WHEN the groundbreaking teen drama Skins first premiered, an instant fan favorite was Maxxie – an openly and proud gay dancer with a talent for regularly stealing breath. programme.
However, stay away from the camera, actor Mitch Hewer has faced a wave of vile homosexual abuse, with one man in a nightclub even threatening to stab him and swing a knife.
The traumatic incident left him feeling unable to get out in his hometown of Bristol, but that’s not his only problem after leaving the show.
Thankfully, after trading LA for a seaside town in Wales, he found love and credited the birth of his young daughter Aria, helping him ease his mental health troubles.
Now, 15 years since the controversial drama Channel 4 aired, Mitch told The Sun about being cast for the series, his character’s legacy, and a very awkward incident with current Hollywood star Dev Patel.
‘Yobs threw me at the bar and threatened me with a knife for playing gay teen’
A dancer by trade, Mitch never intended to get into acting, but took the Skins job after being approached by a college producer.
Although outspoken, he has no qualms about playing Maxxie and is proud of the way he has played the character.
“I remember them asking me if I’d like to play Maxxie because he’s gay but I had fun. As a dancer, I have been surrounded by gay girls and men for most of my life,” he said.
While reaction to his role has been overwhelmingly positive, he revealed that he has been sadly targeted by homosexual breasts.
“I’ve had some bad experiences, the worst being going into a club where they call me derogatory names, throw rocks at me and then someone threatens to stab me,” he said. .
“He opened his jacket and he had a knife in it. He said, ‘If you were gay, I would stab you.’ I had to say ‘I’m an actor’ and tell the bartender not to worry about the drinks. I walk as fast as I can.
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“It was the last time I went out in Bristol because I didn’t feel safe and it was possibly one of the worst experiences I have ever had. Even if I’m gay, I still have to lie to survive.
“Earlier that night, I was teased by passersby because they also said some homophobic things. It made me realize how strong gay people are because they have to face it every day. “
Still, Mitch feels proud of his performance and of Maxxie, who doesn’t conform to cliché stereotypes.
He added: “There weren’t many gay characters on TV at the time and gay Maxxie was never an issue in the group, it was never presented in a joking, joking or offensive way. .
“He’s being himself and no questions asked, I think that’s really beautiful and it’s going to happen a lot more.”
Why can’t OCD hug my mom
Since last appearing on Skins in 2008, Mitch continued to pursue acting and lived in Los Angeles for a time.
He has had a role in the 2014 film Behaving Badly, which stars Selena Gomez and the musical Take That Never Forget, as well as television shows, pantomimes, and other theatrical productions.
But while Mitch lives in the state, he developed crippling OCD after receiving negative comments from a producer, which made it impossible for him to get emotional without a scrub. .
“I was 19, 20 or older to be in a big movie when a producer told me I needed to get rid of my skin or I would never work in Hollywood,” he recalls.
“As the months went by, somehow, I created this prison in my mind where I thought if I had bad skin I wouldn’t get a job and if I didn’t get a job I wouldn’t get a job. won’t be happy.
“I usually rub my face and fingers until they bleed, I don’t go out if I have breakouts and I don’t see anyone if I’m not perfect.
“I feel like I need to shower if someone touches my skin and I can’t even hug my mom without being scared and without having to take a shower.
“If I trim my beard and it doesn’t feel even or to the right length, I’ll stand in front of the mirror for hours trying to straighten it out with scissors.”
He added: “A lot of people say they have OCD because they hate odd numbers but that’s not OCD. They don’t know how seriously it affects your mental health.
“I remember when I went out to dinner and someone touched my face, all I could think about was I needed to go home and shower. I left right after that”.
Mitch has tried various therapies but has only recently been able to overcome his struggles, which he attributed to his meeting with his girlfriend, whom he does not wish to name.
She messaged him on Instagram and shortly after their relationship lasted over a year, she found out she was pregnant.
Mitch said: ‘She’s going to hate me for this but we met online and she sent the first text, she knows who I am. It’s not really a fairy tale love story but she’s an absolute blessing.”
They now live with her two other children in Port Talbot, Wales, and in November they welcomed a daughter.
“I’ve been trying to be a lot better and really my girlfriend’s kids and our daughter have helped me out a lot,” he said.
‘I was blacked out in front of the camera with Dev Patel… due to a tough stomach’
Skins was a domestic and international success, even creating its own spin-off in the United States, but it wasn’t always fun and game.
Mitch said that while they were filming in Lithuania for the Russia episode, he passed out from exhaustion from food poisoning.
“The first time I tried mussels and got diarrhea. I shot out of both ends,” he recalls.
“Later on set, I remember talking to Dev Patel during a shoot and then I passed out and passed out and apparently fell off the camera.
“For the rest of that scene, the producer closed my head with Maxxie’s hat and coat and I had to go to the hospital.”
Reflecting on his part in Skins, Mitch insists he’s eternally grateful to have been a part of the show.
He said: “I feel like back then we all had a little bit of ourselves in each character, that usually happens as an actor and a part of you always comes into play.
“But with my character, I feel like I learned a lot from playing Maxxie and definitely learned a lot from him.”
What is OCD?
OBSESSIVE Compulsive Disorder, commonly known as OCD, is a severe anxiety disorder that affects 12 out of every 1,000 people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks OCD among the top ten debilitating diseases of any kind in terms of lost income and impaired quality of life.
There are two aspects to this condition – obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are thoughts, ideas, and urges that the sufferer feels cannot be ignored.
They can cause a great deal of anxiety, especially if they are thinking painfully about someone they love being harmed.
Compulsions are rituals that patients perform to get rid of the attendant’s anxiety about obsessive thoughts.
Most people with OCD realize their obsessions and compulsions are irrational, but they can’t stop acting on them.
Although OCD tends to develop slowly over a long period of time, stressful life events can also trigger it, including loss, illness, or family problems.
OCD can be a difficult situation to deal with, but it is improvable and there is always help available to those who need it.
Remember that you are not alone and even just telling someone about your condition can significantly improve your quality of life.
Contact your GP or care team immediately if you feel you cannot continue. You can also call the Samaritans on 116 123, or you can call one of these helplines or support groups or NHS 111.
https://www.thesun.ie/tv/8260551/skins-cast-now-maxxie-mitch-hewer-transformation/ I was threatened with a knife in a club for being gay as a teen