Life & Culture

'I've received heartbreaking antisemitic messages' says Jewish TOWIE star

Former KS student Courtney Green has struggled with fame since her stint on the ITV reality show


Courtney Green knew she could never do an office job.

The former King Solomon High School student left school not knowing what she wanted to do next. She studied editing and post-production for two years, but quit university because, she says: “I am not very academic. I found the writing quite hard.”

At 19, she took on a temporary role at a technology company, hoping that things would soon fall into place.

After work, she and her friends would got to Essex’s night spots. One day, a producer on ITV’s award-winning The Only Way is Essex show asked Green and her friends to join the show for its 17th series.

“When we were first asked to do the show, we thought: ‘No, it’s so embarrassing, we are definitely not doing it,’” she recalls, but eventually agreed. She broke the news to her mum and dad (the stonemason well known in the community as Gary Green Memorials), only two weeks before she was due to start filming.

“I had nothing to lose. I didn’t know what path I was going to go down, so I thought: ‘I’m young, if the show doesn’t work out, I can get another job.”

That was eight years ago. Now 27, she has launched her own make-up brand, partnered with fashion companies, set up a podcast with her on-screen best friend, and travelled the world.

She has been invited to glitzy parties, movie premieres, and gained a strong social media fanbase with more than 600,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok, where she posts regular beauty and styling tips.

In January 2020, she set up her Palm Beauty make-up brand with the support of her sister, who works in public relations.

“When I was growing up, I was such a tomboy, I really loved football. But since I joined Towie, I started doing my make-up all the time and people would ask what I used. I wanted to get a palette together, with all the neutral bronze and neutral colours that I like.”

“I never put myself down as a business-savvy person,” she adds. “But as I’ve got older I thought:

‘I’m going to make something of myself and make myself proud.’”

There has been a downside to fame. Green has received antisemitic messages on social media directed towards her and her family, which she describes as “heartbreaking”. She says: “I never thought it would happen to me.”

She’s also had hurtful personal comments.

“Before I joined the show, I didn’t care what I looked like,” she says. “I was a very confident girl. Over time, my confidence has got less and less.

“The comments on social media do have an impact. I became more aware of my body. People would nitpick at absolutely everything. They would say I’m out of proportion, call me chubby, a dwarf, and say I don’t dress for my shape. It does start to get to you.

“I’ve now had my lips done, filler in my nose, composite bonding on my teeth and only recently I had Botox.”

When she joined the show, she was naive about how blurred the lines were between her private and on-screen life — and just how strong an impact it could have on relationships with friends and former boyfriends.

“The show is about being opinionated about people’s lives and situations,” she says.

“The friends and relationships are real. What we think and say are real, but normally I wouldn’t get involved in something, but on the show I have to. They tell us to talk about a situation. I might not care about it, but that’s what the show is about.”

“Sometimes, when you don’t feel like filming it’s good to still go ahead. It is about real lives and having raw emotions on the show.

"When you are going through something bad, people can send you a DM (direct message) on social media saying they’re in the same situation. You can help each other heal.”

Now living with boyfriend Callum Bushby in Essex, Green is planning a future with her partner.

“I’ve said to Callum: ‘Will you convert because I would love a Jewish wedding?’” she laughs.

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