Rylan Clark looks back: ‘I wanted people to notice me. After being bullied it was an act of defiance’

TV presenter Rylan Clark looks back at his X Factor audition and the time a school bully wanted a selfie

Rylan Clark, born Ross in 1988, grew up in a council house in Stepney Green, east London, with his mum, Linda, grandma Rose and big brother Jamie. He finished in fifth place during the ninth series of The X Factor in 2012, winning the nation’s hearts with his outlandish outfits, quick tongue and elaborate pop mashups. From Simon Cowell’s stage he went straight into 2013’s Celebrity Big Brother, which he won, and has since worked nonstop: as a presenter on Radio 2, This Morning, Strictly and Eurovision spin-offs, and on the Celebrity Gogglebox sofa. His new memoir, Ten: The Decade That Changed My Future, is out now.

Here I am at my X Factor audition, showing off all the hits: the teeth, the T-shirt, the hair. Everything was so surreal by the time I got on stage. The hopeful contestants had been standing outside the O2 for hours and it was a really hot day, so once I got inside it felt as if I had sunstroke. The next thing I know, it’s like: bish, bash, bosh, bam. Here’s Dermot! Here’s a mic! You’re on stage! I didn’t know what I was doing.

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