Myles Stephenson reveals he’s been ‘chased out of towns’ and ‘nearly run over’ because of racism

After he cooked up a storm in the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! jungle, it’s no surprise that Myles Stephenson decided to take on another cooking challenge. We’ll soon be able to see how he fared against the likes of Judy Murray and Jeff Brazier when they competed for the title of Celebrity MasterChef champion.

The 28-year-old singer, whose band Rak-Su found fame after winning the 14th series of The X Factor in 2017, has spent most of lockdown recovering from a snowboarding accident in Andorra.

He spent almost three weeks in hospital after breaking his ribs, suffering internal bleeding and a ruptured spleen.

Here, Myles talks to OK! about his road to recovery, his chances on Celebrity MasterChef and his personal experiences of racism…

You had a scary snowboarding accident back in February. Have you recovered now?

I’ve still got a bit of blood on my lungs, but over the last few weeks I’ve been able to start having rehabilitation and personal training. I went for a run the other day and I couldn’t even run a kilometre. I’ve been snowboarding for nearly 15 years and it was a freak accident. It hasn’t put me off though.

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How much weight did you lose in hospital?

I lost over a stone and a half in the first nine days and I was bed-bound for 17 days. I went down to about 12 stone, which I haven’t been since I was 15. I haven’t cooked much because I still get tired, but I’ve eaten a lot!

Did you find it nerve-wracking cooking for John Torode and Gregg Wallace on Celebrity MasterChef?

They’re very straight-faced and to the point so it was nerve-wracking, but they said to us, “Don’t cook for us, cook for you.” My heat was very strong and they said it was one of the best heats they’ve had. I didn’t go into it feeling confident because you don’t know what’s going to be thrown at you. I was excited, but confident is definitely not the word! It was an amazing experience. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t think I’d ever get the opportunity to do.

Did you use any of the cooking skills you picked up in the jungle?

Oh, hell no! Maybe if there had been a possum or a crocodile’s foot. I like cooking West Indian dishes and things like jerk chicken. My nan [who died in December] taught me to cook and she inspired me to want to do the best I could. My motivation for the show came out of wanting to open my own Caribbean restaurant.

Would you like your own cooking show?

Definitely. I’m doing Breakfast At Garraway’s with Kate [Garraway] when we can, which will have a cooking element to it. Obviously, the situation with Kate is s**t, but when Derek [Draper, Kate’s husband, who has been fighting for his life against coronavirus] gets better, we can go full steam ahead with that.

Have you spoken to Kate?

Yeah, I’ve spoken to her as much as I can, but I don’t want to keep bombarding her with questions because she needs her close friends and family around her. As close as we are, she’s got the kids to worry about. I don’t think it’s fair to remind her of the situation she’s in because she knows. My prayers go out to her, Derek and the kids every single day. I’ve got to respect that she wants privacy. We all have a group chat from the jungle and everyone chats on there. I FaceTime Andy Whyment, too!

Jacqueline Jossa has hit back at reports of her and her husband Dan Osborne splitting. Have you spoken to her about it?

No. I was obviously slightly more directly involved than the other campmates in that situation, and at the end of the day, that’s
her family privacy and for her to deal with. It’s nothing to do with me.

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You wrote about yourself, and your friends and family, experiencing racism when posting about the Black Lives Matter movement. What’s been your experience?

My grandparents came to England back in the 50s and 60s. I’ve grown up with racism, being mixed-race. I’ve woken up most days and cried to myself because it hurts. George Floyd losing his life, it hurts as much as me personally experiencing it. I still experience racism on a daily basis. I‘ve been chased out of towns because of racism when I was younger by grown men and nearly run over multiple times. Ashley [Fongho] from Rak-Su was also there and we had to run five miles back to his house. Be it just a comment on Instagram or getting it physically, it hurts just as much. There’s a lot that still needs to be done.Me and the boys have made a song and we want to play a part in the fight against racism and oppression. People need to realise it’s still rife in today’s society and we need more diversity in the government and to support black-owned businesses.

Celebrity MasterChef starts on BBC One, Wednesday 1 July at 9pm

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