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Made In Chelsea's Toff: Reality TV stars do have brains

From BBC - March 11, 2018

From Love Island to Made In Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex to Geordie Shore, it's hard to escape reality shows on British TV.

They may have started as entertaining ways to peep into other people's lives, but these shows now turn their subjects into stars - and brands.

Building a brand on social media, and Instagram in particular, plays a huge part for these celebrities. It's something the cast of E4's Made in Chelsea, which is about to embark on its 15th series, know better than most.

With the show about to enter into a seventh year of SW3 drama, a few characters can now be considered veterans.

One of them is 23-year-old Georgia "Toff" Toffolo, who has been part of the show for four years and has been flooded with brand deal offers since winning I am A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2017.

"I make no secret of the fact I monetise Instagram and I do not think you should be ashamed of that," she tells the BBC.

"I am an influencer and I tend to do a lot of clothing posts because its completely inoffensive. I need content, I wear high street like Missguided and Boohoo, so collaborating with them is a safe bet."

As well as using social media to earn money, she says she's also "trying to be a role model to people" and hopes she can use her platform to get young people engaged in politics.

"Lots of people who do reality TV do have a brain but there's a box we are all put in," she says. "I am very mindful of my young following, I now have nearly two million followers and I have to consider the content I upload and at the same time be organic and normal.

"I am not scared of showing me in my dressing gown, but I balance it out by talking about politics and voter engagement - young, fun but serious sometimes as well.

"My message is, shout about politics and tell people why you do not like the establishment, but I do not care who you vote for as long as you vote! Political apathy is a real problem at the moment and people tend to avoid talking about it."

As for endorsements, Toff says she has one big rule - she wo not advertise anything she does not personally like. Other influencers are often criticised for not living by a similar code.

"I always get asked to endorse diet pills - I think they are disgraceful," she says. "I wo not sell anything that promises a change in someone that I have not tried myself and seen a change with."

This emerges as a common theme among the show's stars, including one of its newest cast members, Canadian blogger Mimi Bouchard.

The 21-year-old cousin of tennis player Genie Bouchard may not be a King's Road native, but she says she follows Toff's strict rules on advertising and is well aware of some of the irresponsible marketing that goes on, especially around diet products.

"I had a brand come to me and offer me a lot of money to promote this thing you mix with water that's supposed to make you not hungry, and I said, absolutely not because I have a lot of young girls following me."

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