Meet Isabella Farnese, the glamorous jockey and former Big Brother star who says she’s ‘a bit of a lad’
WHEN Isabella Farnese turned up for Big Brother auditions she admitted she was ‘sweaty, shiny-faced and smelling like a horse’.
It’s hard to marry the worlds of TV celebrity and mucking out at 5am.
But for 27-year-old Isabella there’s nothing she loves more because horses and racing are her passion.
You can see her these days on Racing TV’s Raceday offshoot.
She travels to tracks up and down the country, interviewing punters and trainers as their horses, often worth in the millions, compete for top dollar.
If Isabella strikes you as a natural in front of camera – much like fellow rider Chantal Sutherland, who was named in the ‘world’s 100 most beautiful people’ – then don’t be surprised.
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A work rider previously for the likes of Sir Michael Stoute and Charlie Fellowes, she hit the big time when starring in the final series of Big Brother in 2018.
A year before she showed her acumen as a jockey when winning a race at Chelmsford.
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Described as a ‘horse-riding toff’ with a ‘dirty mouth’ before going into the house, Isabella insisted she was really a big softie with a love of all things equine.
She also said she gets on better with blokes and really felt she was ‘a lad deep down’.
Perhaps understandable when you consider racing remains a male-dominated sport.
This despite the brilliant exploits of Grand National winner Rachael Blackmore over jumps and Hollie Doyle on the flat.
Isabella was evicted from the house after 19 days – and immediately got back to her horses near her base in Great Yarmouth.
Mind you, that was arguably more gruelling than having a camera watch your every move.
Back came the 4.30am alarms, bitterly cold winter mornings riding out and going back to that unavoidable horse smell.
Speaking of her stint in the house, Isabella said: “In racing, people kept saying to me that I shouldn’t be doing it and should be doing other things.
“I wear make-up while I’m on the horses and I’m known as being a bit glam and fluffy even though I ride out.
“I was originally supposed to go in from the beginning but couldn’t.
“Then the producers called me on launch night saying they still wanted me, and I was given just 48 hours’ notice before going in.”
She didn’t win the reality series and winning more races might be taking a back seat with her new career on camera taking off.
But there’s only one thing that gives her true joy.
Isabella added: “No matter where life takes me though, I always see myself going back and having a few days on a racing yard every week.”
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