On the first episode of this year I’m A Celebrity, host Ant McPartlin said there could only be one winner of the show.
“Caitlyn Jenner’s agent … by the sounds of it,” was Dec’s reply.
The gold medal-winning Olympian was undoubtedly the star booking of this series, reported to have been paid £ 500, 000 to take part.
“The papers lie,” says Natasha Hill, the talent agent responsible for getting Caitlyn onto the ITV show. “I wish it had been that much, but it was wrong.”
She won’t say how much exactly Caitlyn is being paid to be on the show, but confirmed there was a fee and negotiations did take place to secure it.
“I wanted to put an American forward for it and someone who was really well known.” )
When she spoke to Caitlyn about going into the jungle, her response was: “Are you kidding me? I’d love to do it. It would be a break from social media.”
She says she suggested her client to the I’m A Celebrity producers because of her love of “amazing daredevil experiences” and that fact that she’s “never fazed by anything”.
The proof? In the first episode, Caitlyn jumped out of a plane.
Natasha’s job as head of talent UK at MN2S means it’s her responsibility for getting famous people onto TV, into clubs for live appearances or striking lucrative advertising tie-ins and contracts.
The 30 – year-old says getting Caitlyn on to I’m A Celebrity is her biggest achievement to date.
She’s previously worked with all sorts of people from a member of the Royal Family (she won’t say who) to Sir Bob Geldof to The Vamps and Love Island contestants.
“It’s so incredibly important for celebrities to make sure they are seen as someone who is relatable.”
To be a talent agent, Natasha agrees you need to be feisty, ambitious and ruthless (“but in a good way”) – and says she’s never nasty.
She says she’s always upfront and honest with her clients about the potential shelf life of their time in the public eye.
“I’m not going to lie to them,” she says. “I tell them right from the start that the industry is difficult. It’s so oversaturated with people who want to do the same thing.
She says that’s especially true of people who come from reality TV shows – some of them she works with.
“I tell them that we’ve got to join together to become this brand that’s unstoppable.
“You see people go from reality TV shows who then play the same game and there’s nothing out of the ordinary. Then you’ve got those who tick so many different boxes and is more than just the show they come from. All of the talent I work with are more than that. “
She’s currently working with two former TV contestants – Jamie Jewitt from the 2017 series of Love Island and Ruby Bhogal, a finalist in the 2018 series of the Great British Bake Off.
Ruby tells Radio 1 Newsbeat that Natasha was “brutally honest” with her when she first signed up to the agency.
After reaching the final of the show, she suddenly found herself in demand and needed someone to help negotiate all the offers of work she was receiving.
“We were very strategic,” says Ruby. “We knew exactly how many months we had until the next series of Bake Off was coming around.
” We knew those months were key to make sure I had as much of an impact as I could have. We built relationships to make sure that – as much as I respected Bake Off – I was also a name individually outside of that. “
Natasha says her job is like having multiple relationships with people at the same time – but sometimes those relationships end, and she has to agree to part ways with a celebrity.
She tells the story of one successful boyband member (she doesn’t name him).
“He was such a nice guy and we got on really well, but it became increasingly more difficult to get him deals with brands.
“I had to tell him that I think I’d done all I could do for him. At first he pretended he hadn’t heard me and for a few weeks afterwards he still didn’t seem to have understood.
“In the end he asked me to help him find another agent because he was worried no one else was going to work with him. “
Natasha says she’s been working as an agent for seven or eight years, but started out as a receptionist for Global Radio in London.
She admits she was chatty, good at talking the talk and getting noticed. Over the years, she’s worked for various agencies and dealt with many high profile figures.
However, there’s only one person she’s been really starstruck by – and it’s not who you’d expect.
“Sir Ranulph Fiennes,” says Natasha.
The 75 – year-old is one of the UK’s most famous explorers and she worked with him on an environmental campaign.
“I saw him speak about three years ago and I didn’t know what to do. I almost fell over and it was the first time I’d ever felt like that.”
As for Caitlyn, she says she wasn’t phased when she first met her: “All the talent I work with, I just treat like they ‘ re someone else on the street who I’d just start chatting to. “