The reality show The Only Way Is Essex, also known as TOWIE, is essentially the British version of American reality shows such as The Hills and Jersey Shore. It’s described as portraying “real people in modified situations, saying unscripted lines but in a structured way.” In other words, it includes moments that are scripted and not necessarily spontaneous (like a lot of reality TV shows). TOWIE launched in 2010 and is currently in its 20th season or “series” as the British call it. There have been numerous cast members over the years. Check out some of the most popular ones…
The beautiful Kate Wright is known for her blonde locks and big assets. The 26-year-old joined TOWIE in 2015 during its 16th season. Before joining the show she worked at a bank.
She has nearly 650,000 followers on her Instagram account, in which she posts many photos of herself, including one in June 2017 in which she was wearing Calvin Klein underwear and extolling the virtues of Rose Gold Goddess Oil while posing in front of a shower. Her younger brother Mike Hassini is also on the show. She is not related to her fellow cast members Jess Wright or Mark Wright.
TV personality, glamor model, and entrepreneur Chloe Sims first appeared in TOWIE on season two as a supporting cast member. She later became a full-time cast member and is the cousin of two former cast mates, Joey Essex, and Frankie Essex.
During the series, she became very close with co-star Lauren Pope, but the two best friends later severed their relationships. From seasons 13 to 15 Chloe dated Elliott Wright. She has since admitted that she was bullied as a child and was called terrible things such as “loser” and “stick insect.” The TV star has a daughter named Madison.
James “Arg” Argent
James Argent has been a cast member on TOWIE since its first season in 2010. His girlfriend Lydia Bright appeared alongside James in season two. He is best friends with fellow cast member Mark Wright and has a love of theater.
He won the Kenny Award at the Kenneth More Theater in Ilford, East London, in 2002. He opened his own theater at the studios in Essex on TOWIE Live in 2012. He was suspended from TOWIE in 2014 after failing a drug test. He went to rehab and returned to the show in 2015. He has also appeared in other television programs, such as Sugar-Free Farm and The Jump.
Jessica “Jess” Wright
Model, singer, entrepreneur and reality star Jessica “Jess” Wright has appeared on TOWIE since its inception in 2010. She graduated from Westminster University in London with a degree in business and marketing management. Her final dissertation concentrated on celebrity endorsements. Before landing her gig on TOWIE, she auditioned to be a member of several girl bands.
On the show, storylines concentrated on her feuds with fellow star Lauren Goodger as well as her relationship with Ricky Rayment. She left the show after 16 seasons. She has released three music singles and has modeled swimwear for UK based lingerie chain Ambrosia.
Lauren Pope has a lot of adjectives to her name: TV personality, actress, model, DJ, music producer, and entrepreneur. She starred on TOWIE from season one through 16 and was one of only three original cast members still on it in 2015 along with James “Arg” Argent and Jess Wright.
She quit to work on other business projects. Her work as a model in The Sun made her very popular. She has also been linked to Prince Harry. She has been dubbed “The World’s Sexiest DJ” by Nuts magazine. She has also mixed two albums, The Only Way Is Marbs – Marbella Sessions and The Only Way Is Essex – Dance Anthems.
TV and radio presenter and model Mark Wright appeared on the first three seasons of TOWIE. He subsequently appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! where he came in second place, and Strictly Come Dancing, where he finished in fourth place. He hosted Take Me Out: The Gossip and Dengineers and “Club Classics” every Friday and Saturday night on the Heart radio network.
Wright was a semi-professional soccer player before being cast on TOWIE. He dated his TOWIE co-star Lauren Goodger from 2001 until 2012 but split after claims he cheated on her. He married former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan in 2015.
TV personality, model, beautician, media personality, and columnist Lauren Goodger joined TOWIE in 2010 and left after the sixth season. The first two seasons of the series revolved largely around her relationship with boyfriend Mark Wright.
She broke up with him in the season two finale and pushed him into a swimming pool. The pair had met when she was 15 years old. Their relationship lasted for 11 years. She has also appeared on the reality TV shows Dancing On Ice and Celebrity Big Brother in which she was linked to Geordie Shore star Ricci Guarnaccio.
TV personality and model Sam Faiers joined TOWIE in the first season and stayed for a total of 11. Her storyline centered on her relationship with Mark Wright, who was simultaneously dating Lauren Goodger. Her sister Billie joined the cast in the second season. She also dated and got engaged to fellow cast member Joey Essex, but the pair called off their engagement in season nine.
Sam left the show for several reasons, including being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a lack of storylines, and to work on her relationship with Joey. She later appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.
TV personality and presenter Ferne McCann joined TOWIE in the ninth season in 2013. She left the show during its 17th season in 2016. In 2015, she appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and finished in third place.
She earned a regular showbiz reporter gig on the daytime TV series This Morning in 2016. That same year she landed the role of Myrtle Wilson in the Union Theatre’s production of The Great Gatsby. She has appeared regularly on Up Late with Rylan and Celebs Go Dating with her TOWIE co-star Joey Essex and I’m a Celebrity cast member Jorgie Porter.
Reality TV star Mario Falcone joined TOWIE during its third season in 2011. He remained until the 15th season but was suspended after he promoted slimming pills via social media. Falcone is half-Italian. His sister is author Giovanna Fletcher, who married McFly’s Tom Fletcher.
Falcone was engaged to Lucy Mecklenburgh, but they broke up in 2012. In 2013, he joined Celebrity Big Brother during its 12th season. He became the third cast member from TOWIE to compete in the series, following Amy Childs in 2011 and Kirk Norcross in 2012. Also in 2013, he launched his own online dating website – matingwithmario.com.
Fans first became aware of Megan McKenna after she lasted through to the semi-finals of the third season of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. She was a member of the music duo Harmony. Megan didn’t make her first appearance on TOWIE until 2016. She launched her reality TV career by appearing on the MTV series Ex On The Beach in 2015.
The following year she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and was cautioned for acting aggressively and threatening her fellow housemates. Perhaps getting tired of appearing on reality shows, she launched her own restaurant “MCK Grill” in Woodford Green in May 2017.
Joey Essex joined TOWIE in season two and appeared alongside several friends and family members. He and his sister Frankie left the show in 2013, but his cousin Chloe Sims stayed on. He has made guest appearances on several shows, including Celebrity Juice, Loose Women, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Daybreak, The Xtra Factor, This Morning, Celebs Go Dating, and Through the Keyhole.
Like many of his TOWIE co-stars, he also appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! where he was linked to Miss Universe Great Britain, Amy Willerton, but he denied they had a relationship.
Model, actress, and entrepreneur Lucy Mecklenburgh joined TOWIE in the first season in 2010. She started out dating Mark Wright and remained on the program for three years. She segued her reality TV appearance by launching a clothing line for Pretty Little Thing and designing a collection for Ellesse sportswear.
She also opened Lucy’s Boutique and launched the online fitness business Results With Lucy, which includes personal training and nutrition. She became a columnist for New! magazine in 2013. She is also a model and appeared in a campaign for Barry M. Penguin published her book Be Body Beautiful.
Kirk Norcross joined TOWIE in the first season but left following the third before returning for the seventh. He left again before the eighth season because he believed the series had changed too much. He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and is a promoter for Sugar Hut, a nightclub in Essex.
In 2011, he appeared on the cover of Attitude magazine. The following year he starred in an advertising campaign with pal Jodie Marsh. They started dating but split after two weeks because Jodie reportedly refused to sleep with Norcross. He has also released an autobiography, Essex Boy.
Lydia Bright appeared on the series as a supporting cast member on season one and has been featured on and off throughout the series’ run. She is known for her on-again, off-again relationship with James “Arg” Argent, which lasted for over 10 years. They split for good in 2016.
“When we were younger we used to break up and get back together again a lot, but as you get older you harden and you don’t know what you want from life,” she told OK! magazine. She says she won’t reconcile with him. Lydia owns a clothing shop, Bella Sorella, in Brentwood, Essex.
Billie Faiers joined TOWIE in season one in 2010, and her sister is model Sam Faiers. She is the director at the fashion company Minnies Boutique and has built up a respectable following on social media. She has with more than 1.3 million Twitter followers and over 1.4 million Instagram followers.
She got engaged to Greg Shepherd in 2014, and they have two children, Arthur and Nelly. The couple is finally planning to tie the know following a three-year engagement. She told the Daily Mail in March 2017, “It will be worth the wait to have both our children there with us on the day.”
Lewis Bloor joined TOWIE in 2013 and left the show in 2016. That same year he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother. On TOWIE, he made headlines by kissing co-stars Chloe Lewis and Kate Wright. During a 2014 episode, he had a huge fight with then-girlfriend Lauren Pope.
He made some comments about their age difference, shocking viewers, which cemented his reputation as a bit of a hothead. He is a serial cheater who is known for screwing up relationships because of his infidelities. He is also a fitness guru who created an app called Lewis Bloor 6 Minute Belly Blast.
Elliott Wright joined TOWIE in 2013 but left the series in 2015 to work on expanding his restaurant empire. His cousins are Mark and Jessica Wright, who also appeared on the program. Most of his story lines involved his romantic entanglements. He dated Chloe Sims while on the show and has two children from a previous relationship. He is currently engaged to reality star Sadie Stuart.
In June 2017 he appeared in a Full Monty tribute show alongside McFly singer Harry Judd, dancer Wayne Sleep, Emmerdale’s David Metcalfe, and actor Matthew Wolfenden. He and his fiancee will star in a reality show centering on their wedding.
Actress, singer and TV personality Jasmin Walia spent eight seasons on TOWIE before leaving in May 2015. She has also appeared in the TV show Desi Rascals and Dinner Date as well as Aladdin. As a singer, she dropped the songs Temple and Girl Like Me.
She also collaborated with Zack Knight on a song called “Dum Dee Dum.”She dated fellow reality TV star Ross Worswick, but they split up after two years. One of the reasons she left TOWIE was because producers wouldn’t allow her then Ex On The Beach boyfriend Ross to join her on the series.
TV personality Tom Kilbey appeared on TOWIE from season four to seven, but he left the show to work on other projects. His sister Cara also appeared on the show. Tom grew up in East London and was a professional footballer for Portsmouth F.C. He is now in Los Angeles, Calif., working on a clothing line that features items such as satin bomber jackets, army-print jackets, skinny jeans, and baseball hats.
He has rubbed shoulders with many Hollywood stars. He dated TOWIE co-star Lydia Bright, but the split in 2013 because he claimed to have a very busy work schedule and due to their “silly bickering.”