Celeb News

EXCLUSIVE: Why Australia still has jungle fever for Casey Donovan

Now To Love caught up with the curly-haired jungle queen to chat about how she's smashing her dreams, finding true love and the latest on her stepdad Norm's health battle.

By Chloe Lal
Can you believe it has been six whole months since we saw Casey Donovan seated on her rightful throne in South Africa?
This year the former Australian Idol star took out the third season of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and she's not wasted a single minute since.
Fans will be elated to hear that Casey is finally achieving what she's always wanted - the singer is releasing her EP Off The Grid & Somewhere In Between.
Now To Love chatted to the 29-year-old about everything that's been happening since we last saw her.

Life after winning I'm a Celeb

The Jungle Queen! With runners-up Dane Swan and Natalie Bassingthwaighte.
It’s clear all of Australia is rooting for you. How is life treating you after I’m a Celeb?
Life has been extremely busy! It has been so full on that I don’t know what I’m doing.
But it has been really good. Now I’ve done 2 TV shows – one of them [Australian Idol] when I was 16 years old and the other [I’m a Celebrity] when I was 29, it’s been a real eye opener.
The industry has honestly changed so much. Looking at it from when I was 16, I had no idea what was going on and I just didn’t understand the process.
Coming out of I’m a Celeb as a 29-year-old I realised it wasn’t as daunting. I am who I am and that’s what people want – which is awesome!
Casey made lifelong friends in the jungle, including Kris Smith.

You left the jungle and looked amazing! How’s your lifestyle change going?
Life has been great! Because I’ve been so busy, I’ve just trucked on through. I want to keep myself happy and excited by what life has to offer.
I’ve also discovered that I shouldn’t run from my problems. Which has been a huge thing for me!
Did you still see any of your I’m a Celeb fam?
When you’re put into a circumstance like the jungle it almost fast-tracks your friendships.
You realise very quickly who you like and you might not. Catching up with them is more about finding time!
Everybody is SO busy. Naz is in Edinburgh, Nat Bass is filming The Wrong Girl. I had dinner with Ash the other night and it was so good to just sit there and let our hair down and have a quick little chat about life and what’s going on. It’s really good to have friends like that.

Before and After: Casey lost 17kgs going from 149 kgs to 132 kgs

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On releasing brand-new music

You've just released a new EP – how are you feeling
I feel amazing! It just came out and it feels so good to have it out there. It is such a release.
What was in the inspiration behind it?
I was doing a lot covers gigs. People were booking me to sing covers – which was great but I’d like to sing originals.
I realised that I hadn’t put out any original songs and I had been writing a lot. I was between gigs and I was Uber driving and I wanted to challenge myself.
So I made myself a Kickstarter [fundraising account] telling everyone I was making original music and I needed help to make it happen. The money came through which was awesome, and it solidified me as an original artist.
It was something I was craving for such a long time. It’s also really daunting to have your original music out there.
There are people who are like, ‘This is different! I don’t know if I like this.’
But this was for me. I wanted to tell myself that I could still write and create music that people would enjoy – and that’s what’s happening now!

The latest on her stepdad Norm's health

Casey with Norm, who has pancreatic cancer.
How is your stepdad Norm is going?
He’s doing well. He has just finished doing his bouts of chemo. That was a long process and it was very tiring on his body.
He’s lost weight and he has been in and out of hospital with pain from the chemo and infections but he’s a fighter! He’ll tell anyone and everyone what he’s been through and how he’s dealing with it – which annoys mum.
He’s about to start radiation, which will be full on but not as intense as the chemo.
Fingers crossed with the outcome. Pancreatic cancer doesn’t have a cure, so the doctors are slowing it down the best they can.
He’s feeling good.

He must be so proud of you and what you’ve achieved. How have your family reacted to the new EP?
They are so excited. When I first heard about going into the jungle the first person I called was my stepdad. I remember telling him I wasn’t too sure about doing it.
Norm’s my voice of reason. He’ll tell me the pros and cons of everything in my life even when I don’t want to hear it.
I was having breakfast with him the other day and he said that the jungle was the best thing for me.
He said, 'The way you’ve come back and the way you’ve handled everything and the new habits you’ve created from the show! Who knew all it took was sending you to the jungle to get your life in order.'
They’re very happy and beyond excited.

Backlash over that Coles advertisement

There was some backlash over the Coles ad – do you have something to say to the haters?
Yes! Definitely.
Down, down, prices are down! [Laughs]

Casey finding love and being the next Bachelorette Australia

You opened up about your love life on the show – and we all fell for you? How’s dating going – are you seeing anyone?
I always think no matter how busy you are there is always time to do the things that you want to do.
I travel a lot so things like Tinder and online dating are good! If you use it in the correct way it can work wonders for you. I’ve met some good friends of Tinder and once they get over the fact that I’m the Coles lady we can move forward from that.
You know, it is lonely on the road. I don’t know.
Life and love is kinda moving slowly but who knows what will happen.
Watch Casey talk about being catfished...
We loved seeing you back on our tellies, would you consider being the 2018 Bachelorette?
I think it would be hilarious!
When I came out of the jungle a lot of people asked me what reality TV show I would do next and I joked about The Bachelor.
It would be funny, but who knows.
Let’s wait till next year… You know I have always wanted my own TV show called Casey Wants A Tradie. So maybe I need to go pitch that somewhere!

What's next for the star

How’s the rest of your year shaping up – any big things in the works?
There’s a lot of exciting things in the works – I can’t really say anymore but I can’t wait!
This year has been manic but so good. I’ve enjoyed everything that has come my way. So here’s to new adventures!
We hope you’ll be touring soon?
There is a tour in October! It’s short but we are hitting Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney!