We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Joey Essex: 'I wouldn't visit favelas on a holiday with the boys'

The Only Way Is Essex star visited Brazil for an ITV2 programme

TV reality star Joey Essex, well-known for his unique take on the world, has wisely said he wouldn’t visit the favelas of Brazil on a lads' World Cup holiday. So far, so perceptive.

The former The Only Way is Essex (Towie) cast member visited the country to film ITV2’s Educating Joey Essex: Football Fever - a bid to educate the 23-year-old on both football and Brazilian culture. 

But he discovered that the slums of Rio de Janeiro were a world away from the glittering, permatanned world of Towie.

Speaking to BBC Newsbeat Essex said: “You just wouldn't be safe.

“It was the only place where we went where we weren't accompanied by the police and security but they weren't allowed in there.

“The gangs in there just pull guns and shoot straight away.”

Essex, who also appeared on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! last year, said he would not dare to venture into the favelas without  protection.


“I went in with this geezer called Peanut, who is a very well-known person and has looked after communities there for 40 years, he basically calms everything down if there's any trouble,” he said.

“I wouldn't personally go there if I wasn't protected.”

It is not the first time Essex has spoken about his experience in Brazil. According to the Mirror, the well-groomed star struggled to maintain his appearance during the trip.

An ITV2 source told the newspaper that a visit to a local salon almost resulted in Essex having his hair bleached.

“He was petrified. Luckily, the TV crew stepped in before the damage was too bad, but not before they got some priceless footage.”

And the source added that Essex also struggled with the lack of wifi: “Joey hasn’t coped at all well on this trip.”

However, despite the ups and downs, Essex tweeted that he had an “amazing time” in Brazil – and, of course, urged his followers to tune in to the programme when it airs.

Brazil's favelas are a stark reminder of the inequality within the country. In 2010, six per cent of the population, or 11.4 million people, were registered as living in slums, while 8.5 per cent of people in the country are believed to be living below the poverty line.