The master of deception who stole the show on Channel 4’s The Circle
Gay London Life catches up with Scott Paige, a contestant off the most recent series of hit reality TV show The Circle. The 30 year old actor from Manchester spent the bulk of his time on the programme trying to convince fellow competitors that he was in fact his 85 year old grandmother, Dot. Below, he talks about his experience on the show, plus social media and catfishing.
What was your motivation for applying to be on The Circle
I’ve always been a fan of reality programmes. The Circle for me, as soon as I watched it, felt different from the rest. It’s all about character and personality and that’s right up my street. The money is amazing and if people asked me “are you in it to win it?” well of course, because it’s a game and the chance to win a life-changing amount of money was motivation enough. But also, I love The Circle so just a chance to be on the programme was why I did it.
Had you watched the show beforehand and did that give you any tips on how to play the game?
I had watched the show, especially series two. As I was going to play my nan, who’s obviously a lot older than me, I looked at Tim’s journey from that series and I wanted to see how he approached things, even the way he acted and spoke to other players. When they played the ‘Down Memory Lane Game’, I thought ‘Oh gosh if this was to come up when I’m in, my nan is 85 and was born in 1935!’ So I did lots of research – I hadn’t done that much preparation in my life for anything.
What did she think about you going on the show and playing her?
Oh she loved it. She loves reality TV – Big Brother, I’m A Celebrity, you name it. We have phone calls when they go to ad breaks to compare thoughts – we are obsessed! So, as soon as I said I want to be you she was like ‘oh my god’. At first, she thought I was going in, dressed in a wig with a cardy pretending to be her and I was like “no it’s not that sort of show!” But I explained what The Circle is and she was thrilled.
Choosing the pictures of my nan was hard because photos of my nan are mostly old fashioned print ones so I didn’t have a lot to choose from. I went around and did a little photoshoot with her. She was absolutely loved it! She had four outfit choices. That’s one of the things I think is amazing about her, as soon as you think 85-year-old woman, you think stereotypically, purple rinse, glasses, little Zimmer frame, but she’s so trendy and young at heart.
What was your strategy going into the show?
I wanted to be The Circle nan, that person who everyone goes to for advice. I used her age as my secret weapon really, because when you’re in that environment you do miss your family. I knew if I was going in there as myself and I saw an elderly woman who looks like my nan, I’d be drawn to her and want to keep her in because who doesn’t love a nan? She’s lbeen on this earth for 85 years so you would trust her and want to get to know her.
How much do you use social media in the real world?
I use it quite a lot now. I never really did but since going into acting and musical theatre, there are a lot of fans so I do use it for communicating with them.
In real life how does your online social media self differ to who you really are in person?
I don’t think it does. I saw a post the other week and it said “be as happy as you are in real life as you are on social media”. Maybe sometimes people do come across in real life completely different to how they portray themselves on social media but the thing with me is I’ve got nothing to hide – I’m all here. I’m happy with myself and in my body, I’ve got nothing to be ashamed about.
Who do you admire on social media? Who do you think uses it well?
A good friend of mine, Carrie Hope Fletcher, is fantastic on social media. She’s an author, an actress and she uses her platform really well. She encourages body positivity, works with charities, helps educate people and does Instagram lives with advice on how to get into musical theatre. I really admire that.
Have you ever been catfished? Or caught a catfish?
I’ve been catfished once in my life – it was about two or three years ago when I was on tour with a show. I started speaking to a gorgeous firefighter from Wales and I thought he was too good to be true – it was going too well. He was going to fly over to Ireland, where I was at the time, to see me and then one day he was just gone. We had been speaking for maybe over a month and had got to know each other but we never FaceTimed. I thought maybe he was a bit shy but those are absolute signs of a big fat catfish! There were red flags and I just ignored them. So yes, it’s happened once but it’s never going to happen again because I now know the signs.
Do you ever use social media to flirt or look for love?
Oh no I can’t, it’s not my thing! But also, there are a lot of theatre fans on my social media so no, that’s not for me. I suppose it’s a good way to meet people but I don’t do it for a romance. For me, social media isn’t a place to flirt or find love.
Stay up to date with Scott (but don’t go flirting) at @scottpaigey, or relive his time on The Circle on All 4