, George Gilby and Audley Harrsion. I keep in touch with all of them." She added: "It was an amazing time. I thought I would be first out but I was never put up for eviction and I finished fifth. "When I walked out I expected to be booed but there were only cheers. Read More Related Articles Time-waster called 999 because he could not open bottle of wine Read More Related Articles Friends travel 175 miles from Bristol to Park Hill, Sheffield, for 'a spot of shopping' "I had only just walked off the stage when I was approached by a producer to do documentary White Dee What's The Fuss About? "I felt this was the real turning point. People had got to see the real me on Celebrity Big Brother and I feel public opinion about me changed. "On the whole the negativity turned to positivity." Dee moved out of James Turner Street shortly after the show and made Handsworth her new home. But she does miss the people from her old road and regrets the break-up of relationships. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will auto-play soon8Cancel Play now Dee said: "The show ripped apart my life at the time. It changed my life forever and it destroyed the James Turner Street I knew before the show. "I don't keep in touch with any of the characters featured in the show and in some cases that is a real shame. "There are still people I do speak to on James Turner Street but none of them appeared on the show." In 2018 the award winning Birmingham based film Ray and Liz was released and Dee played the older Liz - an opportunity she relished. Dee came off benefits a long time ago and now earns her income through interviews, guest speaker events and other media work. She is a voluntary ambassador for Wolverhampton based charity Balls To Cancer. She hosts a Facebook live show on a Thursday evening called Ask Aunty Dee between 7pm and 8pm and she invites a famous celebrity guest on. Guests so far have included actors Noel Clarke and Tim Healy, former footballers Matt Le Tissier and Razor Ruddock, Kellie Maloney, and singers Ritchie Neville, Cheryl Baker and Antony Costa. "It is a fantastic charity set up by two fantastic people Mark and Sue Bates," said Dee. "I have supported them for some time. "It started off supporting male cancer fighters and their families offering free tips to a luxury holiday home at the Haven holiday park in Burnham-on-Sea but it now supports any cancer sufferer. "They do so much good." Dee has spoken openly about her own battle with depression and an attempted suicide back in 2016 following the death of her father. She has since become a strong advocate of mental health campaigns. She appeared on ITV's Jeremy Kyle in February 2019 to talk about her attempted suicide. She then then defended the show after it was axed following a guest suicide, saying her aftercare was good. Read More Related Articles Yorkshireman hired by Rod Stewart to impersonate himself for son's birthday Dee, who says she will be will be on anti-depressants all her life, has coped extremely well with lockdown saying it has made her less anxious. She added: "Most of my anxiety is around my kids. Gerrard is 14 now. You hear incidents of knife crime in Birmingham in the news almost every day in Birmingham and you worry that your kids might become a victim. "Gerrard has been inside the house all during lockdown so that anxiety about him being out with his friends on the streets has gone. I haven't minded lockdown at all. " Her knife crime fears is why she helps to run the Birmingham Says No To Knife Crime and Youth Violence campaign across Birmingham which is also co-run with Rachel Warren. Although Dee says she regrets how the relationship with some people in James Turner Street deteriorated she has no regrets about appearing on the show. "I can't really have any regrets. It was just an incredible rollerocaster ride at the time," she said. "I had some incredible experiences like appearing on political debates, going on some amazing paid for holidays, appearing on Celebrity Big Brother and even appearing in a film. They were opportunities I grapsed and thoroughly enjoyed. "But for me the most worthwhile thing is that exposure I received has now given me the opportunity to help amazing causes like the Balls to Cancer charity and Birmingham Says No To Knife Crime and Youth Violence campaign. "This is what really matters now to me now."

Source = PremierLeague-News.Com

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