Only read this with an open mind. If you have already made your opinion on me, the show, Thelma, the traveller & gypsy community or anything else along those lines, do not read any further as you will not reap the full benefit.
I will start from the very beginning...
I didn't read about the programme online like most of the girls, the first i heard about it was when some of the film crew were "scouting" around local sites in the area and they visited mine. Originally I was only going to help them ask some of the other girls but i was told that there would be a city & guilds on completion of the course and that it would be like an apprenticeship with Thelma herself. I was also informed that if i did not wish to be filmed then i could just come along to the recruitment day and apply for the course on it's own without being part of the "documentry".
A few weeks later I recieved a call asking if I was available for an interview, at this point I thought things were going well as this is the protocall I have been used to when I have applied for previous jobs. Upon arrival the two members of the crew had their cameras at the ready, that should have been my first insight into the running of the show. It took me, my Mam, my Granny, and a call to the series producer to confirm that they had agreed I did not need to be filmed before they gave up. They then moved on to quizing me about my culture, which I can safely say is far from any other "job interview" I've had. They couldn't have cared less about my capability, instead they kept pushing for more juicy details. I did foolishy think of that as pretty fair at the time as people outside the community tend to be quite quizative towards us, so I agreed to go ahead with the recruitment day along with one of my friends.
After waiting half an hour for the taxi that the show arranged we (me, my friend, and my Mam) arrived there to find the camera crew creeping around like snipers. Not trusting the crew to keep to their word and keep me and my friend out of the frame, we waited in the taxi until my Mam phoned one of the crew and confirmed we were not to be filmed. We then left the taxi to wait on a staircase for an hour and a half after which we were seperated into those which did and didn't wish to be filmed, where we then waited a further hour for Miss Madine to arrive and make her entrace which took 3 attempts. Once she had listed her expectations she made a prompt exit and all of us were hearded into seperate room filled with colouring pencils and paper, it looked very much like one of my primary school classes but with less organisation. It was clear that Thelma's expectations of us were already extremely low to say the least. Some of the girls were beginning to get restless and so were getting a little rowdy, as teenagers do, there was no "family fued" going on. Aprox 5 hours later I was asked to take my interview but told that if i was not filmed during the interview then there was "no point" as I wouldn't be considered for the placement, seeing as I had left college for this chance I agreed to be on camera but my Mam did not sign the release form. My friend had better sense and did not agree to be on camera. Two hours later Thelma, Pauline, and Leanne had made their decision and came through to tell the girls. My name was called out first and I immediately felt sick, the thought "what am I doing" ran through my head over and over... why didn't I listen to my gut instinct... :(