Celebs Go Dating star Kimberly Hart-Simpson says 'I'm pansexual and date men and women, their sex doesn't matter to me'
17th March 2021

SWITCHING her dating profile to “interested in women” after one too many drinks at university was a regular occurrence for Kimberly Hart-Simpson.

The next morning, however, the Celebs Go Dating star would change it back in a panic, praying that no one had noticed.

Actress Kimberly, 33, says: “I had always been attracted to women and men, I had always known that it was in me.

“But when I was at university, I used to get a bit drunk and change my sexual preferences on Tinder late at night.

“But then I’d wake up the next morning and get this fear. I was struggling to come to terms with it because we weren’t in the same position now as we were back in 2012.

“Now we have the LGBTQ+ community, but it wasn’t like that when I was growing up.

“To be gay was to be different and that was hard to get your head around.

“Back then you would have all these thoughts such as, ‘Can I have a family?’

'NO LIMITATIONS'

“If I’d known then what I know now, I would never have feared a single thing.”

The former Coronation Street actress, who played escort Nicky Wheatley in the ITV soap, found love with fashion model Shane Finlayson, 32, in the most recent series of Celebs Go Dating.

When she signed up, she made it clear to producers that she was open to dating women as well as men, after publicly coming out as bi on radio several years ago.

During the series, however, Kimberly realised she was pansexual rather than bisexual — which means there are no limitations in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.

Kimberly, who is originally from Rhyl in North Wales, but has moved to Oldham, says: “We had this discussion on the show about being pansexual, because there are new terminologies that are constantly evolving.

“I wasn’t sure what being pansexual meant, until one of my dates told me about it, and I realised that could be me because I don’t really care about people’s gender.

“It’s about the person to me, not what sex they were born.”

Despite coming to terms with her sexuality in 2008 while at drama school, when she began dating women as well as men, Kimberly has since struggled to find love.

She says: “I am 33 and have never been in a relationship for longer than ten months. You question why you have never hit that year mark and think, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ I couldn’t get to grips with why it wasn’t working.

“Obviously with the lockdown, it made it more tricky because you couldn’t meet people anyway. And, oh my God, I was smashing all of the online dating apps.

“Sometimes I would match with the same person on every single app just because there was nothing else to do.”

As for first dates, Kimberly has no set rules — although someone blowing their nose in front of her is a guaranteed turn-off.

'NO THREE-DATE RULE'

She says: “Don’t do it, it’s disgusting!

“But otherwise, everything else is down to whatever you want to do.

“I don’t like putting limitations on how far I want to go with someone. If you want to sleep with them, then sleep with them. If you just want to kiss them, then do that. I am sick to death of people going, ‘It’s a three-date rule’.

“No, it’s not, it’s a ‘do what you want’ rule, because it’s your life.

“I do really want to stop this absolutely absurd behaviour of putting limitations on that.”

Refreshingly frank, Kimberly’s honesty made her a target for trolls when she opened up about her sexuality on Celebs Go Dating.

She says: “I talk about my sexuality very openly, I say it like it’s a shopping list. All my family know — I think they just expected it from me. When you are in the arts, it isn’t as much of a shock-horror to them.

“It’s the trolls who seem to have a problem with it, even though it has nothing to do with them.

“People have talked about me being pansexual and asked if it means I am into pans — which is ridiculous. Others have claimed it’s just a publicity stunt. But I never let it get to me, because I know it’s the truth.

“On the other hand, I get people messaging saying that I’ve helped them to understand what this means, and somebody else said I am really brave to be so open. For every negative, there is always going to be a positive.”

The trolls have also targeted Kimberly for her quirky fashion sense and love of second-hand clothes, bold colours and lots of sparkles.

She says: “It’s crazy but I have had so many people call me disgusting just because of my choice of clothing. For the majority of my life, I have been shopping at charity shops.

“I grew up in a low-income household and to fit in during school you needed brands like Helly Hansen and Lacoste. But my mum couldn’t afford those and so I started to style my clothes in different ways.

'I DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE'

“I know that when I am dressing in some of the outfits that I put myself in, I am opening myself up to people’s opinion.

“But I don’t want to be like everyone else.

“All my secondhand clothes are bought from British Heart Foundation shops, for £3 or £4.

“I even picked up a Gucci bag for £4 — I don’t know if it is real or not but I don’t care.

“Trolls are always commenting negatively. I know my style isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it doesn’t bother me.

“My style is my own and it is how I express myself that makes me happy.”

In 2018, Kimberly launched her own sustainability clothing brand called Hart-Work, reworking pre-loved and vintage materials by hand.

She says: “I was at a stage of not getting much work and everything was stagnating. I really wanted to release some creativity.

“So I decided to get a sewing machine, and taught myself how to sew on YouTube. I started making things and realised I had the patience to do it.

“I made Hollyoaks actress Jessica Ellis’s Soap Awards dress, then I was approached by Asos to be a new boutique brand. What started as an escape has ended up a complete passion.”

So much so, says Kimberly, it even helped her land that coveted role on Corrie.

She says: “You have to brand yourself — it is not just about acting nowadays, it’s about being the whole package. So Hart-Work really grabbed their attention, they liked why I was doing it and how the brand reflects the type of person I am.

“I like the idea of clothes that have a history. My inspiration is just, basically, a car boot sale.

“I am just sick of seeing the same stuff being influenced constantly and I think anyone in the same position of being followed should definitely have something important to say.”

As well as continuing to build her brand, Kimberly is looking forward to the future with Shane.

he says: “We are still very much getting to know each other and enjoying that process.

“We have lived together in Manchester since the show as we didn’t have much choice.

'COMPLETELY HONEST'

“It’s not a permanent moving-in together but a choosing to stay in the same household while we are in lockdown, to give the re­lationship a proper chance.

“When the world reopens, we will be living in different cities so now is a good time to really learn about each other.

“In terms of the future, we really want to do normal things — go for a meal together, go out and dance, have a holiday . . . all the things couples usually get to do but we have had to skip due to the pandemic.

“Shane is totally accepting of my sexuality, we are completely honest and real with each other.

“I am always true to myself, and I really have pride in that. If you are going to be in the limelight, it is important you show everyone the real you.

“If I can help one person in coming to terms with their sexuality, then that’s all the matters.”

  • KIMBERLY is a fashion designer as well as an actor, launching her label Hart-Work in 2018. She reworks vintage and pre-loved clothes, like the latex dress and the blue bikini top and was approached by Asos to create a boutique brand.

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