X Factor star Lucy Spraggan, who has dedicated a song on her new album to her late friend Caroline Flack, says the industry needs to change its approach to reality TV and wants to use her own „negative experience” to help others.
By Bethany Minnell, Arts & Entertainment Correspondent @BethanyMinelle
Friday 11 August 2023 11:58, UK
X Factor star Lucy Spraggan has called for an „industry change” in the treatment of contestants on reality TV, branding the fame that comes from appearing on such shows „a huge shock”.
The singer – now 31 – was just 20 when she appeared Simon Cowell talent showand was the favorite to win, but dropped out of the competition after a few weeks Following sexual assault.
While he left the show following the attack (for which – a person unrelated to the show – was convicted and jailed), he remained active in music, releasing music every two years and now sharing his seventh album.
Relying on her anonymity (granted to all victims of sexual assault), Spraggan calls herself a „lucky person”: „I say I’m a lucky person for many reasons. To have a belief. It’s not something that many people are given.”
Spraggan told Sky News: „I’m a completely different person… I’ve healed a lot in the last 11 years”.
However, her early experiences on reality TV prompted her to make a change. He says: „I think the industry needs to change in the way the shows, the reality TV, treat the mental health of the participants. To become famous, especially overnight, is a big shock. It’s really something.”
He says: „When I was looking for the mental help I needed, I didn’t know where to look,” and „I wanted to use my negative experience to create a better place for others”.
She says she was inspired by the death of Love Island host Caroline Flack, who took her own life in 2020, to write her memoir Process, and her latest album includes a song about the late star.
Flack’s friend Spraggan says: „I remember hearing that she had died, and at that moment I wondered what the protocols and procedures were to help someone who so clearly needed help.”
Spraggan added that while she was lucky enough to have a successful music career after appearing on the show, others were less fortunate and had to return to their previous jobs, which is „not good for a person’s well-being,” adding: „After being so famous, work on your self-worth and validation. I think you need some help to do”.
Singer has called for a mental health pension plan for those who work in reality TV — on and off screen — where production companies take a percentage of their budgets to give employees access to mental health resources.
When approached by Sky News, ITV said in a statement: „We have developed and improved these oversight procedures since questionable incidents and we are encouraged to listen to Thames. [the production company behind X Factor] Recognizes the importance of continuous review and improvement of their own processes.
„We continue to build our own due diligence processes into the projects we produce to ensure appropriate measures are in place to support contributors before and after filming.”
Spraggan says she opened up about her traumatic experiences in both her memoir and album in an effort to help others.
„I want people to look at my story and say that terrible things can happen, but we can get better, and we’ll feel better. That’s what this whole thing is about. It’s a very positive message.”
Spraggan’s memoir, Process: Finding My Way Through, is available now, and her latest album, Balance, is out today.
Anyone feeling emotional or suicidal can call Samaritans on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call your local Samaritan branch or 1 (800) 273-TALK
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