The I’m a Celeb stars have joined forces with Canadian Club and Empty Esky to travel to COVID and fire-affected regional towns in order uncover some of the best people, places, pubs and pies in the country.
As Lovett explains to The Latch, “When the bushfires happened and then COVID, it really devastated a lot of those regional areas, last year. Sometimes everyone really wants to help and give and give and that’s really good, but sometimes that’s not sustainable. So we’re getting out to each of those areas, and bringing boots on the ground.”
Adds Densten, “It’s giving a little, but you get a lot.”
The boys are certainly already getting a lot out of the experience, not only visiting some truly memorable places but learning new things about each other along the way.
“I grew up in the country so it’s been nice to take the city boy [Lovett] to the country and to the regional areas,” Densten says. “And he’s shown me that he can lead that regional life and that he’s got the chops to talk the talk and walk the walk with the people in the regional towns.”
For Lovett, seeing his mate of seven years in his natural habitat has been eye-opening, to say the least.
“It’s funny, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” he says. “You’ve got all the pieces and then they just all click together like, you know all the pieces individually. So watching him come back to the region that he grew up in, it’s really funny because he just kind of becomes teenage Adam he’s like: ‘this is where I used to party, and I did this down by this river’. He has a story for everything and it’s cool because we’ve known each other for seven years, so to see the locations from the stories that we’ve been talking about for that time, that’s been awesome.”
Although Densten’s family and friends in Corowa, NSW were fortunate enough to escape the devastation of the bushfires, simply knowing just how crucial regional travel is to small towns was enough to get him and his partner in crime keen to help however they could.
Visiting Indigo Food Co. in Wahgunyah VIC, the boys stocked up their esky with passionfruit butter, lemon curd, raspberry drops, nougat and more with Densten enthusing, “We went and absolutely pillaged this place. It was awesome. So shout out to Gabe at Indigo Food Co!”
Another highlight of the trip so far, aside from playing Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe on repeat, has been Parker Pies in Rutherglen, VIC — a family-run pie shop where the guys were able to meet Cody Parker, son of founder Fred.
“I can now confirm it is Australia’s greatest pie shop,” says Lovett, with Densten adding, “They’ve been in Rutherglen for 24 years, and if a pie shop in a country town last that long it’s gotta be doing something right and it turns out that Parker Pies is doing everything right.”
The two former physiotherapists are undeniably charming and humble, a point which is made even more apparent when asked the biggest lesson they learned from their ten seasons on Gogglebox Australia.
“Be nice to people,” says Symon. “That would be my number one thing because we were on there [Gogglebox] for a long time so we said a lot of things about a lot of shows. And we always find that the people that we’ve said good things about will always come up and say ‘thank you’.”
Densten elaborates with, “The second one is definitely to understand the massive organism that is a show and how small a part we play in it and that there are so many people who contribute to everything that you do in life. So as long as you appreciate everybody and the work that they’re putting in, it certainly helps to make everything smooth, and it helps make a good product as well.”
For viewers who felt that Densten and Lovett’s entry into the” jungle” on I’m a Celeb was anything but smooth or nice, Lovett assures us that it was not as awkward as it may have seemed.
“It just was all a bit overwhelming for some people,” he says. “And I think once that kind of hard-edge came off, I think everyone really softened so those reactions I think, sometimes can be overblown.”
“And then definitely as the season progressed, we became closer and closer with everyone,” Densten adds. “We particularly became really close with Travis and Colin. And so, we ended up spending a lot of time with them and there’s a whole heap of friendships from the group that was in there that we will take into the future. Definitely.”
As for how viewers of I’m a Celeb have responded to the pair’s time in the “jungle”, Lovett says they feel very grateful for the response.
“People are just incredibly lovely and supportive. I think it comes from Gogglebox being quite a true reflection of what people are like inside their homes. I mean, we’re just everyday people. So I think we’re very lucky that people see us as members of their family or friends.”
When asked what words of encouragement they have for fellow Aussies to inspire them to travel regionally and support fire and COVID affected businesses in small towns, Lovett offers this call to action:
“My words of wisdom are: travelling with purpose is actually a selfish pursuit. Because you go to a regional town, you support a community, and then you feel really good about yourself. So it’s just like, go out there and just make yourself feel really good by helping other people. Easy.”
You can find out more about Empty Esky by clicking here.