Emily Atack has said she wishes she knew her own self-worth when she was in her early 20s, as she criticised the pressure on young people to be in relationships.
The TV star, 29, who will host new ITV2 dating show Singletown alongside Joel Dommett, said she felt huge amounts of empathy for the show’s young contestants.
She told the PA news agency: “I wish I had known my own self-worth and how f****** great I was, because I know now.
“I do and I am in a happy relationship now, but if it wasn’t to work out I would be OK.
“Yes it would be sad but I know that I have grown to like who I am as a person.
“I am the most complicated and flawed person ever but I have now met someone who can accept all those so now I know that love is out there.
“As long as you know it’s out there then it doesn’t mean you need it instantly, you don’t have to rely on it. It’s so cliche but you have got to find that with yourself first.
“There is so much pressure on people to be in a relationship, especially young people. It’s like ‘my boyfriend, my girlfriend’.
“If I was younger I wish I could have told myself that being single was OK because I was always in relationships, I went from relationship to relationship to relationship because I was so frightened of being on my own.
“I wish I had found that strength to be on my own earlier and just know my worth and know that I am a strong and very capable person.”
Discussing how dating has changed since she first started, Atack said: “There are so many options with all the dating apps. I’m so glad they weren’t really a thing when I was that age.”
However, Dommett, who got engaged to model Hannah Cooper after meeting her through Instagram, said: “I am glad that I did experience them to know that.
“If I was in a relationship now and had been in one for long enough where dating apps have become a thing since, I think I would be itching to be, like, ‘Oh, what would life be like if I was on dating apps?’
“But I’ve done it and I know it’s horrific so I’m glad I experienced it.”
Atack added that the rise of dating apps and social media means there is increased pressure on young people to look a certain way.
She said: “Everyone is on show now, everyone is more media savvy, if you’re not in the public eye you’re still on social media so you’re essentially on show, it’s all about photographs.
“It’s all about having perfect contour make-up because everybody is going to see a photo of you because you put them everywhere.
“People just care more what they look like and it’s just gone a little bit mad.
“It makes me laugh the way young people speak about people, they go, ‘He came in and he was my type on paper, he had the big arms’, and I go, ‘Whoa, whoa, was that it?’
“I honestly would never have a tick list, everyone has a tick list now and too many standards.
“I’ve never been a box ticker, ever. I’ve been out with crap people that have been shits to me but they have been stunning looking, or hilarious people that aren’t technically that good looking but I’ve absolutely adored them because they are so f****** funny, I don’t care.”
Singletown, which follows five couples who put their relationships on pause to explore single life in London, begins on ITV2 at 9pm on September 2.