Mr Motivator details racist experience at job interview: 'Why didn't you tell me you were black?'

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·2-min read
Embargoed to 0001 Monday May 04 File photo dated 23/5/2015 of Mr Motivator, who will join Linda Lusardi for a week-long workout to raise money for older people during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Motivator has detailed the racism he experienced at the start of his TV career. (PA)

Mr Motivator has detailed some of the racism he faced as a black man trying to make it as a TV fitness instructor.

The exercise guru - who became a cult figure on British TV after starring on ITV breakfast show GMTV in the 90s - has opened up about some of the racism he experienced in his early career.

Mr Motivator - whose real name is Derrick Evans - told the Radio Times: “When television came along, it took me 10 years to get a break as an on-screen fitness trainer.

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“Every time I went to the studios, the guys would say, ‘Look, for a white lady with two kids, a black guy on TV would never work.’ But I kept on persevering.”

Mr Motivator on day 5 of Snowbombing Festival in Mayrhoffen, Austria
Mr Motivator is a cult figure on British TV, leading workouts in his bright spandex outfits. (PA)

The 67-year-old TV star was born in Jamaica and moved to the UK in 1961.

Recalling some of his earliest experiences of racism he said: “When I came to Leicester aged 10 from Jamaica, everyone would look at me as I walked by. So I would turn around, smile and wave.

“Later, when I walked into my very first job interview and the guy said to me, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were black?,’ I replied, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were white?'”

During the coronavirus pandemic Mr Motivator has joined the BBC's HealthCheck UK Live helping viewers to keep fit in lockdown.

Derrick Errol Evans, 47, also known as television personality and exercise instructor "Mr Motivator," poses in Pimlico, London, whilst promoting his new fitness video.   (Photo by Clara Molden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Mr Motivator is helping the nation keep fit in lockdown. (Getty Images)

He said: “Surviving lockdown is about being positive, but we have also been learning about what really matters….

Read more: Coronavirus survivor Linda Lusardi to join Mr Motivator for charity work out sessions

“Racism is always stupid and wrong, but it seems especially so in a time dominated by illness, a time when we should all be realising that we all need each other.

“Imagine if a racist person was badly injured and needed a blood transfusion to survive.

“I don’t think that person would hesitate to take my blood and, when they recovered, would be happily walking around with it inside of them. Blood does not discriminate.”