Kevin Clifton was forced to live in car due to money struggles: ‘Could barely earn much’

Kevin Clifton discusses focusing on his well-being

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Kevin Clifton, 38, admitted he opted to live in his car to save money on rent when he was a young aspiring dancer. The former Strictly Come Dancing professional has often spoken of his struggles to get where he is today, and touched on his experiences again while addressing the issue of identity for those working in performing arts throughout this trying time on his self-titled podcast.

I didn’t want to keep asking my mum and dad for money

Kevin Clifton

The dancer reflected upon the devastating impact the multiple coronavirus lockdowns have had upon a sector that has, for so long, provided the country with joy and escapism and he encouraged those who have been forced to find other work to find themselves freely.

The creative industries have suffered greatly, the sector being one of the worst hit by the global crisis.

With some 70 per cent of workers in the arts being freelancers, some have not been ineligible for support from the government and have therefore been forced to find other jobs away from what they love.

“Some people have no love for their job, it’s just their means of bringing in money to provide for their family, or to fulfil their dreams and the job isn’t that important to them,” Kevin described.

“For most people in the entertainments industry, it’s their passion, it’s what they’ve always loved and what they’ve thrown themselves into.”

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He added: ” And they’ve put themselves through hard times, way before there was a pandemic!”

Kevin then touched upon his own plight, saying: “I’ve talked openly about how I used to live in my car when I was a young dancer.

“I didn’t want to keep asking my mum and dad for money, I could barely earn much money and dance lessons were expensive.

“To save on rent, I used to live in my Ford Fiesta for a while and get up and shower and brush my teeth in the dance studio and then have more lessons and keep practising.”

He noted that his story won’t be the only one out there, as “a lot of performers have gone through this” or experienced some form of hardship to get to where they want to be.

Kevin went on to say: “They feel like this is their whole identity, so without it over the past year, there’s a real feeling of, ‘Who am I without performing?’

“That’s definitely been something for me.”

The BBC star explained that it’s been a time of “self-reflection” for a lot of performers out there, but he urged people to take the time to figure out who they are and not be forced into anything else.

Elsewhere on The Kevin Clifton Show, the 38-year-old spoke about his mental health struggles, telling his former housemate and acclaimed performer Jess Khan-Lee, that he was “not well mentally”.

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He said: “Being a performer, being an actor, I’ve found sometimes we romanticise someone who seems to be in a really dark place but they do a good job of something.

“And we romanticise the, ‘this person was all over the place and they were really struggling and that’s why they are such an amazing artist’.

“Sometimes I used to think because I’ve been through, similar to what you were saying, I went through a time where I was I guess not well mentally.

“And there’s a part of me that looks to these people that we romanticise, say it’s a Kurt Cobain or an Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger.

“We romanticise that part of them that was so chaotic and they were just a tortured artist.

“They’re all brilliant artists but the chaos in them was not necessarily helping things. They were just also a brilliant artist.”

Speaking more about this time, Kevin recalled how he “hated” himself, adding: “There was a point when I had a really low opinion of myself, just no self-esteem and hated myself really.

“I think there are parts of it that you can, the darkness and angst, that you can use for performing but in the long run I don’t think it does you any good.”

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