Did you know these famous people all studied at New City College?

Did you know these famous people all studied at New City College?

Celebrities, whether from music, sport, politics, acting, fashion or TV reality shows, have all started their journey to stardom with school, GCSEs and college — just like everyone else!

Some have found fame with hard work or a particular talent. Others become well known or notorious for shocking social media content or for just standing out from the crowd and being different. But all of them have studied for and sat exams like the rest of us.

So, what famous faces have gone through New City College and come out the other side to excel in their art, sport or passion? Here’s a run-down of some names you may have heard of:

Stacey Solomon

Stacey studied Performing Arts at NCC’s Ardleigh Green campus and while there entered the TV singing show X Factor in 2009. She was an instant hit with viewers and went on to come third. In 2010 she won I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and has since built up a fanbase of millions. She was a regular panellist on Loose Women and has recently had her own BBC TV show Sort Your Life Out. She is an avid social media user with 5.4million followers on Instagram. She said of her teachers at college: “I was lucky with my teachers because good teachers will always help you with anything you want to do in life.”

Micheal Ward

Micheal is an actor, best known for playing the role of Jamie in Netflix hit Top Boy. He won the EE Rising Star Award at the BAFTAs in 2020 and has gone on to star in the movie Empire of Light with Olivia Coleman, released in January 2023. He studied Performing Arts at NCC Epping Forest campus. Micheal said in an interview with Elle magazine that he was encouraged to believe in himself at college. “I’d be in Performing Arts lessons and my friends would watch through the window, laughing. But one of them kind of saw this light in me. And because he saw it, I started to believe in it too.”

Sara Pascoe

Sara is a multi award-winning, stand-up comedian, actor and writer who has made numerous appearances on TV shows. Sara studied A Levels at Havering Sixth Form and started doing stand-up comedy while at university. She appeared on shows such as Would I Lie To You, Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You before landing the presenter’s role on the BBC’s popular The Great British Sewing Bee.

Mrs Hinch

Sophie Hinch has become one of the UK’s top social media influencers with her love of cleaning and organising. She attended adult classes for Hairdressing at NCC’s Ardleigh Green campus and says her time at college and the friends she made there, helped her through a rough patch in her life. She started working as a hairdresser before becoming famous on Instagram with cleaning hacks. She now has nearly 5 million followers and works with brands such as Flash, Fairy, Lenor and Bold and she has launched her own homeware range.

Darius Defoe

Darius stands at 6ft 9ins and studied Sport at NCC Hackney. He is one of the UK’s most famous basketball players and says college is where the sport became a serious life choice for him. He was so good at it, that at 18 and after finishing college, he was asked to move to Newcastle to play for the Newcastle Eagles. He has been there ever since. Often known as ‘Mr 27’ he’s currently the most decorated player in British Basketball League history.

Mark Hunter

Mark is an Olympic Rowing Gold and Silver medallist who was awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours List. He studied A Levels at Havering Sixth Form before taking up rowing and dedicating his life to being a success in the sport. He won his gold medal in the lightweight double skulls rowing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and his silver medal at the London 2012 games.

Tinchy Stryder

Tinchy is a singer-songwriter, rapper and entrepreneur who has his own clothing brand Star in the Hood. He went to NCC Tower Hamlets where he studied Creative Media. He then went to the University of East London and found chart success with his music, having several songs reach number 1 in the UK charts. He has two children and devotes much of his time to working with and helping younger people in the east London area.

Lee Van Geleen

Lee is a former Performing Arts student at Havering Sixth Form and has just completed a run in the West End musical Only Fools and Horses at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, starring as Trigger. He has also performed as Brujon in the West End’s Les Miserables, and was the understudy for Javert, Bishop and the Factory Foreman.

Lord Simon Woolley

Lord Woolley is the first black man to head an Oxbridge university and puts his success down to studying at New City College. He says his journey started when he studied an Access to Higher Education course at the Epping Forest campus. He was elected Prinicpal of Cambridge University’s Homerton College in April 2021 and said: “The college was where it all started for me. The staff gave us the belief that we could do great things!”

Victor Okunowo

Victor was a semi-finalist of the TV show Masterchef: The Professionals 2020. A former student at NCC’s Redbridge campus, Victor says that studying Professional Cookery and Restaurant Management at the college, was what kick-started his career. He is now a successful chef and restaurateur in London.

Taiwo Badmus

Taiwo is one of the British Basketball League’s legends and found his love for basketball while attending NCC Hackney campus. After leaving college, he secured a scholarship which took him to the USA to play. He then turned pro in 2019 in Spain where he has played and lived ever since.

Follow in the footsteps of our famous, successful alumni — apply to study at NCC today!