As Big Brother hits the news again following a five-year absence, Makosi Musambasi is a name you may recall from its illustrious past – although she looks unrecognisbale 18 years on from her TV debut.
The Zimbabwean model and socialite first hit screens during the sixth series of Channel 4’s incarnation of the reality show back in 2005, becoming the first African contestant in its history.
On the show she made it to third place losing out to Anthony Hutton, who she famously got frisky with in the hot tub.
At the time she was living in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire where she worked as a cardiac nurse after graduating from the University of Luton.
The life of Big Brother’s Makosi Musambasi has been somewhat of a roller-coaster since finding fame
The aforementioned hot tub scene famously – or perhaps infamously – resulted in Makosi demanding a pregnancy test – something she admitted years later was part of her game plan.
Now famous in her own right, less than two weeks after the series ended she was given 10 days to leave the country or appeal against the decision, which she appealed.
“I feel very betrayed,” she declared at the time. “I’ve entertained the nation for three months and then you come after me.
“Go into any hospital. The amount of cleaners that probably have the wrong immigration status, but because they are doing the dirtiest job that nobody wants to do, they will not make an example of that person.”
She fought the curtailment order and applied for asylum claiming it was unsafe for her to return to her home country and was subsequently granted the right to stay under refugee status.
Taking a break from her chosen career path, Makosi went on to present on MTV, before making a series of cameo appearances on productions such as 8 out 10 cats.
In 2010, meanwhile, she appeared on 4’s final Big Brother chapter – the all stars version dubbed Ultimate Big Brother.
Makosi then returned to her native Africa, launching her own talk show, Makosi Today before life took a complicated twist two years later as she was banned from the UK for travelling using a relative’s passport.
Then in 2017, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she said hit her confidence hard.
Speaking to OK! magazine, she later revealed: “So what happened is that I had breast cancer in 2017. And I had a mastectomy and chemotherapy.
“I lost my hair and I almost lost my identity. And when I was doing my radiation, I was looking for that thing to give me back my confidence again.
“Because at this point you’re looking in the mirror, you’re bald and you don’t know who this new person is. Where did the confidence go? Where did the courage go? Where did the lioness in me go?”
Fast forward to 2023, boasting 42,000 Instagram followers, the multi-talented star looks worlds away from her reality star past, working as certified life coach and speaker, and a regular on the golf course in her new home, Dubai.
Big Brother is expected to begin in October on ITV2.