THE CIRCLE: INTERVIEW WITH YOLANDA (MEET THE PLAYERS)
The nation's most famous block of flats welcomes its latest set of residents. A £100k prize is at stake in an unpredictable game of popularity. The players will be living just metres apart, but they can't see or hear each other. Instead they communicate via a voice-activated platform called The Circle.
OCCUPATION: Dating Agency Founder
PLAYING AS: Her Husband Chris
• What is your MOTIVATION FOR ENTERING THE CIRCLE? What is it about the game that made you want to apply?
To win the money. I believe I can play the game so that’s why I applied, but obviously the money is a huge factor.
If I was to win the money, I could make Chris’s dream come true and would launch a landscaping firm. A lot of people feel the world has given up on them and we want to help give people the opportunity to succeed and grow by learning a trade.
• Have you watched the show before and did that give you any tips on how to play the game?
I was watching the first series in 2018 and Chris was asking me what I was watching, and I tried to explain it to him, but he loses interest in anything that is too technical or takes too long to explain. When I told him that I'd applied and that I was going on, he started to watch it.
Watching the game helped me to see what loopholes and tactics people use which I can avoid in order to win.
• What is your STRATEGY to win show? Are there any specific tactics that you think will help you win?
I love talking. I love to chat. I am a people person and I am popular in real life, so I hope I will be equally popular on a game show just with a different face, which I think is even more attractive than my own. With Chris’s face and my personality, I'm going to absolutely smash it out of the park!
• You are playing as Chris. How does that differ from the person I am speaking to right now and why did you decided to play as someone else? Me and Chris are very similar, we have very similar outgoing, bubbly personalities, but the only difference is that he's more laid back and more chilled, whereas I'm fiery. I will happily have an argument and not lose sleep over it. Whereas Chris avoids confrontation at all costs. I’m going to use his laid back, manly, Welsh approach to life, with a bit of my personality mixed in.
• Are you worried about any backlash you might get when you reveal that you are not the person you are saying you are?
No, I'm not because at the end of the day it's a game. If anyone gets upset, I’ll say ‘bring it in’, give them a hug and tell them: ‘Don't be so bitter! It’s alright, it's not the end of the world.’
• How much research have you done on your catfish personality? I already know Chris's personality like the back of my hand, so I'm confident in all areas, apart from his job. He’s a landscaper and there's so much to it. I went to work with Chris and did a day on the job, but when you’re not fully experienced in something, you don't feel that confident trying to talk about it. Whereas if it was at my job, they could ask me any kind of question and I could answer quickly.
But I hope the only people that are going to ask about landscaping are people who are trying to catch me out and unless they're a landscaper themselves, how much can they really ask me?
I’m fine with everything else, like pretending to be a guy is easy. I'm a bit of a tomboy anyway and the majority of my friends are guys, so I know how boys chat.
• How do you feel about being on TV?
I'm quite confident. I don't really mind it.
• How much do you use social media in the real world?
I go on it more than I post stuff. I'm not one of those people that posts about being on my way to the gym. I post milestones, like I'll post on my birthday or my hen party or a holiday and me and my friends have got our own food page. I've got a Twitter account, but I haven't been on it in 10 years and I have TikTok too but, I mainly use Instagram.
• In real life how does your online social media self differ to who you really are in person?
It doesn't. It’s black and white. What it says on the tin. Obviously, I don't post when I am looking all frazzled in the morning, but that’s about it.
• Who do you admire on social media? Who do you think uses it well? I don't really idolise anyone like that.
• Have you ever been catfished? Or caught a catfish?
No, fortunately not and I’ve never caught one.
• Do you think you'll be able to spot any catfish on the show?
I've got really good instincts in life and a good intuition, but it's different in there. I'm a good judge of character when I’m face-to-face talking to someone that is chatting a whole load of breeze and I can suss them out, but it's different over the phone. Hopefully my instincts will kick in when it's necessary and I'll be alright.
• Do you think what you say on The Circle matters or will you say anything if it would help you win?
I'm in it to win it. I'm not just going to say anything though. I'm going to be genuine, but the only disingenuous thing is that I'm Chris. I'm not going to be brown-nosing or chatting a whole lot of ‘do-do’. I'm not going to do that.
I think being as authentic as I can, even though I'm being Chris is the best way, because I'm not trying to portray him as a bitch because we're not like that in real life. We say it how it is, but we're not horrible people. I'm not going to start slating people just to look like the great villain. I'm just going to go with the flow and play the game. Whatever happens, happens. I'm not going to think too deep about it. I'm just going to be myself and play this character.
• Do you ever use social media to flirt or look for love?
No, me and Chris just say it directly or have a little catch up on the phone. Sometimes I'll send him a meme which says ‘cherish the woman you have, she's a diamond’ and things like that.
• Has social media made it easier or more difficult for you to find romance? Do you think it is possible to fall in love online?
Yeah, it’s absolutely possible. The online dating scene is huge right now. I want to start a business and be a match maker, because I love love and I think there are too many amazing single women out there that are just not finding it because it’s really hard.
• Will you be open to people flirting with you on the show?
Yeah. We're playing him single. Yolanda is not in the picture. I’m flirting all the way. I'm going to be telling the ladies what they want to hear. Chris is celibate, he's in love with Jesus. He's religious. We're going to keep it nice and light but intriguing. We won’t be going on a date when we’re out, but we can go to church if they want.
• Do you want to win? How far will you go to win?
As far as it takes. I got to do what I got to do to win it.
• What would you do the prize money?
With the prize money, we would set up a landscaping firm and all of our employees would be people with no current skill set and feel like the world has given up on them; and we're here to give them that opportunity to rise and shine and show the world that they got it, because we believe in them.
• Any surprising facts or hidden talents that we should know about you? I’m no Whitney Houston, but I do throw it down when I’ve got to throw it down. I can do all accents, I dance a lot and I’m passionate about food. I'm basically a chef. I should be a chef, but I don’t want to cook for hundreds and that’s why I wouldn't open a restaurant, but I really do love food. I like keeping fit, keeping happy, keeping healthy, just positive vibes.
• How does your husband Chris feel about you catfishing as him? He loves it, but I made him do a photo shoot and he wasn't happy about it, because he's just not that kind of guy. I was telling him, you’ve got to do a boomerang and do something funny and he was like ‘I just can't’.
• How did you and Chris meet?
We met when I was studying at university in Aberystwyth and he was a local boy. We were introduced on a night out and we just clicked and became best friends. I graduated and came back to London, but we stayed in contact via social media. Eight years later I went back to celebrate my birthday and he was only supposed to come up for three hours but ended up staying three days and said, I let you go once I don't want to let you go again. To cut a long story short, a month later he packed up his flat and moved to London. A year later, just before my 29th birthday we went out to a private island and he proposed. We got married a day before I went into lockdown for The Circle.
The Circle begins tonight at 9:15pm on Channel 4.