Jesse McClure Interview
During the season covering Truckfest events I have been fortunate to meet Jesse McClure, an American reality TV personality who rose to fame on the American show Storage Hunters. Known for his trademark sideburns and dark sunglasses and sometimes referred to as the bad boy of antiques Jesse would often be seen playing dirty and winding up his opposition. His family have an antique mall back in Canyon County California so from an early age Jesse became fascinated with the resale trade and began to build his vast knowledge of antiques and collectables. Now in the UK Jesse has been on meet and greet tours and made appearances on Storage Hunters UK. Last year (2016) saw him attend comic cons, begin his relationship with Truckfest and film his own TV show for Quest, British Treasure, American Gold.
Since being in the UK Jesse has forged links with his favourite football clubs, Accrington Stanley FC and Stoke City, which has seen him appear on Sky Sports Soccer AM. Another of his sporting interests is following Sheffield Steeldogs Ice-hockey team and as a caffeine lover he has also launched his own brand of coffee.
Sideburns Bold is a fairtrade organic blend produced by Black Circle Coffee Company and available either on-line or from UK Selfridges shops. During this season Jesse has entertained thousands at all the Truckfest events hosting in the main arena along with Ice Road Truckers Todd Dewey and Lisa Kelley and meeting fans. During this time Jesse has also been involved with the world famous Terry Grant stunt shows hosting and taking part, forming an entertaining partnership with Terry at Truckfest events.
During the season I had the chance to talk with Jesse, being somewhat of a collector myself and always finding time for antique fairs and car-boots I have found Jesse to be very friendly, knowledgeable and someone I could easily have a chat and a drink with. Unknown to me and everyone outside his family, during the season Jesse had been fighting a battle behind the scenes and at the start of November Jesse made a shocking statement.
On October 31st Jesse posted that he had shaven off his trademark sideburns and facial hair, something that it fair to say surprised everyone. The next day on November 1st came a follow-up statement explaining the reasons, Jesse had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and had now shaved off his trademark facial hair for Movember, to promote the Movember Foundation and promote the importance to men to get themselves checked.
I next caught up with Jesse and partner Nicole at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at the NEC where our conversation started very differently. I am pleased to say that despite looking very different without his sideburns Jesse was in good spirit and very positive and was able to tell me his story;
"I got a call at 3am while in Blackpool, it was not the most glamorous way of being told you have testicular cancer. I had been enjoying filming my own new show, British Treasure American Gold, filming and exploring the most interesting places and treasures of what the UK had to offer. It was fun, new and I was loving it, or at least trying to.
"Behind the scenes something just wasn't right. Now I've been in TV for quite a while now, and, although I am from 'Hollywood' per se I would say I am the very embodiment of everything that is the exact opposite of everything your stereotypical reality 'star' stands for. I am a middle class, manly, patriotic dude who just wants to work hard and have some fun in the process. I like to present the little guy. I shop at Primark and Sports Direct and Accrington Stanley is my favourite football club.
"On weekends you will find me at a local pub or hunting treasures in a charity shop. I identify with the underdog and when I do charity work it is to help others. Little did I know that I would be needing that help myself. Compared to your typical Brit I'm a bit of an attention seeker, no doubt about that. When I got the news that I had Testicular Cancer I suddenly became very quiet, instead of a loudmouth American looking to entertain I bottled everything up.
"In my mind the last thing I wanted was for people to show me sympathy, to feel sorry for me. Why? Because I am some 'too tough for feelings' kind of a guy? Because I felt less of a man by seeking help from others ? Isn't that what friends and family are for ? I still don't have the answer to this. To be honest, I think I was just scared. If it's one thing I have learnt from the British it's to get on with it, I had to finish filming my show. Luckily, production wrapped up just as I was made to go home and get treatment. A lot goes through your mind when you're on an eleven hour flight home for treatment, knowing you're going to have part of your manhood removed and unsure of the outcome.
"I would like to say that the best thing about me is my awesome facial hair, but it's not, it's my family. My partner Nicole, all five-foot-nothing of this fiery Essex beauty is what has kept me going through all this. With her amazing work ethic and undying love, she has kept me in the gym to be in the best physical shape I could be, while also loving my new and old imperfections like no other.
"When you go through trials and tribulations you need to have people you care about on your side. I have had major ups and downs through this whole process, and to have her by my side is what has kept me going. Especially with the downs, I have quickly learnt you don't mess with girls from Essex! It is not in my nature to tell everyone about things like this, publicly or privately, not one to bicker, complain or talk negatively . I like to see the beauty and gift of life, but sometimes life isn't always happy and wonderful. When I was going through my darkest times I tried doing it alone. The message I want to send is don't do what I did, find those people and ask for help."
The Shave Off
This brings us to now and why Jesse has shaved off his trademark sideburns and facial hair, he explains; "The only thing that motivated me to get checked early, and saved me from late stage cancer, was all my dumb friends growing awful moustaches for what I believed to be part of a short lived fad. Little did I know that terrible facial hair would be a big part of saving my life. So, from this moment on I will be partnering with Movember UK to bring awareness to all Men's health, hence the shave and re-growing of my facial hair. Movember is a great organisation that can honestly help you if you are going through any troubling times, but, if that isn't you style please contact me personally on Twitter or e-mail, I'm here for you dudes and together we can kick cancer."
Having seen this news previous to my visit, I had decided that to support Jesse I would also do the Movember thing and for the first time in my life grow a moustache and beard. Fairly certain that I am not carrying off the look as well as Jesse though. Our contestation moved on from there to what Jesse has been up to and why he is at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. As you would expect he is keeping busy going to auctions and searching out good finds. The most recent acquisition being a bulk load of old foreign coins. I was thinking as in maybe a box full but Jesse said they take up a good part of their flat with Nicole adding that their evenings were currently spent sorting and cleaning the coins. A keen interest in classic cars attracts Jesse to the show but alongside promoting Movember he is also there to show his own pride and joy, Lilly. She is a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am in black and she has some special features added by Jesse, just to make her stand out.
Jesse explains: "I got her after someone imported her to the UK but on arrival there was some minor damage and the customer no longer wanted her, so I stepped in and bought her. Most Trans-Am's of this model are black and gold as made famous in the movie Smokey and the Bandit. I wanted something different, so on the bonnet she has a silver firebird while inside the seats are faux tiger skin fur."
Jesse appeared driving Lilly on stage for an interview in front of a large crowd on each day of the show making all the great noise associated with American muscle cars. Fitting in time to look around the show between interviews Jesse had also found some other cars that took his fancy;
The Ferrari stand has a great display to celebrate the marques 70th anniversary but despite the new cars being there its still the 308 that does it for me. We have also been over to see the bubble cars and a got to sit in one which was cool.
I have no doubt that, like me, when time allowed Jesse would also be taking a good look around the autojumble at the show to see what gems could be found. Following on from the show Jesse and Nicole are due to fly back to the States for Jesse's last course of treatment before returning back to the UK.
To donate please visit mosista.co/nicolebrooks
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