Flashback – Jayde Adams and her late sister, Jenna: ‘I started making jokes at her bedside, and I haven’t stopped since’

The comedian, actor and presenter talks about an old photograph, and how her big sister’s early death spurred her to write her award-winning debut standup show

Born in Bristol in 1984, Jayde Adams is a comedian, actor and presenter known for her bombastic storytelling, extrovert aesthetics and operatic abilities. Her debut standup show – written in the wake of her sister’s death from a brain tumour – was nominated for the Edinburgh newcomer award in 2016. This preceded zeitgeist-skewering shows such as The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face, as well as a fruitful TV career as a host for Crazy Delicious and Snackmasters, a guest on panel shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats and a starring role in this year’s acclaimed comedy Alma’s Not Normal. Adams is an ambassador for the charity Brain Tumour Support .

This photograph was taken in Devon Cliffs, a caravan site where working-class people who couldn’t afford to go on planes would take their kids for a holiday. My sister and I would be forced to compete in freestyle disco dancing together. I wasn’t terrible at it, but I was fat. Mum shoved me in skintight Lycra because she didn’t want me to feel different: she wanted to protect my self-esteem, which I had a lot of. My sister, however – slim, athletic, the perfect disco dancer – didn’t have much confidence. So we weren’t that successful, apart from this one time. We danced in these costumes and did so well a tunnel of people were waiting for us when we finished, applauding and going: “Oh my God! You’re amazing!” That was huge for me. I was always lagging behind. On top of that, I was a real people-pleaser who didn’t forge relationships that had any depth. I was desperate for friends, and people would take advantage of that.

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