A star of controversial reality show The Valleys insists its young cast are not being pressured to behave outrageously by TV bosses, saying: “They are being themselves!”
The MTV show – now into its second series – has been criticised for encouraging impressionable youngsters to behave as badly as possible for the cameras.
This has included drinking urine, getting legless and flashing their breasts and knickers in nightclubs.
But AK – a “boss” on the MTV show that is loved and hated in equal measure – says the 10 youngsters are not following any script.
Single mum AK, whose real name is Anna Kelle, also revealed:
* How she is regularly abused by strangers on Twitter.
* How fellow cast members have had drinks thrown at them in clubs.
* How she thought hard about taking the role because of her young son.
* And how she has become an ‘agony aunt’ for single mums.
But the model, photographer and former Navy engineer stayed tight-lipped on whether her relationship with football star Ashley Cole is still blossoming, insisting: “I’m not going to talk about my love life.”
In February, it emerged she had been dating the Chelsea and England star and she later revealed they slept together in a hotel after a night out in London.
The second series’ third episode is on Tuesday.
The show is based on the premise that contestants are “plucked from the tranquility of Valleys life” and offered the chance to find their dream job in Cardiff.
When the show was first aired, fears were raised it would portray Wales in a bad light.
Twitter groups and petitions have since been set up opposing the show, while actors, authors and MPs have condemned it.
AK, whose role is to help the cast pursue their chosen careers, admitted the series had “split the nation” but said no one was pushing the cast to be anything they’re not.
“I’m not involved in the nights out and I’m seeing it at the same time as everyone else sitting at home going ‘Oh my God’ with my jaw dropped,” said AK, 33.
“These Valleys kids are pretty nuts, as crazy as a bag of frogs. But they are being themselves. Everyone thinks it’s completely scripted but it isn’t at all.
“They are not told to get extremely drunk and get naked. That’s how they are.”
The first episode of series two saw twins Jason and Anthony Suminski, from Pontypridd, introduced.
During the episode, one twin urinated into a drink carton and the other took a swig, a stunt which has seen them dubbed “the rudest reality TV stars ever”.
And AK admits her friends and family have mixed opinions on her involvement.
“I don’t think [my family] will be watching it again with me,” she said.
“It has really split the nation, I can’t deny that. Some friends love it, some are like ‘Really?’
“But it would be boring to live in a world where we were all the same.”
AK, who runs her own photography business SimplyPout and is raising her four-year-old son, said she takes her role seriously.
“People think I’m on the show for a laugh but I’m there to help them,” she said.
“In the next episode I lose my temper. Normally I do not swear and I’m very chilled out and laid back.
“But I do because they are not taking the job seriously and I do not have time for that.
“They’ve been picked to be in the show because they have a dream. They have brought me in to help with that and I’ve given up my time and time with my business to do it. If they don’t want that I don’t want them.”
She admitted she has a “real soft spot” for Port Talbot girl Lateysha Grace – who claims to be the Beyonce of the Valleys – and “good guy” Liam, who has hit the gym since series one and transformed his body.
But she admitted she had worried about the show damaging their future career prospects.
“Of course I do. I worry there are jobs they will never be able to do. If one of them wants to become a teacher or police officer that isn’t going to happen,” she said.
“I’m a mum so my maternal instinct kicks in. But they know what they are doing and a lot of them will have careers ahead of them.
“I was hesitant [at being on the show] at first because of my son. But I’m not getting naked or drunk. I’m proud of my role. I’m there to teach these kids how to get that step closer to their dream job.”
While The Valleys has been criticised by the likes of Merthyr actor Jonny Owen and Rhondda author Rachel Trezise, AK revealed it has also got personal – and nasty.
“I get insults on Twitter on a daily basis,” she said.
“I would never dream of tweeting a random person to call them fat or ugly. What’s wrong with people? It’s wrong, it’s bullying.
“A couple of the cast have had drinks thrown over them on nights out, which is wrong.
“If you don’t like them, fine, but don’t go up to them and abuse them.
“But I also get a lot of single mums asking how I juggle my work, the show and being a mum and they say they are inspired by that.
“I’m also getting a lot of people emailing me with body questions. I get a lot of tweets, some really personal stuff, which I want to help with.”