To celebrate Pride this year we caught up with Jamie Campbell, who the hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is based on. Find out more about his experience, the documentary that lead to the play and what he has in the pipeline.
How old were you when you realised you were gay?
I first realised I was gay while watching Peter Pan in 2003—I was 9 at the time. Jeremy Sumpter was the first male I remember having a crush on.
How were you treated at school?
I was bullied throughout primary school and secondary school. In primary it was “you’re a girl, you’re a girl” and they would push me into the girls’ toilets and that kind of thing. When I went to secondary school it turned more vicious, you can imagine all the slurs I got and it was constant. It wasn’t just kids—it was adults as well. I couldn’t even walk home from school without it. It was pretty awful.
What inspired you to shoot the documentary?
In all honesty it was safety. I thought if I had a film crew it would be less likely for me to be beaten up. At the time it wasn’t for anything else other than that. It wasn’t until its release I realised the power that came from shooting the documentary. I’m so glad I did because it’s helped so many people since.
What forms of support did you get?
I had a good group of girlfriends who helped look after me as well as my amazing mum at home, so the abuse wasn’t as scarring as it could have been without those things. I found solace in my dance class as well, who were always there to support me too.
How did you handle the bullying?
I would talk about almost everything with my mum, who would assure me that the bullies were the ones with the problem and not me. She always made sure that I knew I was special and that wasn’t a bad thing. She made sure that I didn’t listen to them and remembered that I was going to go on to do big things.
What advice would you give to adolescents coming out?
Do what feels right for you. Don’t force anything that you’re not ready to do. When the time is right you will know, then go for it then. If people have anything negative to say, honestly don’t listen to them. I know it’s easier said than done but focus your attention and energy on those who do matter to you rather than those trying to bring you down.
Now that your story has been made into an award-winning musical, what’s next for you?
Well, I’m working with the Nimax team on a schools program that’s going to be kicking off in the autumn so I’m really excited about that. I’ve also been working on a merchandise fashion collection, which I’m going to show off soon. The motion picture version of the show will be starting production soon so I’m excited to be involved with that. I’m just taking everything a day at a time—you never know what’s around the corner.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is now playing at the Apollo Theatre in London’s West End until April 2019. To book your tickets visit everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk