I was a nightmare child...

A calf with a tattoo saying loves it

I got it when I was in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was the end of my year away in Australia and I went back via Asia.

I was in a bit of weird space where I was scared to go home. My mum is a Catholic, a conservative and hates tattoos, piercings and gay people.

When you’re in the north you're supposed to be a little boy playing football and I was like, ‘No, I want to watch The Simple Life.’ That show became kind of a safe haven. I came out to my mum at the end of uni. She had this whole attitude that this place had 'turned me gay’, I’d never see those friends again and she was going to come and get me and bring me home. My mum properly cut me off. And when I was in Australia I didn’t speak to her.

I had this transformative time. When I got back to the UK I had a new lease of life: I had a new attitude, I was more confident.

I liked myself.

Things that my Mum or Dad would say to me I’d either be ready to challenge or I wouldn’t care about them.

I think it became a real possibility that they could lose me, so they made an effort. And then I made an effort. We don’t see eye to eye because we’re very different. But I think we understand each other a bit more.

It started with me watching The Simple Life. I was a nightmare child, a blonde kid who was really fucking funny. Such a little brat, such a diva.

I think that anarchic girliness is part of my DNA.

‘Loves it’ is a quote from Nicole Richie, who I love. It connects me now to me back then.

told by james