Kimberly Hart-Simpson Is One TV Personality Proud To Shop At Charity Shops

'I get a lot of parents message me saying "I get my kids to follow you", because they want their kids to know that person is on the telly - and she buys her clothes from charity shops,' she tells Grazia.

Kimberly Hart-Simpson

by Bonnie McLaren |

Scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have the latest designer micro-bag, or that you don’t have enough outfits in your wardrobe (even if you most definitely do). With everyone from Love Islanders to people you know in real life hesitant to wear outfits twice on the grid, the Guardian found in 2019 that one in three young women consider garments worn once or twice to be old. It's fuelling a huge problem of waste and over-consumption.

But one Instagram account where you’re not going to find endless (new) designer outfits is Kimberly Hart-Simpson’s. The Coronation Street actress' following has grown massively since she appeared on Celebs Go Dating: The Mansion, but in stark contrast to most of her reality show colleagues, Kimberly buys most of her clothes from charity shops. And she's quite happy to tell you that.

In fact, while she was on TV, many of the clothes she packed were from the British Heart Foundation, a charity she now works with. It doesn’t stop there - in her spare time, when she’s not acting or doing TV work - she also runs a business where she upcycles clothes called HartWork. She even made a dress for her best mate Jessica Ellis - who was in Hollyoaks {:rel=nofollow}at the time - for the Soap Awards in 2018, which had an LGBT+ flag stitched into it (Kimberly says their goal was to get on to all the worst dressed lists, something which they happily achieved).

The actress tells Grazia she's talks about charity shops a lot as she's proud to be a ‘thrifty’ buyer after growing up in a low-income household, and she says she would have never dreamed of asking her mum, a single parent, for the latest branded items - even if she really wanted to fit in at school. Still, years later, she doesn't want to splash out on designer items, even though she's in the public eye.

‘I often speak to my friends that come from a different class. I’m working class, and they might be middle or upper class,’ she adds. ‘And our concepts of the basic stuff sometimes differ, just because I am so money conscious, and at the minute they might think, “Oh, what she's doing? Well, she doesn't need to be.” And it's like: yes, I do, because I don't know when I'm next going to get paid.’

One of the things Kimberly feels strongly about are the masses of Instagram giveaways, where influencers with millions of followers will raffle off thousands of pounds worth of designer items in a bid to increase their following even more. She believes it does no good for the mental health of young people who can’t afford one fancy handbag, let alone five. ‘This isn't about me picking people out and saying “you're this or that if you've done that” you're absolutely not, I understand people have to make money from Instagram,’ she says. ‘But I'm trying to offer an alternative for parents to encourage their kids who else to follow. I get a lot of parents message me saying I get my kids to follow you, because they want their kids to know that person is on the telly - and she buys her clothes from charity shops.’

Sometimes, this means the influencer declines collaborations. ‘Brands approach me a lot, and I’m happy to turn things down if it doesn't sit right within me,’ she says. ‘Sometimes I get this gut feeling of something’s not right here, or I'm selling myself a bit down the river.' Kimberly adds, 'We have to then take ownership of the impact we're having on people that are following us, especially if you're selling a world to people that isn't easily accessible for normal, everyday people.'

Kimberly feels so passionately about Instagram, fashion and its impact on mental health that a documentary on the subject could be coming to TV soon. And after her stint on CGD - where she met and dated Shane Finlayson for six months afterwards - the actress is also set to appear in more acting roles. ‘It certainly seems weird to have all this started from a dating show, because ultimately, you go in there for love,’ she says. ‘Obviously, everybody knows that me and Shane aren't together anymore. We only split last week. But remembering the time in The Mansion is such a positive experience.’

READ MORE: How To Date In 2021, According To The Celebs Go Dating Experts

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