REALITY TV star Joey Essex admitted he didn’t vote in last week’s elections - because he “doesn’t know how to”.
Essex, dressed in a white hoodie and skinny black jeans, with fluorescent pink trainers and a black Chanel necklace, faced a 500-strong crowd of screaming fans today at a book signing at the White Rose shopping centre in Leeds.
His autobiography, Being Reem, sold out of WH Smith in the shopping centre by 11am and excitable teenage fans queued from 7.30am for the 23-year-old heartthrob to sign their copy.
Fan Rebecca Foster, 16, from Bramley, and friend Harley Rodgers, 17, from Armley, won a ‘meet and greet’ session with the celebrity.
Rebecca said: “I was so excited to win the White Rose competition, my friends are all really jealous!
“Joey was so lovely. I can’t wait to read his book and show of my pictures with him when I’m back at school.”
Essex, who appeared in ITV’s The Only Way Is Essex and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! grinned widely and posed for pictures with fans, many of whom sobbed as they came face-to-face with the star.
At one point, he had to ask staff at the centre for a plaster - as he’d got a paper cut on his little finger.
Asked how he voted in last week’s local and European elections, he looked confused, and laughed: “I didn’t vote. I don’t even know how to vote. I’ll have to learn for the next one.”
On Ukip, who won 21 new seats in his home county of Essex, he said: “Who? I don’t know anything about them.”
But keen to talk about his new book, he told how it was “everything about me - my life, my job, growing up in Essex, behind the scenes of Towie”.
Asked to explain his self-made vocabulary including “reem”, he said: “There’s a Joey Essex dictionary in the book so buy a copy and you can find it all out.”
He added: “I didn’t write the book myself. I got a ghost writer. I couldn’t do it myself - my handwriting’s awful.”
James Bailey, centre director at White Rose, said: “We knew the signing with Joey would be hugely popular and the queues of teenagers and adults certainly proved that!”
A huge crowd of teens who had waited all morning to see Joey let out piercing squeals when he finally emerged at around 12.30pm, before chanting his name in unison.
They strained to hold up their phones to capture a picture of the star.
At one point, the backdrop behind Joey wobbled and threatened to fall on top of him as breathless fans crowded around the metal gates - and stern security stepped in, moving along people who weren’t in the queue.
Joey Essex look-alike Eddy Macina, 16, of Leeds, queued from 7.30am to meet his idol.
He said: “Yeah, I do look a bit like him. It’s the eyes, and the eyebrows. It’s cool - he’s reem.”
While nursery worker Charlotte Taylor, 19, of Leeds, was first up to meet the star - screaming as she said: “I can’t wait to meet him.
“I’ve been here since half 7, I want a picture with him and for him to sign my shirt.
“All my friends will be so jealous.”