Love Island’s Eyal Booker is swapping his swim shorts for a Stetson in a new reality show that sees him experiencing life as a cowboy.
Celebs On The Ranch, which begins on Monday on 5Star, promises plenty of lasso-throwing, horse-riding and inevitably, plenty of muck raking.
Former JFS pupil Eyal, 23, joins fellow Love Island cast member Georgia Steel, The Only Way Is Essex’s Courtney Green and Bobby Cole Norris, football WAG Tanya Bardsley, who also appears on Real Housewives of Cheshire, Made In Chelsea’s Mark-Francis Vandelli and Victoria Baker Harber, presenter Jenny Powell, choreographer Louis Spence, and The Wanted member Siva Kaneswaran.
Jewish News caught up with Eyal to find out just why he was so happy to saddle up and ride out West…..
Jewish News: Celebs On The Ranch is starting next week – what can you tell us about it?
Eyal Booker: We went to a ranch in the middle of Arizona, set in 57,000 acres, which is literally three hours away from the closest bit of civilisation and learnt how to be cowboys and cowgirls. It’s something I never thought or expected I’d be talking about to anyone, but when the opportunity came about I thought, who doesn’t want to learn to be a cowboy? It sounded pretty fun.
JN: Did you enjoy playing cowboys when you were little?
EB: My grandad was very much into his old cowboy films, so yes, I did. As a kid I had many dreams and one of them was definitely to become a cowboy, so when this came along I thought, 100 per cent, I’m going to be a big kid again and live on a ranch.
JN: Tell us a little bit about what you got up to on the ranch.
EB: It was like a challenge-based show done in a nice, light-hearted way. We were put to the test in many different aspects of riding and shooting, roping cattle and learning the day-to-day running of the ranch and then getting stuck in pretty quickly. We did everything you can imagine a cowboy doing.
JN: Did you know any of the rest of the group and did you get to make new celeb friends?
EB: I knew Georgia Steel from Love Island. It was nice seeing her in a different environment and getting to know her better. I actually knew Courtney Green from when I was a young teenager, so that was weird to be on a show with someone I grew up with! I also got on really well with Siva (Kaneswaran) from The Wanted and Bobby Norris. The whole cast was just a really lovely bunch of people.
JN: Did you enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life?
EB: It was incredible in terms of that. We came off Love Island and got thrust into this crazy world, so the opportunity of going away for a few weeks with only minimal phone signal where we weren’t really connected to the outside world was just really refreshing. It was nice to be in nature, taking everything in and just really enjoying living in the moment. It was definitely a very grounding experience.
JN: You did Love Island almost a year ago – have you reflected back on your time on the show?
EB: It was an incredible experience. I would always have kicked myself if I hadn’t taken the opportunity and I always said to myself that if I was going to do it that I should be happy with the experience. I have never watched it back. I know what I needed to know about it and that I had fun in the moment.
JN: Love Island has been in the news recently regarding the aftercare that contestants receive. Do you think there should be more support and did you have problems adapting to your newfound fame?
EB: No I didn’t, but thankfully I have amazing family and friends, a network around me who always look after me and have my best interests at heart, so they were always there for me. I always knew the Love Island door was open – they expressed that when we were leaving the show. I knew if I needed their help or guidance I would have had it. Thankfully I have amazing people around me who have kept me grounded and make sure I’m doing good. I’m lucky in that respect.
JN: You’re clearly someone who is in great physical shape. What do you do to stay healthy?
EB: I try and lead an active, healthy life. I believe a healthy body equals a healthy mind and so I do a lot of circuit-based training workouts and classes. I do a class called F45, who have become like a little family to me. It’s a 45-minute, high intensity workout, a mixture of strength and cardio. The gym is where I enjoy spending my time. I go to Gymbox, where they’ve got every kind of training method you can think of, so I just try and mix it up. I said this year I want to be in the best physical and mental shape of my life, so not just aesthetically looking fit, but also being mentally fit and healthy as well. That’s my personal goal for myself.
JN: We have to ask you about the hair – everyone is in love with it. What is your secret to your luscious locks?
EB: I have to thank my parents – just a good mixture of Moroccan and Eastern European genes that fuse together quite nicely. I use a very simple curl cream from Boots. People get annoyed at me, because they think there’s this big secret, but there really isn’t. My mum used to get this curl cream for me from Israel, she would go and stock up her suitcase. But then we found this one and it was life-changing!
JN: You’ve been linked with lots of names over the last few months, including Rita Ora. Is there any truth in the rumours?
EB: No, there was no truth – we were just hanging out. She’s a lovely lady. I’m currently single, though I have been dating on and off. I’m pretty focused on what I want to do and confident in knowing the right person will come along.
JN: Would you marry someone Jewish?
EB: It would be down to the person, but I’d like to raise my kids in a Jewish family. If they’re not Jewish, I would marry them anyway if I love them.
JN: What’s next in the pipeline for you?
I’m working on a few documentary ideas, which is exciting. That’s where I would like to go with things. I also have some more reality TV in the pipeline and I’ve been doing a whole load of charity work. I ran a half marathon last weekend for Cancer Research UK and also work closely with Wold Vision, as well as the RSPCA and Dogs Trust. I just want to do my bit on raising awareness on things that matter.
JN: Who will you spend Seder with?
EB: My family. We always get together with our extended relatives and do a big Seder night. We do a bit of both Sephardi and Ashkenazi – anything goes in our family!
Celebs on the Ranch begins Monday, April 1, 9pm on 5STAR