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An Interview with Jeff Brazier

Jeff Brazier

Television presenter Jeff Brazier first landed on our television screens back in 2001 when he appeared on Channel Four’s reality TV show Shipwrecked. However, he is arguably most famous as partner to Big Brother star Jade Goody whom he dated during the early Noughties. Despite having a tumultuous relationship, the pair had two wonderful children together, and following Goody’s sad death from ovarian cancer in 2009, Brazier has devoted his life to ensuring his sons, and others like them, can learn to overcome loss and transform their grief into something positive. He has achieved this through the life coaching business he launched in Brighton last year. Here, Brazier reveals to Culture Calling his favourite spots in the city, ways in which rich culture can promote positive wellbeing and his top tips on living your best life ever.

There are few Brightonians who haven't witnessed Jeff Brazier and his two handsome lookalike sons – Bobby, 13, and Freddie, 12 – taking in leisurely seaside strolls on a Sunday morning. Originally from Harlow, Brazier relocated his brood to Brighton a few years ago with his partner, Kate Dwyer, in a bid to start anew, get a fresh perspective, and, inspired by the city’s rich and vibrant culture, launch his life coaching business.

“Brighton is such an invigorating city,” begins the 37-year-old in his trademark cheery manner. “I find that nothing blows the cobwebs away like a brisk walk along the seafront. It’s also a great place to people-watch too. I like to go down to the Meeting Place café, grab a cuppa and just be in the moment. Dog walkers, people jogging, families… when you’re feeling sorry for yourself it’s a good reminder that there is so much out there.”

A living, breathing (and invariably smiling) poster boy for positivity, Brazier is far more than the cheeky, Essex-lad persona he cultivated in the early days of his career. Much of this appears to be down to becoming a father and then the subsequent devastating loss of the mother of his children, Jade Goody, something that was played out on the public stage. “I had two choices,” he continues. “I could either crumple in a heap or rise up for the sake of my sons and become an inspirational figure for those dealing with loss everywhere. I chose the latter.

Jaff Brazier

Jeff Brazier

“I see my job as a dad to give my kids the tools to go out and have a really great life – to make good decisions, good choices and to limit mistakes,” he explains. “I do my best to really grab life by the horns and enjoy everything I do which means that, as a dad, I’m a little bit more hands on – not just because they lost their mum, but because I appreciate the importance and the significance of the bond that we have.”

Alongside his coaching, the Harlow-born heartthrob presents regular spots on ITV’s This Morning, and is preparing to release his first book, The Grief Survival Guide: How to Navigate Loss and All That Comes with it. According to Brazier, we can implement great change in our lives through making small changes every day that will, over time, “transform our outlook and encourage a greater feeling of positivity, happiness and confidence.”

He is also an advocate for using healthy eating and fitness as a way maintain physical and mental wellbeing, and believes that Brighton is one of the best places in the UK to be healthy. “Living somewhere like this makes it so easy. I cook a lot at home but when I don’t there are a wealth of healthy options in Brighton and Hove, particularly with all the vegetarian eateries scatted about,” says Brazier, who is also a regular at the Connect gym in Portslade, which specialises in the freeform phenomenon, CrossFit. “I also love taking the boys to the Amex, but obviously, that’s spectating rather than participating,” he adds with a laugh.

“The bigger thing here, I’ve found, is encouraging people to use what’s around them for inspiration. I often talk to people about finding strength from the inside, and of course you can do that – everyone can. However, whether arts and culture begins as a distraction, and whether or not it leads to immersing yourself in a new interest or new group of people, it’s all around us and there to be soaked up.

“People lose themselves in theatre, in plays, in music, even in art, and from Komedia to The Old Market to The Theatre Royal, right down to arts events happening in seemingly every pub in the area, there is so much to bring your mind back to positive thoughts and ideas; just go out and find it.”

The Grief Survival Guide: How to Navigate Loss and All That Comes with it by Jeff Brazier is available for pre-order now via Amazon.

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