Now, of course, I can see I was setting myself up for a spectacular fall by casting myself as a brash loudmouth. I had been sucked in by the psychological games played by the production team. But that night, just after arriving back at our house, my mobile rang and they asked me to turn straight back to Newcastle.

Then came the news I had been waiting for: "You have been picked to be a Big Brother housemate." My stomach flipped and I stifled a scream, especially as she then warned me I was forbidden from telling anyone.

"Start thinking of excuses to tell your friends," I was told.

As far as I was concerned, it was a guaranteed ticket to fame and a fabulous life.

I've always admired the past winners of these programmes - they've been ordinary people like me who just had the good fortune of getting a lucky break - just think of Girls Aloud, Pop Idol winner Will Young or former Big Brother winner Kate Lawler. My entire family went with me to the first round of auditions in Newcastle.

"Say you're going on holiday at the start of May." I couldn't believe it. Over the next few days I started packing, planning each outfit.

I could kick myself now, but my head was in the clouds.

When anyone else tried to speak, I deliberately drowned them out.

I'd convinced myself this was my ticket to fame and I wasn't going to let anyone stand in my way.

For me, it was like being crushed, and I struggled to keep a smile on my face.

Presenter Davina Mc Call hugged me as I joined her on the stage, whispering: "Don't worry, it's all a pantomime." But it felt very real to me.

My parents reluctantly agreed to drive me back the following morning, and so began another round of mind games.