Aimee Jakes | Contributing Writer | Saturday, 9 September 2017

Gemma Collins Is The 2017 Icon We All Needed (And This Is Why!)

On Why Gemma Collins Is The 2017 Icon We Didn't Know We Needed

The Debrief: Shut up, babes!

Gemma Collins is hardly an emerging talent. The satsuma-skinned sensation has been on our screens since the start of The Only Way Is Essex and has starred in more reality TV shows than the number of times I’ve re-downloaded Tinder whilst sobbing into a packet of mini-doughnuts, yet she has suddenly become something of an icon. Admittedly, an icon that no one had asked for, but, as sure as hell, one that you all needed. 

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The viral memes (or ‘memays’ as Gem brilliantly calls them) have relentlessly dominated our Twitter and Facebook feeds. Old clips resurfacing of her in floods of tears because, alas, the Celebrity Big Brother house didn’t have heated rollers and that time when she walked over to Christopher Maloney, looked him dead in the eyes and said, ‘It’s Gemma, you c***’. That time she charged a young fan £12 for a selfie and that TOWIE cliffhanger where Gemma undressed in front of Arg at a pool party and poignantly declared ‘you won’t ever get this candy!’. All social media gold. 

But, why is Gemma Collins so popular all of a sudden? Why NOW? 

Twitter users have tirelessly tried to condense sentiments to the effect of: ‘B-b-but, I’ve always loved her?! Why only now is she becoming mainstream?’ into 140 characters. People in offices up and down the country have pondered while gazing blankly at excel spreadsheets: ‘Why the sudden Gemma Collins hysteria?’. But I have a theory, you guys. And it’s a bloody brilliant one at that. 

We, Ladies and Gentleman, have been told that ‘less is more’ for far too long and we are sick of it. ‘Be nice! Being petty is sooo Blair Waldorf in her headband era. Minimalism! Don’t buy clothing with weird glitter/holes/frayed edges and buy a sensible, timeless, t-shirt that will go with everything you already own instead. Stay in! You’ll only spend your entire month’s pay on 3792 Jagerbombs and the proceed to uncoordinatedly slut-drop to Little Mix. Be relatable! Write a long caption on Instagram about how you’ve finally grown to love your curves!’ 

But with the current political upheaval (i.e. the Trump/May/World situation at the mo), the summer that came and left so quickly that we never actually got to wear that ASOS bardot top, and the fact that most of us will never ever be able to afford a house; we've suddenly realised that there is only so much fun we can gain from misting our plants and baking homemade granola, whilst putting 20p in a shoddy tin for accidentally saying the word ‘bugger’.

We all have a Gemma Collins side to our personalities. One that’s outrageous. One that wants to throw a full-blown tantrum when our family wants to play another board game with us at Christmas (GO AWAY MUM, I’M A BUSINESS LADY NOW). The side that wants to dance to ‘Single Ladies’ with sweat seeping through our plunging cami top, tits jiggling and fringe stuck to our eyebrows whilst expertly pouring 14 vodka cokes down our throat in a desperate bid to make our ex-boyfriend jealous. 


We've all been here ... right □□

A post shared by Gemma Collins (@gemmacollins1) on Aug 29, 2017 at 8:14am PDT


The side that just wants to go to Tesco and buy four pints of blue-capped milk in a sequin-suit ensemble, because, babes! Life is far too short to wear ‘jeans and a nice top’ every single day until we shrivel up and die! 


Literally DRESS for you not to FIT in be individual be different ✌□ check out @danwootton for exclusive interviews □□□

A post shared by Gemma Collins (@gemmacollins1) on Aug 23, 2017 at 1:03am PDT


The side that wants to get their revenge by manically penning a novel which reads ‘Your Ex, and other poisonous creatures’ whilst drinking two bottles of Lambrini and cackling like Montgomery Burns when he says ‘release the hounds!’ 


✌□□these are just cracking me up □happy bank holiday weekend everyone □□□□

A post shared by Gemma Collins (@gemmacollins1) on Aug 24, 2017 at 4:03pm PDT


It’s a side of we all have and for most of us, it's a side that hasn’t seen sunlight in about five-ish years (depending on when you removed ‘xoxo’ from your hotmail email address and put your chain belt in the loft). 

Gemma Collins is brash, she’s bold and she doesn’t care what you think about her, hun! She is metaphorically shoving a jam doughnut in the faces of the ‘wellness’ squad, the ones who preach that you should always be doing a weird jumping lunge and ‘fueling’ with a kale-infused, no sugar, no fat, no fun quinoa salad.

Gemma Collins is putting a (manicured) middle finger up at YouTubers who are unnaturally cheery ALLTHEFUCKINGTIME, pretend to love Primark and someone your mum would have wanted you to be mates with when you were 17. 

Sometimes we want to be ridiculous. Sometimes we don’t want to cooperate. Sometimes we want to swan down a crowded escalator, as if we were Beyonce herself, inwardly booming ‘move out of my way, peasants!’ Sometimes we want to be outrageous for the sheer hell of it (and being an adult is hard enough as it is). 

It’s your life, your rules, and you don’t always have to visit art museums and text your friends back. If anyone suggests otherwise, please direct them your divaship - Gemma Collins. 

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Follow Aimee on Twitter: @aimeejakes