Rylan Clark-Neal: 'I regret pretty much everything I wore on The X Factor'

As told to Leah Harper

I had quite a rough ride on The X Factor [as a contestant in 2012] and this was from week six. The theme was best of British and I said: “I want to do a Spice Girls megamix.” Instantly, I was told no, you’re not allowed, we won’t be able to clear the music. But I stuck to it and, lo and behold, they let me do it. I wanted to wear a Rylan version of the union jack dress Geri wore at the Brit awards in 1997. The blazer was completely customised with Swarovski crystals – it’s framed in my house now. That was probably the only week on X Factor that I didn’t care about the comments or the backlash, I just went out there and enjoyed myself.

I regret pretty much everything else I wore on that show.

This was one of my “milder” outfits – at points, there was a lot more skin out. I was wardrobe’s absolute dream – they could put me in whatever they wanted. I hurt myself wearing some of those outfits. And people still had the audacity to judge me, doing a dance routine and trying to sing while in pain – whereas others could just stand there in a nice dress and not move. It serves as a reminder that I will never, ever be in a situation again when someone tells me what I’m wearing.

My job, back then, was to dress to stand out – to be the one that everyone talked about, whether it was good or bad. I got wise to that quite early on and I thought: “Fine, we’ll roll with it because I’m only going to get one chance to do this.” Now, I can dress exactly how I want – I’m fully in control of that.

When you’re in the public eye I think you should be honest about what [cosmetic work] you’ve had done. I’ll never be happy with the way that I look but if I’m in a position to change it, why shouldn’t I? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, as long as you’re doing it safely – not all this “backstreet Botox”. But stop lying and saying: “Oh, it’s just my moisturiser”. Bollocks! We all know you’ve had two facelifts.

You Are What You Wear is on BBC One in June